Calgary group Strong Daughters helps young women deal with grief
Founder Kristin Christensen lost mom at 21
Losing a parent is difficult at any age, but for young adults — those who are still in school, or still trying to figure out their lives — that experience can be particularly painful.
Calgary's Kristin Christensen knows this first hand. She was 19 when she found out her mother had Stage 4 lung cancer.
When Christensen was 21, her mom passed away.
"It's been hard," she told the Calgary Eyeopener. "There's good days and bad days. The time when I realized that this grief was going to stay with me forever was going through my wedding, because you re-grieve losses at different stages of your life."
And so Christensen founded Strong Daughters — a new support group for young women like her.
"When I lost my mom, I had wished that there had been a more informal resource to turn to," she said. "And so here I am trying to get it going."
Christensen had been to support groups run by Alberta Health Services, but they weren't specifically focused on young adults, she said.
"It is different when you lose your parent in your 50s or your 60s," she said. "The loss is still there, but it is different."
While support from family and friends is essential, Christensen says it's important to be able to talk to others who have been through similar loss.
"I find sometimes people feel like they don't want to talk about it all the time, or maybe they feel like they've been talking about it too much and they think their friends will be tired of listening," she said. "This group just gives a spot where you can come, and you can talk about it, and everybody will listen."
Strong Daughters is open to women 18-33 who have lost a parent. The meetings are currently held in a cafe, but Christensen said that could change.
"I'm hoping to keep growing the group and maybe one day have a permanent space, host a yearly retreat, maybe do some more activities once there's greater interest," she said.
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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener