By Rebecca Simkin, Local Journalism Initiative reporter
Grief is a strange thing. Years after a loved one dies, we may still feel pangs of sadness when something reminds us of them. This feeling stays with us throughout our lives, though it may soften as the years go on.
One way to process grief is to take some time to honour our departed loved ones.
A great option is to participate in a memorial fundraising event that will also help others.
You can add even more meaning by participating in such events as a family or with coworkers, friends, or with schoolmates or teammates.
An opportunity to do this is coming up soon with Evergreen Hospice’s Pass the Care Forward Memorial Walk on Sunday, June 25.
Evergreen Hospice is a local non-profit organization that provides one of the few accessible options for professional counselling, support groups and other programs related to death and dying, at no cost to their clients.
About 2,300 people in Markham, Stouffville and Thornhill each year could use palliative care services, and 10,000 might benefit from grief support.
Evergreen is currently only reaching about 15 per cent of those in the community who could benefit from its support services, but wants to help more.
“The need for our services has increased dramatically over the last three years,” says Evergreen’s executive director, Lerryn Pitcher, “especially due to COVID-19 and the necessary isolation it required during end-of-life care. This situation has resulted in increased incidents of complicated grief.”
The walk will begin at 1 p.m. at the Evergreen office in Markham at 5762 Highway 7 East. There will be two options: a 2 km walk and a 5 km walk. Walkers will pass through Milne Park and return to the Evergreen office afterwards for snacks, refreshments and prizes.
“We come together for our annual Walk to Remember,” Pitcher explains, “honouring those we love who have died, while raising funds to ‘pass the care forward’ to others in our community in need of support during one of the most difficult times of their lives: facing a life-threatening illness, caregiving or grief.”
Encourage friends and family to sponsor your walk, further helping you to honour your loved one because the donations will go to helping others get the care and support they need.
It’s an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon…honouring a loved one, helping a non-profit provide support to others in the community, and getting some exercise too.
Visit evgcares.org for more information.