Bereaved Families Memory Tree returns

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By Nick Seebruch
Bereaved Families Memory Tree returns
Pauline Lariviere and Melissa Winchester of Bereaved Families of Ontario, Southeast region with the Memory Tree at the Benson Centre (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Bereaved Families of Ontario (BFO), South East region, has revived an old Christmas tradition in Cornwall, the Bereaved Families Memory Tree.

For a donation, members of the public can buy a transparent Christmas bauble holding the name of a loved one who has passed on, which is then added to the Christmas tree at the entrance of the Benson Centre in Cornwall.

Donation can be made in the memory of a friend, family member, or pet.

All of the donations will go to support the operations of BFO.

The Bereaved Families Memory Tree is a local tradition going back to the 1980s. The tree this year was put up in the Benson Centre on Nov. 20 and donations will be accepted until Dec. 19. So far, there have been 26 names added to the tree.

BFO recently resumed operations in Cornwall after a hiatus of about two years.

On Nov. 25, BFO held their first open support and share group event, which had eight participants. The theme for the first group event was how to cope with loss during the holidays.

Important coping tools discussed including things like a person who has experienced a loss deciding what they can handle comfortably and letting their friends and families know, such as perhaps not feeling up to a group familiy dinner if it reminds them of their lost loved one.

BFO is a volunteer supported organization which provides peer-to-peer grief support. All of their facilitators are volunteers who have received facilitator training.

“What we do is peer-to-peer support. It is about sharing lived experiences and the comfort in sharing,” said Pauline Lariviere, a facilitator with BFO South East region.

BFO plans on holding more peer support group meetings on Dec. 16 and on Jan. 6.

BFO is also in the process of launching a help line. This is not a crisis line, but a line where someone who has experienced a loss can call to speak to a peer about what they are feeling and get connected to other resources.

For more information about Bereaved Families services or about the Memory Tree, visit their Facebook page at Bereaved Families of Ontario – South Eastern Region.

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