From Grieving To Healing

Understanding gRIEF

Table of Contents

solace grief support society

Executor'S Responsibilities

There are a number of things that will require attention in the first months after losing your loved one. These can be overwhelming so enlist the help of a friend or family member. People are generally willing to help. They just need to know what they can do.

Funeral Arrangements

Choosing a funeral home can be as simple as looking up these services online (or phonebook) in your area. They are there to help so don’t be shy to ask as many questions as you need.

There may be a Will, stating what the deceased person wishes for their funeral arrangements. First thing you’ll need is a copy of the Will. 

If no Will exists, you may need to discuss arrangements with family members and decide on what is most appropriate.

Funeral homes often provide a service to complete the initial paperwork. Please check with the funeral home you are working with. This assistance can help tremendously to ease the burden of administrative tasks.

Remember, this is a difficult and painful time for family and friends of the deceased and emotions may be high. Compassion is key when considering all options.

Death Certificate and Will

If you are working with a funeral home they can provide you with several notarized copies of the death certificate. Most of the activities you will complete in executing the Will, will require a copy of the death certificate and a copy of the Will (if there is one).


Your loved one may have life insurance policies. These are usually through an employer but also insurance is provided by private companies. Contact the insurer as soon as possible. Most companies have Human Resource personnel that assist with employer insurance.

Many people have a drastic change in their income after losing, for example, a spouse. For this reason, the sooner you contact the insurance company the quicker they can assist you with your claim. Claims often take 2 – 4 weeks to process but it can sometimes be longer.

Government Benefits and Information

The Government of Canada provides Benefits that you may qualify for. Click the links below to go to the Government website for details.

Survivor's Pension

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) survivor’s pension is paid to the person who, at the time of death, is the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased contributor.

Death Benefit

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment to the estate on behalf of a deceased CPP contributor.

What To Do When Someone Dies

The executor is responsible for filing income tax for the deceased individual. It is recommended to use a professional accountant for this as it can be complicated. Click here for more info.

Tax Returns

Service Canada is the main point of contact to report a death to the Government of Canada.The link above provides details on Government instructions of what to do as the executor.


Closing accounts and cancelling credit cards is an important part of the executor’s responsibilities. Banks have staff who are trained for this specific reason. Ask to speak to an Estate Representative. Getting this started early on is the best way to prevent potential identity fraud.

(Coming Soon)

Download  the above information in the form of a helpful checklist.

Solace Grief Support Society

Understanding Grief

Every experience of loss and grief is unique in our lives and can affect us on many different levels: emotionally, spiritually, physically, socially, and mentally. We can help you walk through these times with individual and family counselling, as well as group sessions.

Counselling is always free-of-charge.

solace grief support society

How To Support A Grieving Person

Most people don’t know what to say or do for someone grieving a loss. That’s okay. Just show up. Don’t let your discomfort make you avoid the one grieving.  Be there even if you sit silently with them.

​Your presence has more of a healing impact than you know.

— Might Be True, But Not Helpful

  • Everything happens for a reason
  • He/she is in a better place
  • You’ll find love again
  • You can have another child
  • You’ll come out of this stronger than ever
  • This pain will help you grow and/or learn an important lesson
  • Any comparison to other losses. Everyone’s loss is an individual experience. There is no comparing of losses and grief.

These are examples of things often said that can actually cause further hurt to the bereaved.

People are inclined to say something they feel will be soothing to the person grieving. But you can’t ‘fix’ this. Grief is not something to be fixed. It is something that people learn, in time, to endure. In the early stages of grief the bereaved needs companionship and support, not someone to try and ‘fix’ anything.

— When To 'Be There'

In the first couple of weeks after a loss, many people will jump up to help. They might bring food, flowers, or cards. They assist with arrangements and phone calls. Their efforts are immensely helpful.

But what happens after the first weeks? People go back to their lives and the grieving person is more alone than ever. People are uncomfortable with grief so they want to ‘get it over with’ as quickly as possible. But the bereaved need you for more than a couple of weeks.

Plan to be a presence in the life of the grieving person beyond the first weeks. The first year is especially important for the bereaved to have companionship and support when they need it.

— Things You Can Say

Statements of acknowledgement are more helpful than statements trying to ‘fix’ the problem.

  • I’m sorry for your loss
  • I’m here for you
  • ​I know you’re hurting and I’m sorry you’re going through this
  • I’m here to help in any way you need

— How To Help

Bring food/meals to the home of the grieving people/person. It’s a very painful time and most are not inclined or able to prepare meals. 

Phone, text, message, video chat with the person who has lost someone. The type of communication is not as important as the contact itself.

Check on the friend/family member in the weeks and months to follow their loss. Drop by with coffee, or a snack… anything. The bereaved are often consumed in their grief and are not able to articulate what they need. “I’m just here to say hello and drop this off. If you want company I will stay and if not I’ll go and check on you again soon.”

Send a card with a personal note.

Invite the bereaved to go out with you. For the first while they will probably not want to but keep inviting them. Let them know that it’s okay if they aren’t up for it yet. You will be there for them when they are ready.

— When Should Grieving Be Done

There is not time-frame for grief. Everyone is different and their journey unique. For you, it may seem that 6 months on your friend/family member should be “getting over it” or “moving on”. 

There is no “getting over” losing someone you love. The person who has lost someone needs time and support. They will not “bounce back” and they will not get back to the person they were before. They will learn to cope and endure their pain but it takes time.


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