An archive of past events in reverse chronological order
Riverside Grief Gathering
Nestled in the trees of Strathcona Park on a beautiful autumn day, we acknowledged and honoured different forms grief through gently guided ritual, meditation, and movement.
Witnessed by each other, Mother Nature, and other beings of this place, we offered up our sorrows and asked the river to support us in lightening our load.
Great gratitude to all who gathered in this space for grief.
Remembering: A Guided Journey
As part of Community Deathcare Canada’s 2nd Annual Swan Song Festival, Carole L. Trepanier of “The Death of Me” facilitated a journey and spoke to the role of ritual and spirit work in community deathcare. As an animist ritualist, Carole specializes in spiritual healing, endings and awakenings—forms of Death. She led participants through a gentle remembering of the “micro-deaths” of their own lives which supported profound unburdening.
Mother’s Day Space for Grief
Members of Community Deathcare Ottawa held space for an unscripted evening of conversation at a time of year filled with grief and sorrow for many. Participants expressed the relief of sharing stories around such a loaded holiday.
Valentine’s Day Vigil: Grief as an Expression of Love
Community Deathcare Ottawa welcomed ceremonialist Carrie Fawcett to lead a ceremony in honour of a different face of Love. We gathered to acknowledge, share and deepen our understanding of grief as an extension of our love, a continued relationship after loss. Through music, poetry, creativity, and silence, we honoured our individual and collective heartache.
Movie & Discussion: Griefwalker
This documentary introduced us to Stephen Jenkinson, once the leader of a palliative care counselling team at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Through his daytime job, he has been at the deathbed of well over 1,000 people. What he sees over and over, he says, is “a wretched anxiety and an existential terror” even when there is no pain. Indicting the practice of palliative care itself, he has made it his life’s mission to change the way we die – to turn the act of dying from denial and resistance into an essential part of life.
Movie & Discussion: In the Parlor – The Final Goodbye
Rejecting the mainstream tradition of hiring funeral professionals to care for the deceased, families in search of a more personal and fulfilling way to say goodbye are taking an active role in caring for relatives who have died. Both a critical look at the American relationship with death and an inquiry into the home death care movement, In The Parlor: The Final Goodbye takes viewers on a journey where very few have gone, and challenges us to reflect on this uncomfortable subject, which so often is hidden away and ignored.
Mindful Grieving Workshop
Grief and loss were all around us in 2020 – loss of friends or family members as a result of death, non-death loss, anticipatory grief, loss of role or career, and ambiguous loss. This Mindful Grieving workshop led by Rebecca Ross of Giving Spaces was open to anyone wishing to explore grief through mindfulness.
2019 Community Deathcare Expo
The time we came together with an interactive showcase of what is possible when death is honoured as a sacred part of life. There was a home vigil demo, death café, grief couch, casket painting, demo of Jewish burial practices, remembrance altar, mandala grieving ritual, grief phone, practitioner booths, and more!
“We’re all going to die.”
That was the provocative tagline on a certificate of membership being handed out at Ottawa’s first annual Community Deathcare Expo, held on October 19 at the Churchill Seniors Centre…
The Grief Phone
“Do you still have conversations with them in your mind? Is there one thing you wish you’d said before they died? What is the exciting news or secret worry you really want to share? Perhaps anger needs to be voiced. Or forgiveness. Or simply a name.”
Inspired by Itaru Sasa of Otsuchi, Japan, Space for Death erected an enclosure designed to give a voice to grief, to place a call to the great beyond.
Mock Home Vigil
The death of a loved one often turns our world upside down. Our hearts and minds sometimes need time to adjust to this new reality. We can support that process by spending more time with the deceased. What would be right for your family? A few extra hours together? A vigil at home? Perhaps even a home funeral?
Within a cozy home setting accompanied by beautiful music, Reclaiming Death demonstrated these legal and safe options that help us move forward in our grief.
“Here the family helps transfer ‘the body’. In those early hours, our hearts and minds struggle to absorb this new reality of loss. Having something to do is often a comfort to the bereaved. This is why family-led care can be extremely healing.” ~ Kelly Butler
We are all just walking each other home.Ram Dass / Richard Alpert