Losing a loved one is devastating - it throws you off kilter and can turn your world upside down in the most challenging of ways. No matter how many deaths you've experienced in your lifetime, you are never fully prepared to face a loss. We are essentially learning how to walk again - except this time, we are learning to walk with grief.
On June 15th, 2019, the Centre for Grief and Healing held an event for those grieving the loss of a loved one. This event consisted of a (biodegradable) Dove Balloon Release Ceremony, Yoga in the Park, Silent Auctions, Music and our well-known remembrance walk alongside the Credit River.
The Walk to Remember is a time to celebrate, remember and honor our loved ones who've passed. At this year's annual event, we gathered in support of one another while fostering hope and healing for ourselves, our families and friends and of course - each other. The event in its entirety was beautiful - wide open space, lush foliage, and comforting sunshine enveloped our planned activities, however, the most beautiful aspect was seeing everyone learning to walk with their grief, together. All walks of life may face loneliness after the loss of a loved one and to witness one big, harmonious support system was awe-inspiring.
This year's walk was led by the Gavilema Family on the Trail in Streetsville Memorial Park.
Families grew in closeness as they walked in unity with custom-made shirts in memory of their loved one, and individuals walked alongside each other to provide support as they learn to navigate towards their new normal.
Nearing the end of the walk, we each gathered to throw a stone in the Credit River - whichever way we decided to interpret the stone was our personal way of letting go of any leftover guilt, regrets, fears, and other challenging emotions.
Following the walk, we came together for our last Dove Balloon Release Ceremony. Balloons were covered with heartfelt messages, quotes and shared memories. In unison, we released our balloons to the sky and watched as each one flew away.
Our grief is like a river. It comes in waves of pain, but there are always quiet spots where we can rest again. There are others who share this commonality and this is where we can begin to navigate our new normality.
Shared grief can build community. Walk alongside us in 2020 for our next Walk to Remember event.
~ Victoria Berry