In the spirit of remembrance, thankfulness and hope, residents, families and staff gathered at the Gardens at Qualicum last week to honour loved ones lost over the past 18 months.
As butterflies were released into the Qualicum skies, those gathered reflected on beloved spouses, parents, siblings and friends no longer at their side, but whose memory lives on.
The event also recognized that beyond the losses felt so deeply, the pandemic brought changes to how we mark our loss – changes that added to the loneliness of grief for many. While we were unable to gather family and friends close in our grief, we take heart in knowing that those loved and lost are not forgotten: the unique little ways they had, their sense of humour, their stories and their smiles live on with us.
Qualicum Beach Mayor Brian Wiese also joined the Gardens for the special day, marked with a High Tea, created by the Gardens’ talented culinary team.
Hope and resilience take flight
Beyond the unprecedented challenges the pandemic has presented, the butterfly release also honoured the equally unprecedented resilience and spirit that Qualicum Gardens residents and families demonstrated.
With seniors separated for so long from their loved ones, it’s been a time to find support, hope, encouragement and strength in each other, to lift one another up and to share fears, concerns, tears and the quiet assurance as we walked side by side in unfamiliar territory.
It was with that in mind that the Gardens also saluted their hard-working team members who throughout the last 18 months have continued to create safe, engaging opportunities for residents, adapting as protocols evolved.
Last fall, for example, when their usual fundraising activities were curtailed, residents hosted craft sales to raise $5,000 for the Oceanside Hospice Society.
For those who thrive on recreation, the team worked to create smaller physically distanced classes. For music lovers, they organized outdoor concerts that could be enjoyed from residents’ balconies or from distanced outdoor seating.
So as we reflect on all the sacrifices the year has brought, the heartache and loss, pause to also rejoice in the fullness of life, and riches of our shared community.