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First Memorial Service at the Lighthouse, Children and Families

On September 21st took place the first commemorative ceremony honoring the lives of the 96 children of The Lighthouse Children and Familles that have departed at La Maison André-Gratton, at home or in hospital.

21 families were present, accompanied by grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends. In all, more than 100 persons attended this ceremony to honor the lives of the children.

This event took place at La Maison des Marins in the Montreal 360 Hall in the heart of Old Montréal. This magnificent glass hall allowed everyone to have a moment of reverence amidst skylight and Seaway. As many multicolored flowers as children that left their imprints at The Lighthouse and in our hearts. This simple decor, created by the animators of the Lighthouse, brought sunshine and sweetness to the ceremony. 

A ceremony presided by Alain Legault, Spiritual Intervener – kind words from Michèle Viau-Chagnon and Lyse Lussier – penetrating and airy music played by Catherine Perron, our music therapist, and cello player and Kelly-Anne Vander Meer our accordionist, as well as Maryse Legagneur, Harpist who accompanied everyone with her music in the elevator.

The children’s names were read one by one by a member of each Lighthouse team.  Also on site, families and friends could ponder after reading The Children’s Last Life Story Book – a few words that reveals the Children’s last moment of grace.

After the ceremony readings entwined with music, everyone was conveyed to go on to the beautiful terrace in order to release 96 “Belle Dame” butterflies in memory of the children. A hopeful and magical moment that brought everyone together to celebrate life.

A memorial service was held to honor grieving families. During the ceremony, four texts were read to reflect the different stages of mourning. The first ones might have been more painful to hear because they spoke of separation and solitude, the first stage of mourning. Together, we paid tribute to the families coping with grief and loss.

First Stage: Separation

I have one burning desire,

And only one thing to say:

Stay back,

And don’t come near me!

You cannot help me,

And if you come close, I’ll push you away,

With the flames burning in my heart.

I know that I’m unfair awful and unbearable,

But my loss is unfair, awful and unbearable.

I beg of you, please let me be,

For I cannot stand to see the living,

And cannot face the guilt of living,

When my child has died and gone away!

Second Stage: Solitude

No one understands my solitude.

And I am no longer welcome to gatherings.

Of course I know,

I am not the funniest person to be with,

I don’t like making small talk,

And rather stay home alone to recollect.

I don’t want to fight to hold back my tears,

But also want to say that I’m not plague-stricken:

Mourning is not contagious!

If only one of those who fear me,

Were brave enough to lend out a hand,

I would take it,

Yes I would take that hand.

Third Stage: Emptiness

I don’t want to heal,

I don’t want to heal from this loss!

If I lose this pain,

I might lose him a second time;

Will I ever understand

That I can live

Without betraying, without forgetting, and without erasing…

Fourth Stage: Finding Peace

Can you hear the wind?

It carries the touch of his skin and the sound of his voice.

Can you see the clouds?

Beneath them lie his face, his beauty and his greatness.

Can you feel the heat of the sun?

It warms the memory of his life.

Some days when I think of you,

I suffocate and must step out to breathe in some air.

Other days, I close my eyes to hear you, smell you, and feel you vibrate.

When the pain is too unbearable, I ask the wind to carry the tears,

I ask the clouds to soak in the grief, and ask the sun to bring me some warmth…

I slowly come back to life.

That is when you show me how to breathe,

I am filled with your memory,

And see you so clearly, as if you were right beside me. 

I can breathe...

Your strength carries me, and pushes me forward.

You stand close to me, to protect me from falling.

In the darkest moments, you guide me with your light.

I can feel you within me.

Time never stands still,

But marks the rhythm of our lives.

It does not wait, but does not rush us either,

It simply passes and slowly takes away the sorrow.

Seasons endlessly change

- Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall -

But do not take away the images of our lives.

Can you hear the wind?

It carries the touch of his skin and the sound of his voice.

Can you see the clouds?

Beneath them lie his face, his beauty and his greatness.

Can you feel the heat of the sun?

It warms the memory of his life.