Scarborough Public Library Maxen Ryder

Kelly Blanchette, bereavement services manager of Hospice of Southern Maine, is visiting Scarborough Public Library on March 28 to give the presentation “The Many Faces of Grief.” The event is hybrid, both online and in person, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Registration is required.

Blanchette will discuss “what grief is, when it can happen, and the many ways it affects us,” according to the library. Blanchette will discuss the various causes of grief and differing ways in which people grieve. She will also provide resources to all attendees.

“I lead the Bereavement Department and we offer grief support to people who have lost a family member or friend on our hospice service, or people who have lost family or a friend in any way,” Blanchette said. “So we are open to the community as well. And we offer individual grief counseling, we offer support groups, and we also offer support to different facilities and education in the community.”

Blanchette’s presentation will explain that grief is very normal, as well as more expansive and nuanced than many people realize.

“This particular presentation is mostly meant to demonstrate that grief is completely normal,” Blanchette said. “Every human being experiences grief at some point in life, many many times more often than not. I suspect, but I’m not qualified to talk about the fact that I think animals probably experience a lot of grief too.”

Blanchette explained that grief is something people experience with any loss, including but not limited to death.


“Grief is something that we experience with any kind of loss,” she said. “So we usually think of that with death. But grief can happen when there’s a move, or a change in a relationship, financial changes in a family that affect the way of living, a medical diagnosis or maybe even an injury that causes somebody to lose an activity that they like to do, like skiing if it’s a physical injury.

“We see a lot of grief with an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis as we lose people slowly with that. As they lose functioning we lose the people that we knew. So grief is all around us. And I think that everybody has some level of grief as well for the fact that we’ve lost our safety and security in the world in the past couple of years.”

Blanchette hopes that she can expand people’s understanding of grief.

“I feel really passionate about people knowing and understanding that grief is normal,” she said. “I think that people don’t necessarily understand that what they’re feeling is normal because you expect grief to be feeling sad and crying and missing somebody but it’s so much more than that. There are cognitive and physical effects as well as emotional effects of grief and I’ll be talking about that during the presentation.

“People, every single person grieves, whether they’re 2 years old or 98 years old, they grieve. People who are neuro-divergent thinkers or have developmental delays may grieve a little bit differently, or grief may look differently in them, and grief looks differently in children as well. And I’ll also be addressing that in the presentation.”

Blanchette will give a similar presentation in York, “Presenting Grief Before and After Loss” on April 24 at York Public Library at 1 p.m.

Comments are not available on this story.