From left, from Bereaved Families of Ontario, Cornwall branch, are Gisele Roy, facilitator; Elyse Lauzon-Alguire, director of programs, and Traci Trottier, administrator,
Many in the community gathered at the Cornwall Square, on Sunday, to remember their loved ones who have passed, at the annual Memory Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Helping individuals deal with their grief from losing a loved one is the mission of Bereaved Families all year round, but it is especially poignant this time of year, explained Gisele Roy, facilitator with the agency, who was helped by its services when she lost her parents, years ago.
“When we are grieving, we believe that we are the only one experiencing different feelings or going through different situations” said Roy. “(Through Bereaved Families’ programs), people realise that they are not alone,”
Roy explained that the annual ceremony which involves the decorating of a Christmas tree with ornaments, cards, photos and mementos, of loved ones, is about remembering. “Some people want to just forget, and think it will be easier, and don’t even mention the name of their loved one, or just ignore the holidays.”
The ceremony included the reading of poems, a performance by the Centennial Choir and guest speakers who shared their experience with grief during the holidays.
“It’s a very emotional celebration, very public but also very soothing for many people because they are together. Even those who have not experienced grief walk by and are moved by the ceremony.”
Through a variety of services, including a library of books, one on one discussions and group meetings, “we guide them; we listen and share our experience with grief.”
Roy said that the best part of this group is the camaraderie that develops between the members and the people who attend the sessions.
The Memory Tree will remain in the mall throughout the month of December.