Marny Williams-Balodis 
Executive Director 
Telephone # (519) 500-8535
Charitable # 842144883 RR0001

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To provide continuing bereavement support to men and women after the death of their spouse or partner. A peer-to-peer environment of hope facilitates the rebuilding of a new sense of self as an only parent.

Program Story

Finding Hope Support Group 

Imagine if you can, finding out your wife has a terminal disease . . . or opening the door to find the police standing there to tell you your husband has been killed . . . imagine your life changing in a blink of an eye. One day life is just as you planned it. You have a beautiful family, a spouse, children, maybe a pet or two. You are building a life together. You have plans and dreams for what the future is going to look like. Things are just as it should be.

But all of a sudden it changes. Your spouse has died. Tragically, you are left to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, alone. You must figure out how to live life without your partner beside you. You must grieve their death. All your hopes and dreams for the future have died with them. What is life going to look like now? How are you going to cope without them?

And then there are your children . . . your children who are desperately missing their parent. Who continually ask you questions about when mommy or daddy is coming home and why they died. It breaks your heart to see them in such pain, and there is nothing you can do to take it away.

The grief journey of a young widow has no manual. There are no instructions on how to rebuild your life and your child’s life. It is like fumbling around in the dark with shattered glass all over the floor, and somehow you are supposed to maneuver your way through without cutting your feet, which is almost impossible.

How can we be expected to do this without help? Why do the banana breads, frozen casseroles and phone calls end after 3 months? Why does society believe that we should be fine and ‘over it’ after a year? Why is there a timeline for us to get over our grief and move on after the death of our spouse, our confident, our cheerleader, our co-parent, our future? How can only a year make missing this person easier?

Many describe the first year as living in a fog or a haze, just struggling to get by, to survive all the firsts: birthdays, anniversaries, dance recitals and hockey tournaments. The second year is often harder than the first. This is when reality hits. The reality that this is really their new life. On the outside they seem so put together, strong, confident, but what you don’t see is what is going on inside of them or behind closed doors.

They are broken and struggling to meet the relentless demands of every day. What was once a two person job is now left up to one. They are working so hard to keep it together, to not fall apart, to be everything to everyone. They will try so hard that they will completely burn themselves out and there is no one to catch them when that happens.

Society wants us to get over our grief, to move on, to find another spouse. Society can have great unrealistic and hurtful expectations of grief. The goal of grief at The Hummingbird Centre for Hope is not to forget your spouse, because they are a part of you and always will be. The goal is to find a way to incorporate their life and death into your life as you begin to build a new future.

Donation Impact

  • $50 donation supports one person to attend the Finding Hope Support Group for 8 weeks
  • $150 provides training for one support group facilitator

Giving Opportunity

There are over 1,500 widows and widowers living in our region between the ages of 24-55 (census 2011). All of our programs are offered free of charge. Many widows and widowers find themselves in some form of financial stress and we do not want money to prevent anyone from receiving needed support. A financial donation will provide emotional support and practical resources for each member of the group.

Our support groups are run by trained peer volunteers: someone who has also experienced the death of their spouse and is now in a place in their journey to give back. Each volunteer completes our training program and then commits their gift of time for 3 hours per week, for 8 weeks to run group. Without their dedication our groups cannot run.