Ceremony is an important part of the grieving process, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put most ceremonies on pause.
That’s why the Central Okanagan Hospice Association will be hosting a Virtual Celebration of Life this Sunday, Feb. 21, at 11 a.m. to help those who grieving.
“It helps us to acknowledge the reality of a death, and it gives testimony to the life of the deceased, and it also encourages the expression of grief,” COHA bereavement services associate director Jessica Hughes says.
“So a lot of people think it’s closure or the end, but it’s really not. A meaningful ceremony is a good beginning to a grief journey. It’s very healing. Often when we don’t know what to do, we lean on ceremony.”
COHA has produced a 13-minute ceremony that it will show on its website on Sunday at 11 a.m. People are encouraged to participate alone in the comfort of their own home or together with members of their household.
The ceremony will include the lighting of a candle, so participants should have one ready if they wish to do that part of the program. If members of the public are unable to take part in the event live at 11 a.m., the video will remain on the website for anyone to watch at a later time for future reflection.
“We’re recognizing with everything that’s going on right now we’re not able to come together as we once were able to, and people are really feeling that,” Hughes says. “With how important ceremony is on the healing journey, we’ve put together this virtual celebration of life together.”
The pre-recorded ceremony is about 13 minutes long, and Hughes says it is “beautifully put together” with music and visuals.
COHA normally conducts a celebration of life monthly at Hospice House, but those have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Other fundraising and ceremonial events have been postponed, cancelled or altered as well, so trying to bring the community together is important for the organization.
“We know how important ceremony is, and we were somewhat limited in that we were just offering it in Hospice House to family members who lost a loved there,” Hughes said. “It was very well received.
“This is a little bit different, because we’re opening it up to include the entire community. So anyone who has lost a loved one or is grieving in some way can attend.”
COHA serves the Central Okanagan from Peachland to Oyama, offering compassionate supportive care programs for individuals and families who are experiencing illness or grief.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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