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photo A Series of Four Programs
Four Films on Grief and Bereavement
By the Calgary Health Region Grief Support Center

This four-part series profiles individuals who are struggling to deal with the often unexpected death of a loved one: a child, a parent, a spouse, or a sibling. Their thoughtful, courageous responses focus on dealing with the immediate impact of loss, on paths to healing, and on the ways that friends and family can help — but sometimes donít. In sharing the pain of mourning, they explore universal experiences that will help others to begin healing.

Out of Order: Dealing with the Death of a Child (23 minutes): When children die before their parents, it seems a violation of the natural order of things. In this short documentary, three couples talk of what they've gone through since the recent deaths of their children through illness, accident, or suicide. They share the seemingly intolerable impact when they first found out, their reactions to the inappropriate comments and advice they received from friends and relatives — and the isolation they felt when they needed to talk but couldn't find anyone who wanted to listen. In candid interviews they describe the impact on their relationships, and their search for meaning through religion, rituals of remembrance, and new ways of relating to others.

Dearly Loved: Dealing with the Death of a Parent (13 minutes): Three young adults talk frankly and movingly about experiencing the death of a parent. Leona, whose father died of an unexpected heart attack, describes how important it was for her to spend time alone with his body at the funeral home, yet she still has not fully come to terms with what happened. Neal was particularly close to his mother. In the first weeks after her death he felt little — then he broke down, feeling inert, depressed, lacking in motivation. Carol Leeí family had to make the decision to withdraw life support for her dying father. She was unable to sleep for weeks, yet as the oldest, felt the expectation of her Caribbean culture that she should "get over it," and attend to the needs of the rest of her family.

Uncoupled: Dealing With the Death of a Spouse (24 minutes): In the aftermath of a spouseís death, people may feel that they donít know how to behave, or even to mourn properly. Alone for the first time in years, grieving spouses often feel that there is no one there to help them sort through this devastation. Within the weeks after the funeral, friends and family will go back to their normal lives, leaving the bereaved spouse isolated and alone, to figure out how to go on living without the one person they counted on. Four bereaved spouses explain what worked and did not work for them after their loss. Their candid and deeply personal responses will be supportive for anyone dealing with the death of a spouse. The program is chaptered for easier classroom use.

A Family Disrupted: Dealing with the Death of a Sibling (22 minutes): The death of a sibling is a profound experience. It represents the loss of a shared history, and an uncertain future without the cherished loved one. Lois, Jerry, and Claire share moving insights into how they and their families have coped with the loss. They describe what itís like to deal with friends and extended family members who donít share or may not want to engage in their sorrow — and the inappropriate comments people often make. They acknowledge that the ways they preferred to mourn were at times in conflict with those of their parents, and they all reflect on the impact their siblingís death has had on their current family dynamics.

82 minutes
© 2008
Purchase $398 DVD
Order No. QA-916
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-971-1

Related Films
Grief in America: A comprehensive, multi-ethnic perspective on the ways Americans deal with grief and loss in all their forms.

Surviving Death: Seven people from a variety of cultural backgrounds speak openly about how they have been affected by the death of someone close to them, and about the ways they have found to survive their loss.

Those Who Stay Behind: Interviews with five recently bereaved people offer a guide to help others navigate the healthcare system, the medical decisions they must make, and their own grief process.

Carved from the Heart: When native carver Stan Marsden decided to create a totem pole in his son's memory, the project became a focus for the entire community's need to deal with loss, tragedy and healing.

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website