Nanaimo families come together to bear the grief of suicide

By Spencer Sterritt
September 7, 2018 - 1:56pm

The yearly Soles Remembering Souls event is a chance for families to find other people to help share the weight and grief of suicide.submitted/Vancouver Island Crisis Society

NANAIMO — Losing someone to suicide is a heartwrenching experience and a memorial event wants to help grieving friends and families process their loss in a positive and healthy way.

The Soles Remembering Souls memorial and walk is Sunday, Sept. 9 at Maffeo Sutton Park. People experiencing a loss can bring a photo of their loved one if they wish, as well as socks or shoes which will be donated to those in need.

Presented by the Vancouver Island Crisis Society, organizer Matt Dunae told NanaimoNewsNOW there's a misconception in the community about people not wanting to talk about suicide if they've lost someone.

"People who've lost someone really want to talk about that person,” Dunae said. “They really want to honour their memory and be able to share the good times, maybe a story or a laugh.”

As someone who's lost family members to suicide, Dunae said being emotional is a necessary part of the grieving process.

“Talking to someone is always better than keeping it inside. We know what happens when someone does that,” he said. “I love to talk about my brother, my dad. When I talk to someone who's lost a person to suicide, they say 'I do sometimes get upset but I always feel good afterwards.'”

Now in its 12th year, Dunae said they strive to keep the event from being morose, which could retraumatize many attendees. Volunteer support staff will be on-hand to help anyone who's struggling.

The memorial features a walk along the waterfront, which is a chance for people to connect and bond.

“It's always incredible to turn around and see how many people have been effected,” Dunae said. “You'll see everyone from lawyers and doctors to people on the street.”

The memorial runs from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.


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