Educators Corner: A Musical Potluck to Discuss Loss and Grief

Many Health Care students across Canada have immigrated to Canada, leaving behind their country, community, career, kids and families. The opportunity to reflect on these multiple losses in a safe environment can facilitate greater understanding of loss, grief and stimulate discussion on ways to best support one another when grieving.

Purpose of the Musical Potluck: to stimulate discussion of cultural losses, and open the door to discussing loss and grief while sharing traditional music and food.


  • Plan a potluck for lunch, after class, or as a fund raiser.
  • Students bring a dish of food from their family traditions that are used at time of loss, death, grief.
  • Students take turns and share a song, or tell about a tradition or ritual related to grieving in their family.
  • Link the discussion in with the upcoming materials on Loss and Grief to be discussed in the “Essentials in Hospice Palliative Care” resources.

Notes for instructors:

Consider the themes from the teaching presentation on Loss and Grief (*“Essentials” Teaching Presentations (PPTs))  Link these themes with the discussion…

  • Loss is normal, grief is natural
  • People grieve in many and varied ways
  • We can offer support through the things we say and do and by “being with” the person who is grieving
  • What is helpful will vary according to the person, the culture…
  • What is helpful to you when you are grieving?

Music can be magical in opening doors to discuss issues that might otherwise not be acknowledged.

Let us know if you trial this potluck – Send photos, or add your ideas of ways to implement this activity!

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