BON Newsletter September 2015
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What's Happening Inside the BONewsletter!
Message from the Chair
Message from the Vice Chair
BON Celebrates 25 Years!
BON Pre-conference 2015
BON Conference 2015
The John D. Morgan Memorial Conference Scholarship
Call for Nominations to BON Board of Director Positions

Regional Reports: An Expedition into the Wilderness of Grief
Resources to Share
Upcoming Events
A Cup of Tea
About BON

Message from the Chair

Hello BON members, and welcome new BON members!

The motto for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games was United We Play!  What a wonderful motto!  It has been a busy summer here in Ontario.  The Pan Am and Parapan Am Games brought athletes and visitors to Ontario from many difference countries.  The energy, joy, excitement and exhilaration were fantastic!  If any of you had the privilege of seeing any of the events you will know just how talented these wonderful athletes truly are!  And for those who were able to catch the opening or closing ceremonies in-person or on tv, you too will know just how electrifying and thrilling these games have been. 
The BON Board is also in an exhilarating and thrilling time!  We have been meeting monthly to discuss and work on items that are focused on our motto; connect, learn, support.  We have been working on voting procedures, BON Board role descriptions, and BON policies.  We have also been working on the website; we are adding a members-only page; another benefit to BON membership! Look for more details to come.  Also check BON out on Facebook. I encourage BON as a network to hop on the social networking band-wagon for even more opportunities to connect, learn and support.
The BON Conference Planning Committee lead by Sharon O’Donnell, Marny Williams-Balodis, Susan McCoy, Jill Dombroski, and Brianne Jourdin have been hard at work planning a great conference with both an active educational focus and a relaxing retreat focus.
We want you to join us on October 14 - 16, 2015 at Geneva Park, Orillia, Ontario as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary!  Back to the Future: Exploring Changes in Grief and Bereavement promises to be a conference like no other!!  If you can’t make it for the full conference, plan to attend the pre-conference or come for part of the conference. Our pre-conference features clinical psychologist Therese Rando Ph.D.!   Also, please remember that the BON Annual General Meeting is during the conference. This is your time to become informed, involved and to participate in the governance of this volunteer run organization.
When you get to Geneva Park remember to take a walk along the beautiful shoreline on Lake Couchiching, listen to the waves, explore the maple bush, and walk in the fall leaves along the trails to prepare you for the three exciting days of education and celebration!   
Respectfully submitted,
Cindy Elkerton, Registered Psychotherapist
BON Chair

Message from Vice ChairMarny

So hard to believe that the kids are back to school and that fall is fast approaching. This also means that the conference is just a few weeks away - so exciting!
I had the true pleasure of taking a Disney cruise this summer!
I highly recommend it!  
I have always enjoyed people watching and this cruise certainly provided ample opportunity to do this.  I have the most fun watching parents cope with their children...especially in melt down mode.  I always giggle, but never judge. We have all been there and I certainly remember the feeling of everyone watching me.  But as I sat and watched I was reminded that every person there has a story and how they are reacting in that moment may be a result of their story.  My worst parenting moments were when I was in the thick of my grief.  I am sure many people thought "Look at the Mom yelling at her children!  What is her problem?"  If I had the opportunity to tell them what was really going on in my life, they may have shown me some compassion.
So as I sat and watched the many families at Disney, I wondered what their stories are and tried to show a little compassion to each of them.
Looking forward to seeing everyone at the conference!

Marnie Balodis
BON Vice Chair

BON Celebrates 25 Years!

BON celebrates 25 years! Come join us for this fantastic milestone to celebrate where we have been and where we are going. I hope you enjoy the short and/or long version of these videos that celebrates our commitment to our work, and the love and friendships we find along the way.

Kindly, Jill Dombroski 
BON celebrates 25 Years! (shorter movie version)
Join us in October 2015 to celebrate 25 years!
Watch now...
BON Celebrates 25 Years! (longer version)
Watch now...

BON Pre-Conference 2015

Clinical Psychologist, Therese Rando Ph.D.,
BCETS, BCBT presents:


Evolution in Thought and Practice Regarding Grief and Bereavement: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Headed Now Thanatology.

The study of dying, death, and bereavement - is at an exciting
place in 2015. Research and clinical practice has moved the field into new directions
and have transformed earlier understandings of grief and bereavement.
This day-long workshop explores current developments, anchoring them in what
must be known by professionals, volunteers, laypersons, and the bereaved
themselves. For more details click here.

Click for BON Conference registration form.

BON Conference 2015



Back to the Future: Exploring Changes in Grief

and Bereavement. 


We are celebrating where Bereavement Ontario Network and the field of grief and bereavement have come from, and where we are heading. 

Click for BON Conference Brochure
Click for the List of BON presenters
Click for the BON Conference Registration form
Click for details regarding BON Conference Sponsorship

The John D. Morgan Memorial Conference Scholarship

The John D. Morgan Memorial Conference Scholarship is open to anyone who is enrolled in a course or program in grief and bereavement or a related field (full time or part time). The recipient will attend the conference at no cost and receive a one-year membership in BON.

Click here for more information.
Click here for an application.

Call for Nominations for BON Board of Director Positions

Dear BON Members,

At the BON AGM this year, to be held on Thursday 14 October during BON's Annual Conference, elections to the BON Board of Directors for up to 3 Members-at-Large will be held.  BON is a member driven organization, that relies on its members to volunteer their time, skills and commitment. This is a call for those interested in running for the position of Member-at-Large to put their names forward to the Nominating Committee.

A brief job description:
A Member-at-Large is a member of BON who is elected by the membership for a two-year term. A Member-at-Large attends BON Board meetings, participates fully in discussions, represents the issues and concerns of members and has full voting privileges. Members-at-Large have no formal responsibilities, however by means of involvement on the BON Board, are able to observe the various Board positions and how they are carried out throughout the year. It is hoped that Members-at-Large may eventually undertake to stand for other roles on the Board.

We will receive names up to and including Thursday, 24 September 2015.  In addition to your name, please provide a brief (1 or 2 sentence) description of why you are attracted to serving as a BON Board member.

Please reply by email to if you are interested in being involved on the BON Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large.

Many thanks.
Grant Churcher
Chair, Nominating Committee
Bereavement Ontario Network

Click for listing and contact information of our Regional Representatives and their regions.

Belleville-Kingston Region
(Frontenac, Hastings, Lennox & Addington, & Prince Edward)

Belleville-Kingston Regional Report by Maggie Forsberg

Please read the above report for details regarding the bereavement programs running at:
Chatham-Windsor-Sarnia Region
(Essex, Kent, Lambton)Sonia

Chatham-Windsor-Sarnia Regional Report by Sonia McMahon-Comartin

Please read the above report for details regarding the bereavement programs running at:
Durham Region
(includes Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Clarington, including townships of Uxbridge, Skugog & Brock) 

Durham Regional Report by Fran King

Please read the above report for details regarding the bereavement programs running at: Thank you to Fran King for serving 10 years as the Durham Regional Representative.
Hamilton RegionBev Wilson
(includes Hamilton-Wentworth)

Hamilton Regional Report by Bev Wilson

Please read the above report for details regarding the bereavement programs running at:
London-St. Thomas Region
(Elgin & Middlesex)

St. Thomas Regional Report by Barbara Saunders

Please read the above report for details regarding the bereavement programs running at:
London Regional Report by Thia Harrison

Please read the above report for details regarding the bereavement programs running at:
Niagara Region
(Haldimand, Lincoln, Norfolk & Welland)
Melissa Penner
Niagara Regional Report by Melissa Penner

Please read the above report for details regarding the bereavement programs running at:
Simcoe-York-Dufferin Region
(the York part of this region includes King, Vaughan, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Markham, Whitchurch/Stouffville, East Gwillimbury & Georgina)

Simcoe-York-Dufferin Regional Report by A.J. Sandra Principe

Please read the above report for details regarding the bereavement programs running at:

BON Regional Representatives are the face of BON in the 16 Regions of Ontario.

With the members of their region, they provide the vital service of finding and connecting people involved in bereavement care and education in their part of Ontario. They bring the news of BON to its members and the ideas and concerns of its members to the Board. Regional Reps help members get to know one another and share news (conferences, workshops, new books, and highlights) with one another. They find ways to connect members of the public with the services of local BON members. As the annual conference approaches, they ensure members and member organizations are aware of all of the ways to participate, attend and enjoy the conference to the fullest. Regional Representatives ensure that the Network that is BON is a vital force of connection to the people and resources that care for those who mourn in Ontario. Regional Representatives are able to attend the annual conference at cost. Being a Regional Representative provides an opportunity to make a real contribution to the grief, loss and bereavement work in one’s region and the province. You become part of a team of dedicated, passionate and visionary care providers. It is rewarding work.

We would like to know whether this is something that might interest you individually or as a team or perhaps you could help put us in touch with some possible candidates in your region.

With sincere thanks, Marny Williams
BON Vice Chair, Regional Rep Liaison
Email: Marny for more info

There are Regional Rep openings available for Grey Bruce Region, Halton Peel Region, North West Region, Sudbury-Sault Ste. Marie Region, and Toronto region (co-rep). Please consider joining our great team!

Check out the updated BON Regions & Regional Representative List

An Expedition into the Wilderness of Grief

By Rachelle McGuire, M.A., C.T.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
 - Elisabeth Kubler- Ross

This fall marks the 10-year anniversary of my own expedition into the wilderness of grief & loss.  From the outside looking in I know many would assume I have integrated my losses well, that I have found that ever-elusive place of peace and moved ahead. It’s not that this assumption is false; I have a life that is filled with love and work that is deeply meaningful and purpose filled. It is however, a very limited narrative. The truth is that every year when the weather turns and the cold autumn air rushes in, an old, familiar grief stirs deep within my bones. What time has faded from memory my body remembers and holds close. Sadness arises, a longing permeates, and an insatiable restlessness invades. The yearning to hibernate is potent. And like all things, this too is impermanent. It shifts and fades and moves through until the next time; until the next moment when the presence of absence is once again brought into awareness and the space within that can never again fully be filled, disturbed. As Vicki Harrison once said, “Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”  

Rachelle McGuire will be speaking on A Compassionate Communities Model: Moving Beyond the Bereavement Support Group at the Bereavement Ontario Network Conference. 

Resources to Share

  • Dreams in Bereavement: This website explores the topic of dreams in bereavement. Many of these dreams incorporate imagery of the deceased. This group aims at providing a platform to aid each other in healing and sharing of their experiences.
  • Teen 2 Teen: My Grief Story is a one day retreat for teens to share their story, connect with other teens and learn coping skills along the way. If you are interested in running a Teen 2 Teen event, please contact Melissa Penner, Bereavement Advisor at Hospice Niagara for an overview of of their event.
  • Buddha Board is a zen based concept of living in the moment.  Using the water tray, individuals draw whatever is on their heart/mind on the slate.  As the water evaporates the picture disappears leaving you with a clean slate and clear mind.  You can buy a board and/or download an iPhone app.
  • happier is a gratitude journal website and app to help teach and/or assist with daily gratitude and positive thinking.
  • The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe ~ During her treatment for cancer, Maryend of your life book club Anne Schwalbe and her son Will spent many hours sitting in waiting rooms together. To pass the time, they would talk about the books they were reading. Once, by chance, they read the same book at the same time—and an informal book club of two was born. A profoundly moving memoir of caregiving, mourning, and love—The End of Your Life Book Club is also about the joy of reading, and the ways that joy is multiplied when we share it with others. It's an inspiring story about how they grow closer as her life comes to a close. Thank you to Cynthia Harrison for this book review.
  • Hold Still by Nina La Cour ~ Although this book is written fictionally, this compelling story was Hold Still book coverinspired from the personal experience of grief following the suicide death of a classmate in grade 9.  It is a short novel, an easy read, and very engaging. The experience is viewed through the eyes of a young teenager, how the loss impacts all of her relationships, her search for identity, and her need to express herself creatively. The story takes the reader through the first year following the death of her best friend, highlighting the unique elements of suicide loss. A recommended read for teens, tweens, and those working with the bereaved. Thank you to Bev Wilson for this book review.
  • Big Hero 6 is an action packed, comedy, adventure animated movie about a boy named Hiro Big Hero 6and a plus sized inflatable robot named Baymax.  Hiro, a 14 year old genius, is an orphan and grieving.  Throughout the action and comedy, Baymax is trying to help Hiro heal and feel better.  While majority of families would see this as an action packed adventure movie, families who are grieving could really use this as a way to check in regarding grief and bereavement.   

Upcoming Events

  • Camp Widow is on  Soaring Spirits International hosts Camp Widow three times a year (San Diego, camp widow logoTampa, and Toronto) to bring together widowed people from around the world to celebrate the healing power of community. The focus of Camp Widow® is recreating the future, while honoring the past. The weekend is packed with useful tools, reliable resources, and the invaluable experience of being surrounded by peers in this unlikely, but incredible, community. If you know someone who would benefit, please share with them the attached information about an excellent retreat/camp-like getaway for bereaved widows and widowers of any age! Jammed pack with education, support, caring and knowledge; individuals who have attended have said that this has significantly impacted their lives, and in fact been life changing. 
  • Child Grief Awareness Day is on November 19, 2015. On this day wear BLUE to remember childrenchildren grief awareness day who are grieving. For other ways to get involved and promote child grief awareness, check out their website.

A Cup of Tea

Requesting your feedback on the BONewslettertea cup

As I look over this newsletter, I can’t help but think it would be nice to chat with you over a cup of tea to get your input.  Unfortunately, since we are spread out across Ontario that is not an option.
This is the third BONewsletter in the new email format.  Thank you for your patience as I learn a new program and keep changing the layout.  I did a few things different this time.  I added a table of contents so that you can just click to another section and lessen the amount of scrolling.  I put the regional reports in pdf format versus long form, with just the website links and posters of the events to shorten the length of the email.  I added a “Resources to Share” section to incorporate resources, program ideas, movie & book reviews etc. 
But I could really use your feedback.
  • Do you like the email format?
  • Layout: Is it easy to read?  Too much scrolling and clicking?
  • Length: Do you read to the end of the newsletter?
  • Links: Are you clicking on the attachments and links?
  • Content: Is this what you are looking for?  What would you like included or removed?
  • Suggestions: I am very open to hearing new ideas.
Please take time to send me an email, letting me know your thoughts. 
Thank you, 
Melissa Penner 

About BON

Our Mission

Bereavement Ontario Network is a network of individuals, groups, and organizations which, through the exchange of ideas, resources, and energy, is dedicated to helping the bereaved and the dying.


Bereavement Ontario Network (BON) is a diverse group of organizations and individuals across Ontario that work in the field of grief and bereavement as professionals and volunteers.


BON provides opportunities to access, in a reciprocal manner, the knowledge, experience, wisdom, and sensitivity of other members in Ontario. You can use BON to access this support for your clients and yourself.


Membership in the Bereavement Ontario Network is open to individuals, volunteer organizations, small business, and corporations. If your work brings you in contact with bereaved individuals, BON can help you to help them.


BON offers an annual conference, a directory of members, this newsletter, website, and the services of volunteer regional representatives. These representatives are available to answer questions and to refer you to available resources within your region.

Stay Connected with BON

Bereavement Ontario Network

174 Oxford Street

Woodstock, ON N4S 6B1

Telephone 519-290-0219





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