Raising awareness of loss, grief

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 31/07/2014
Caroline Loo
JOHN HAWKINS / Fairfax NZ
A PLACE TO SHARE: Invercargill woman Caroline Loo prepares a remembrance wall for Loss and Grief Awareness Week.

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The small things in life become the hurdles when a person struggles with loss and grief.

The simple task of getting out of bed, eating and putting on clothes is a battle. Invercargill woman Caroline Loo knows these feelings well.

Four years ago, she lost her 18-year-old daughter Sara to meningococcal septicaemia. Loo feels a responsibility to raise awareness around loss and grief, encourage people to get help if they are struggling and let them know the services available.

"There has to be something good come out of what I experienced."

The staff at Printing.com@back9design along with Loo have organised a remembrance wall on the side of the building where people can write a name as part of the first nationwide Grief and Loss Awareness Week.

Loss and grief, which could relate to anything from the loss of a job to an injury, could cause physical and emotional harm, Loo said. She suffered headaches, tiredness, a loss of appetite and memory problems as well as living with an ongoing pain because part of her was missing, she said.

A Facebook page called Sara Loo - Get Well soon! had helped the community to be part of Sara's journey and helped the family to stay connected with people, Loo said.

Victim Support general manager of service delivery Genelle Gordon said social media was useful for some but not others and depended on each situation. Once it went viral, the opportunity to grieve privately was removed.

However, the internet could help people find someone who had gone through a similar experience, she said.

Several events throughout the country are planned to mark the week, including a Light a Candle night. A display has also been set up at Invercargill City Library. The week started on Monday and ends on Sunday.

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- The Southland Times

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