Grief is a powerful and overwhelming emotion. Those who have left us often represent a substantial portion of our lives and deserve to be remembered. And the remembering brings wave after wave of devastating loss until we wonder if we too will be lost. Within that cycle you learn to breathe in the tiny little spaces between, gasping for air when you can get it.
In recent months thousands of graves have been uncovered at various former residential schools across Western Canada. As more and more Nations raise the money to access the technology needed, it is expected that more will be uncovered and the numbers are already staggering. The collective awareness in this country rose in direct proportion to the numbers of unmarked graves found, until the horror became overwhelming and people began to turn away.
Canada has formally recognized a new statutory holiday known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to be recognized on September 30th each year. This day fulfills the Truth and Reconciliation commission’s call to action #80 and will serve as a day of remembrance and reflection. In fact, thousands of Canadians have found ways to honour these lives lost, and hundreds of thousands more, simply watch or scroll past. The history, numbers and pain more than they can bear.
It may be time that we learned to breathe together, to share the loss, to honour the children and to heal. This is not an easy path, but there have been others. In 2016 Gord Downie published a story and an album, his response to hearing the story of Chanie Wenjak, a 12 year old boy who died trying to escape residential school in the dead of winter. Gord Downie has also since passed after a long battle of his own leaving behind him a lifetime of music and faint footprints leading the way.
It may not be possible to personally honour every child lost to the horror of residential schools. It is possible to honour one. One precious child torn from the arms of a loving family. One devastated family waiting …
This is part of a series of mindfulness prompts that are based in Métis teachings. Each weekly post has an image specifically designed to fit the lock-screen on your phone. The idea is that you can make mindfulness easy, effective and beautiful all at the same time. Placing each new image on your lock screen serves to keep it in the front of your mind while the week allows you enough time to lean into the learning.