Our time together was confessional, vulnerable, uncomfortable, hopeful. Some people shared powerful stories of connecting with the land, and the healing that they received; others shared the healing that they’ve seen in the ecosystems, such as chum salmon runs returning to Vancouver’s Still Creek. Some reconnected with their ancestors from distant lands, and it brought happiness, fulfillment, and also awareness of loss.
An event like Night of All Souls gives people the opportunity to develop their own traditions. By leaving memorials for grandparents and other ancestors, we acknowledge their presence in our lives. There are young people now in Vancouver who cannot remember a time – because they were too little or weren’t born – when there wasn’t a beautiful event in their cemetery to remember the dead.
I had to either jump off the bridge or don’t even go on the damn bridge. If I decided to show the pain I was going to go all the way, that is the way I had to be, and if it stood out a bit too much I would deal with it when it happened. It’s my memory now.
Seven girls from a Mission, BC elementary school were introduced to a group of elders at a local care facility. Every Tuesday for the next six months, both groups participated in an intergenerational dance programme. The goal of the project was to investigate the impact of meaningful activities on the cognitive and physiological health of the residents. It ended up as much more than that.