Monica Robson, executive director of Pilgrim Hospice.
Greg Yanda says it scares him to think what could have happened if he hadn’t found the support he and his daughter needed following the death of his wife by suicide.“It wasn’t even me thinking about me needing help,” he said. “I was more worried about how Emily was going to deal with the loss of her mom and confronting the issues of suicide. I was more worried about how to make sure Emily could find a way to express herself and then I realized I was obviously in crisis too.”Sheila Yanda took her own life in 2010 at the age of 39 years old. Her husband said she suffered from undiagnosed depression for years. The couple had been together for 14 years. Yanda said his brother died by suicide when he was a teenager and never thought the same thing would happen to him again.“I never would have thought lightning would strike twice like that,” he said. “(I) could never have anticipated but it was depression.”Yanda and his daughter enrolled in Pilgrims Hospice Society’s grief services to help them through their tough time. He said the program allowed both of them to move forward.“The grief counselling that they provided was just unbelievable,” he added. “It was truly inspiring.”Yanda was one of the dignitaries at the groundbreaking of the Roozen Family Hospice Centre, being built by Pilgrims Hospice. It will be among the first stand-alone community hospices in Edmonton. The $15-million facility, scheduled to be completed near the end of 2020, will feature 12 residential hospice suites with 24-7 nursing care. The facility, which is located near 148 Street and 98 Avenue, will also offer grief counselling for families.Monica Robson, executive director with Pilgrims, said she was very excited to see the project move forward, adding excavation will begin Tuesday.“I think (the hospice) is really needed,” she said. “It just really enhances the quality of life (for people) who are facing end of life (while also) supporting their caregivers, their families, their loved ones.”For those grieving the loss of a loved one, Robson said there will be many feelings that come up at different times, especially on special occasions like holidays, birthdays and anniversaries.Robson summed it up by saying grief is something people have to live with.As for the centre, Pilgrims has managed to raise approximately 65 per cent to cover the price tag. Robson said so far, there has been no help from any level of government. However, the organization is in the middle of applying for grants from the province. Despite the shortfall in funding, she added construction will continue to move forward.“People who are giving to the campaign have the opportunity to make a pledge gift over five years,” she said. “We know that we’ll still have funds coming in from pledged gifts but we hope that we will have all those pledges and all those gifts in place by the end of 2020.”email@example.com