Recognizing that many struggle with grief throughout the year, but especially at this time of year, Wesmor Public High School’s guidance counselor, Carol Lemire has organized a grief support group for Wesmor students for the past eight years where students find support coping with their many losses. For the past seven years Mrs. Lemire along with the grief support group also organized a memorial candle light service for the Wesmor community. At this years’ service, Mrs. Lemire spoke about how loss is unavoidable. “Although we are taught at a very young age how to acquire things, we have very little accurate information on what to do when we lose them. When we grieve, we tend to grieve with our heads and not our hearts. Too many times we are told to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move on. By doing this we are attempting to heal our hearts with our brains, but it is not our brains that are broken… it is our hearts.”  Mrs. Lemire encouraged the audience of students, their families, and staff to share their grief with others, to reach out to others who care. “Claim your circumstances instead of allowing your circumstances to claim you and your happiness.”

Author Harold Johnson whose published work Firewater has been studied by many Wesmor English Language Arts students and has inspired the Wesmor’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter’s “Sober House Project”, shared personal stories of his journey through grief. His stories resonated with many.  Mr. Johnson spoke about how addictions only prolong the grief process and he encouraged all to reach out to others and seek healthy coping strategies for grief such as writing, exercise, pursuing hobbies, or joining a group such as the grief support group at Wesmor.

All in the candlelight service were invited to light a memorial candle and many students hung ornaments on the tree they made to honour their loved ones. Thank you to Mrs. Lemire and the Wesmor staff for creating this safe space and opportunity for grief support.