By Stephanie-ann Brisson
As you may know or are experiencing, the process of grieving the death of a loved one during a pandemic can be very difficult. People cannot come together in person to support one another and be comforted by affectionate touch. They cannot gather with family and friends to share food, rituals and condolences.
Rituals have two essential aspects that help us in our grieving process: intention and action or, put another way, heart and hand. With our hearts, we set an intention to honour our grief and our loved one, and, as we take an action with our hands – infused with our heart-connected intention – our actions are transformed into a meaningful and comforting ritual. Rituals can be both specific and personal, and yet they also have a collective or universal meaning. For example, a boat can represent a vessel for a journey, water, the source of life and sunset can be symbolic of a death or ending.
We at Community Deathcare Québec invite you to participate in a community ritual to honour our loved ones who have died and to give expression to our grief not shared due to our current lack of social connection. All are welcome to join us. Each of us, or each family, will perform a mini-boat launch ritual at sunset near our own home and connect with others who will be participating at the exact same time.
At sunset, 6:13 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 17, join us from where you are and launch a mini-boat carrying a small candle onto a body of water that has meaning to you. As daylight fades, our mini-boats will float out to bring light to the darkness of our grief. From wherever we are, we will envision the constellation of mini-boats built and launched by a community of mourners, who honour their grief and their loved ones who have died. If it feels right, take a photo and send it to email@example.com to help us create a mini-boat flotilla memorial page to honour our grief.
In the days leading up to the launch, think of your loved one as you make a mini-boat of eco-safe materials in their honour.
This community ritual is scheduled to align with the Community Deathcare Canada’s second annual Swan Song Festival 2020, which links people across the country who are searching for meaningful and personal ways to reclaim the care of their loved ones when they die.
For a mini-boat-making video, go to: scmq-cdq.ca/Events_SwanSongFestival2020.html.
Stephanie-ann Brisson writes on behalf of Community Deathcare Québec, based in the Gatineau hills, which represents the needs and interests of Québec residents in the nationwide grassroots movement to re-engage with dying and deathcare in more meaningful, holistic and environmentally sustainable ways: scmq-cdq.ca/.