Community Comment, by Gary Sulz
As we learn of another death of young person from our community we may wonder what is happening. I hear the words, ‘is our community cursed,’ ‘what is happening,’ or ‘why us?’ There are simplistic answers, but none any of us wish to hear. The real fact is that we are a small community and that we grow up together, or go to the same school or spend time together socially. Beyond that, our parents and grandparents may know each other. The beauty and the heartbreak of a small community is that we are all bound together through the happy times and the sad. And when we hear of another death, our hearts already grieving find it hard to cope. But as we share our thoughts and feelings with each other, we find that together we can move on. During the ‘holiday season’ grief can be compounded and we feel more uneasy than before. This is a good time for us to reach out to each other. We can honour the one who has died, through the sharing of happier memories, the recollection of time together and by reaching out to assist another.
Changing our holiday rituals to include memorializing our friend by including a story about them is a great way to be inclusive of this wonderful life that was lived. Remember love doesn’t stop just because a life has ended. When we grieve our physical needs change, we must remember to take care of ourselves; rest is vital for renewed health, hydration is very important to keep our bodies working and we must remember to eat properly. Excess alcohol consumption, dehydrates us physically and though it make take away the pain for a short time, that is only fleeting and we feel worse than before our first drink. Companioning is a good way to work through grief, finding a friend that we can be open and honest with and one who feels that they can be this way with you will help one learn to express their emotions in a practical and safe environment. We all know grief shared is grief diminished. What we need to remember is that life will go on, albeit differently that what would have wished upon anyone, but it will go on. If we work through this pain, individually and as community our lives will slowly normalize and we will begin to see the light of life again.
Gary Sulz is a Funeral Diector and owner of Brandon Bowers Funeral Service. Following a year of tragic losses including many young people from the community, we asked Sulz to contribute a word on dealing with grief and loss through the holiday season.
Community Comment is a new feature in the Revelstoke Times Review. We invite community members to contribute opinion pieces focusing on issues that matter in our community. We welcome individual columnists or those representing an organization. Please contact Editor Aaron Orlando for more information.