Blog/Story from Pilgrims Hospice Website

Story from Pilgrims Hospice Website

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Son's Grief

I've had the privilege of working with a courageous young man since late last fall. A typical kid, interested in video games, music, the skate park and hanging out with friends. His world changed when his mom ended her life, prompting an immediate move, with his dad and younger brother, back to Alberta to be surrounded by family and friends.

Blair has done tremendous work this last year to heal from the trauma of his mother’s death. At any age, death is a tough process to explore but for a boy entering his teens, with the loss of his talented, artistic mother, then a move to a new community, it seems an almost impossible feat. But Blair is one of those rare kids who has a strong desire to rise above the tragic experience that currently shapes his every day. And now he’s inspiring others to be proactive in this grief.

Two weeks ago, Blair stood in front of over 650 people who had gathered together to learn about the effects of suicide on a family and a community. A fundraiser, as well as an awareness opportunity, Nelly’s Project was created by the Soul Sisters Memorial Foundation in memory of Blair’s mom, Jeanelle, affectionately known as “Nelly”. Blair spoke

for just a few short moments but the words he shared moved the crowd. Not only did they raise over $53,000 to help pave the way for more grieving children and teens to attend our Expressive Arts Program but they honored Nelly’s spirit by listening to her son’s account of his own personal journey, one that so many walk alone.

Blair talked about the support he has received, not just from the facilitators but from the other participants who shared their stories with him. He has found his safe place and knows that the value in sharing his words ended up creating more opportunities for others to attend programming.
When Danny Hooper, MC for the event, asked what he would do now that he had attended programming and counselling, Blair replied: “I keep going. The door is always open!”

Bravo Blair for a job well done. A son’s grief, a shared story, a mother honored. All of this equals community awareness and continued programming. And hurting hearts on the path to healing.

Originally published on October 14, 2014.

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