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Garden of Remembrance ceremony honours lost loved ones

Annual event happening June 13 at Couchiching Beach Park; new memorial stone will recognize pregnancy and infant loss
2019-06-06 Garden of Remembrance
The Hospice Orillia Garden of Remembrance will soon be full of geraniums. They will be planted during a ceremony June 13. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

Orillia’s Garden of Remembrance is growing.

For more than 20 years, flowers have been planted every spring at a space behind the Dr. Seymour Conservatory at Couchiching Beach Park. It’s a way for people to remember the loved ones they’ve lost.

At this year’s ceremony, happening June 13 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., a new memorial stone, donated by Sanderson Monument, will be added to recognize pregnancy and infant loss.

It came about thanks to PILO NSM (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Outreach North Simcoe Muskoka), a partnership between Hospice Orillia and the North Simcoe Muskoka Hospice Palliative Care Network.

“It’s really the community coming together to offer support and resources to families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss,” said Louise Brazier, bereavement services co-ordinator with Hospice Orillia. “Gaps in the system still exist. The people around the table are doers. We want to start making positive changes.”

“The North Simcoe Hospice Palliative Care Network and Hospice Orillia (are) proud to take the lead on this initiative to raise awareness and wrap care around those dealing with pregnancy and infant loss,” added Whitney Vowels, director of operations and communications. “This table has passionate community members and health-care providers alike brainstorming on how we can fill the gaps in service that still exist. We are stronger as a network and collaborative.”

This isn’t the first time a particular type of loss has been in the spotlight at the Garden of Remembrance ceremony. In the past, there have been focuses on pet loss as well as deaths related to the opioid crisis.

“We recognize every type of loss,” Brazier said.

The garden gives people an opportunity to grieve and to remember.

“One of the things we explore at Hospice Orillia is how death changes a relationship but doesn’t necessarily end it,” Brazier said.

She encourages anyone to attend the public event June 13, as it is “a time of community and reflection and a chance for people to see that life does go on.”

The city is donating 100 geraniums for the ceremony, which will include readings of poems and a time for discussion, as well as light refreshments.

“It’s a great opportunity to honour a loved one,” Brazier said.

For those interested in learning more about PILO NSM, the group will hold a public information session Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club.