For Immediate Release
Traditional Aboriginal Gathering targets Survivors of Suicide for Healing. May 29, 30, 2012 Winnipeg, Mb
Thunderbird House of Winnipeg, will host a two day Circle of Life Gathering: Healing Our Grief, on Tuesday May 29 and Wednesday May 30, 2012. This is the third year in a four journey for volunteers, David Blacksmith, Stephanie Eyolfson, Don Courchene, Peter Kinew, Ron & Sally McDonald, Chickadee Richards, Jessica Burton and Betty Laschuk. Each of these people is a survivor of suicide. Someone close to them has taken their life by way of suicide. Betty Laschuk is a spokesperson for Compassionate Friends of Winnipeg. Although it has been over 20 years, Betty continues to grieve the loss of her child. Betty sees the aftermath of losing a child. As a volunteer for Compassionate Friends, Betty continues to host Parents that have lost children. “The pain never goes away”.
The volunteers know that suicide is not a comfortable subject to deal with. All the more reason to have an outlet in which survivors can come, share, feel safe and confide in one another. The event is strictly volunteer driven. Don Courchene says, “We know people do not personally invest unless it is something that affects them directly”. Would you join the Walk for Cancer if cancer did not affect you? Many causes are personally driven for that reason, it has affected someone personally. The task for drivers of a cause is to make everyone aware and try to engage them into getting involved. The Survivors of Suicide Gathering is to provide a release valve for those dealing with the issues related to suicide; such as depression, isolation, grief, negative stigma, anger, longing, loss of faith, blame and other harmful thoughts. There is also an attempt to educate the wider audience. Suicide is not an isolated event. Suicide brings the community along and shares the pain. Many people are affected: the police member and first responder dealing with aftermath, the parent, the sibling, the children, the friends, colleagues, and so on. The result is a feeling difficult to describe: The police member who has to remove the body from a home where a child has hanged themselves. How do they get that image out of their minds? How do they face the parents? The friends at school, how do they react and how do they feel? It is important to recognize that suicide is not an isolate event. A huge interest for the Gathering has been expressed by Aboriginal communities throughout Manitoba. We expect visitors to the Gathering from people as far away as Lac Brochet.
Suicide has been making the news due to incidents involving professional athletes: Junior Seau, Wade Belak, Mike Flanagan, Rick Rypien. Suicide knows no bounds. It can happen where we least expect. Many people do not know where to turn when things get to hard to handle. Prevention is difficult but if people are more aware perhaps they can be in a situation to react and help someone in need. The Survivors know this: “We would not want anyone to know the pain we are feeling”. Suicide death is one of the most difficult situations to understand and work through. The volunteers and speakers attending the Gathering want to stress that they are only interested in helping others. “If you work for the people, in essence, you are working for the Creator”.