Mending Broken Hearts Grief Recovery Groups In Akwesasne

Seskeha / August 12, 2015

If you or someone you know has been suffering from emotional pain caused by a loss, we are here to help. Grief recovery groups are now being offered in Akwesasne. Whether the loss was recent or long ago, this program may help.

What is Grief?

Grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind. Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of, or change in, a familiar pattern of behavior.  All relationships are unique; therefore, it is important to remember that we must not compare our losses or our pain with another person. There are many forms of losses that a person may suffer from such as: Death, Divorce, Absent Parent, Moving, Job Loss, Loss of Health, End of Addictions, Loss of Trust, Loss of Safety, Loss of Control, just to name a few.

Seeing the Problem

Grief is a natural reaction to loss and yet we are often ill prepared to deal with it. When we are not prepared to deal with the emotions that follow a loss, we may turn to “short-term energy relieving behaviors” to cope with these emotions. Some techniques we use to avoid the grieving process include:

  • Denying the feeling
  • Overeating
  • Running away
  • Sleeping
  • Drug & Alcohol use
  • Anger

  • Isolation
  • Books/TV/Internet

These short-term energy-relieving behaviors do not work because they do not deal with the true emotion that you are feeling due to the loss.


The goal of grief recovery is to help you complete your relationship to the pain. The loneliness and isolation caused by any significant emotional loss you are dealing with can be relieved by working through it in a supportive and positive atmosphere with others experiencing similar issues of loss. This active process may help you learn to express your feelings and also learn skills in processing your grief one loss at a time. The foundation for this healing process is based on the importance of forgiveness and completing the relationships with those who have made an impact on your life whether positively or negatively. This program may also help you grasp a better understanding of the importance of letting go so that you may continue to move forward on your path in a positive way. 

What Is Grief Recovery?

Recovery from loss is achieved by a series of small and correct choices made by the griever.                

Recovery means feeling better.

Recovery is finding new meaning for living, without the fear of being hurt again.

Recovery is being able to enjoy fond memories without having them turn painful.                                                

Recovery is acknowledging that it is perfectly all right to feel sad from time to time and to talk about those feelings no matter how those around you react.  

Recovery means acquiring the skills we should have been taught as a child. These skills allow us to deal with loss directly by resolving the emotions attached to our loss. What we are taught as children on how to deal with grief is sometimes generational. 

Recovery means walking the path originally intended for our people, with a good mind and open heart.

Are you ready for change?

Regardless of the cause of your unresolved grief, only you know how you feel. If you have the strength and courage to take that step to feel better, help is available. Groups will begin once a minimum of 8 registrations are received for any district. Groups are 2 hour sessions once per week, for 7-8 weeks and are for men and women ages 17 years or older. We also offer groups for children (over 6 years) and teens. If you would like to seek help for a child, there is a form in the packet. Once a certain number of registrations are received for a district, a group may begin in that district, or in a central location. A new group will be running on Thursday evenings, on Kawehnoke at the Tri-District Elders building beginning August 20, 2015 from 6:00-8:00 pm. There is still space available for this group.

If you have questions or would like to register for a group, please contact Leona Swamp-Phillips at 613-575-2341 ext 3166 or email at and a registration packet will be emailed to you. Completed registrations are put on a list on a first come first serve basis. All groups are being offered free of charge to community members and is proudly sponsored by Akwesasne Child and Family Services.