Youth Anticipatory Grief Story

Meet ‘Farid,’ a 15-year-old high school student who emigrated from Iran with his father seven years earlier. His school Guidance Counselor discovered, after his grades were deteriorating, that he was the sole caregiver to his father, who had been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease 2 years earlier.

An incurable, hereditary brain disorder which affects movement, behaviour and cognition, this disease rendered Farid’s father increasingly reliant on him since his mother had passed away before they left Iran, and they had no other relatives in Canada.

Not unexpectedly, Farid became depressed. He had absolutely no social life, and his grades were declining. He was struggling with his father’s suffering and was extremely worried about how he was to manage as the disease progressed even further. Scared and overwhelmed, he had no idea how to obtain help. Thankfully, his father’s specialist referred him to Evergreen.

We were able to intervene in several ways:

  • An Evergreen volunteer translator helped ensure open communication with the father, whose knowledge of English was limited;
  • An Evergreen Social Worker became involved in “anticipatory grief counseling” with Farid and also arranged for the Children’s Aid Society to help secure his future when the father died;
  • An Evergreen Client Care Coordinator visited his father and arranged for additional community support services to assist him;
  • An Evergreen volunteer was matched with his father to assist him at home, and
  • Once his father dies, Farid will be able to participate in a support group for teens who are grieving.

Although he is still facing his father’s impending death, Farid is extremely relieved to have other support services involved and is beginning to socialize with friends and concentrate more on his schoolwork. He knows there are plans in place to help him in the future as well as right now.

Many of Evergreen’s services focus on support for people who are having difficulty coping with their grief or are anticipating grief. Support groups for adults, children and teens, as well as one-to-one counselling, can help people adapt when a loved one has died.