Social Workers Help Shell-Shocked Lac-Megantic Residents
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Social workers are helping comfort the residents of battered Lac-Megantic after a deadly train derailment. Marie-Helene Anctil, who manages social care services, says shock is turning to anger.


The cloud of sorrow that hangs over a Quebec town ravaged by a train derailment might never lift for dozens of families whose loved ones vanished without a trace.A grief counsellor sent in to help comfort the battered town of Lac-Megantic says that, without a body to bury, many can't move past the denial stage of loss.Richard Vaillancourt says the uncertainty can keep families in limbo for years.Vaillancourt's team of more than 30 counsellors has listened to shell-shocked residents in community centres, fire stations and even public parks in recent days.``When we have nothing to confirm that the person we love has died, that denial stretches over time,'' he said Thursday, more than five days after tragedy struck the community.``It's hard to move on to other things _ to experience anger, then experience sadness... then to say, 'OK, I accept it and I'm going to take care of myself and return to a normal rhythm of living,''' he said.About 50 people are feared to have died in last weekend's disaster but, so far, only one body has been identified.Some families have found comfort in speaking publicly about their lost loved ones.Some would rather not.A first victim was named by police Thursday _ 93-year-old Elianne Parenteau, who lived near the tracks. Her son had spoken publicly about his mom while he still held out hope she might still be alive.Now the family is busy planning a funeral.``Everything has been said,'' said her son, Michel Boulanger, in a phone interview.``I just want to keep quiet and let her rest in peace.''Louise Boulet doesn't know when a funeral might be held for her sister.Boulet, 63, said she's sure her sister Marie-France died in the blast, and while she and her nine other siblings accept that, they won't be at peace until they have her ashes.``There's not a lot left, but we definitely want something to put in an urn,'' she said.Though the town is likely to hold a collective memorial to honour those who disappeared in the explosion, Boulet said she won't let the sister _ whom she called her family's ``Mother Teresa'' _ become an anonymous victim.