Our grief, our recovery, our light
The leaves have fallen, along with the rest of nature’s annual slow slide into mid-winter’s death grip. Up here in the North, we live with death all around us every November. So when death comes early, a major inner cycle is ruptured. When a child dies, or a relationship, when a business folds, a friendship betrayed or a pet is taken away early, we humans are faced with a grief out of season. No one would compare a child dying to a business closing, but the essence of that pang of grief is relatable. Relatability is the key here, for the recovery process.
Community has mechanisms in place to help with grief. We cook for each other, take each other’s kids out to provide a break, we raise money for medical research; in the search for actions that make a difference in the face of pain, these actions help the community. People around the grieving want to help, even if there is so little that can be done to heal grief. Some folks put the pain of loss to work. They research, they heal, they support, they legislate.
In Aylmer, there are plenty of such artisans for good. Aylmer needs them, and they can sleep at night knowing they are contributing to a greater good. As for the other people, those who, in their busy lives, know there are neighbours who suffer but have no energy left to lend a hand, they are also part of moving forward. They serve as breathing examples of living, of “normalcy”. Moving beyond immobilizing grief to the busy life out there is goal enough for so many.
Of all who have suffered grief, veterans are among those who have the most to teach about recovery. There are no more ardent defenders of the living than veterans. This year, with Armistice 100, Aylmer is marking 100 years of setting down arms with a dramatic ceremony at the cenotaph. Bells are to toll in memory of the dead and in support of the living, the grieving and the recovering.
For anyone in Aylmer who is grieving, these bells are also for you. They call out to the world as an interruption for the folks living their busy, ‘normal’ lives. The frequency of those bells ferry the grieving forward to peek into the future, that future that holds the everyday activities that are the goal of peace-seeking folks across the world.
On November 11, Aylmer will gather at 11 am in the Commemoration Park downtown. In grief and in recovery from pain, all of Aylmer will hear the bells as we crack open grief and let the light come in.