Rebuilding Her Foundation: How EveryStep Helped June Navigate Her Grief

Life after the loss of a loved one is a difficult time of adjustment and it’s normal to have difficulty navigating the many feelings associated with loss. Every individual’s grief is a personal journey, but EveryStep is honored to listen to your story and walk with you during your time of sorrow.

Married for almost 31 years, June and Todd Canfield enjoyed spending time together outdoors fishing, mushroom hunting and boating. Every Saturday, they would drive from their home in Hartford to Indianola to get groceries and go out for breakfast. It was a tradition June thought would last for many more years, but in January 2022, Todd suffered a pulmonary embolism and passed away suddenly.

“He was 55 and we had so much love for each other. That’s why it is just so hard and heartbreaking,” says June. In December, June attended a holiday gathering for individuals that had lost a loved one, where she learned about EveryStep’s grief support groups. She decided to sign up, though she wasn’t sure what it would be like.

“I felt very comfortable,” remembers June. ”Everybody’s situation is different, but we’re all grieving over something that has affected us deeply. We could say whatever we needed to say and it just helped to talk about how we were feeling. We didn’t have to keep anything secret.”

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June recalls one group session in which the facilitator asked the participants to liken the levels of a house to the things that were important to them. “Todd was the foundation of my house, and now my foundation was broken and I needed to rebuild it. That really stuck out to me. The different activities they had us do — they made us look at things a little differently. Knowing that we're all going through this journey  helps.”

June says part of her journey is knowing it’s okay to be sad or even angry about Todd’s death, while still cherishing their memories. “I’ve got 32 years of cards and notes from him all over my house. I’m so happy that I have all that. We just had a very special bond and love.”

Grief support groups are hosted at EveryStep Hospice locations in seven Iowa communities and at the EveryStep Grief & Loss Services office (home of Amanda the Panda) in West Des Moines. EveryStep Hospice bereavement counselors are available to meet with families or visit by phone. These services are available to anyone. The counselor can provide families with information or simply lend a friendly ear.

All support groups are free and open to the public. If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.