Re­mem­ber­ing a life, deal­ing with loss

Tri-County Vanguard - - COVER STORY - TINA COMEAU THEVANGUARD.CA

MaCali Cormier is be­ing re­mem­bered by her fam­ily and oth­ers who knew and loved her as a lit­tle girl who loved help­ing other peo­ple.

And it is in this spirit of help­ing and giv­ing back that a can­dle­light vigil was held in Yar­mouth’s Frost Park Mon­day evening, Nov. 26.

The vigil was or­ga­nized by car­ing mem­bers of the com­mu­nity as a means of al­low­ing peo­ple to re­mem­ber the young girl who lost her life in a tragic in­ci­dent dur­ing this past week­end’s an­nual hol­i­day pa­rade of lights in Yar­mouth.

The vigil was also a chance for the com­mu­nity to show its sup­port for the young girl’s fam­ily.

And, as well, it was a chance for peo­ple to ex­tend this show of sup­port to the first re­spon­ders and oth­ers im­pacted by this heart­break­ing event.

The young­ster died on Satur­day af­ter fall­ing un­der­neath a mov­ing float at the pa­rade. As the young girl’s fam­ily grieves their loss, so too does MaCali’s home­town.

Ac­cord­ing to her obit­u­ary posted on the Huskil­son’s Funeral Home web­site, the lit­tle girl – the daugh­ter of Jo­ce­lyn LeBlanc and Matthew Cormier, who would have turned 5 in early Jan­uary – was a pre-pri­mary stu­dent at Yar­mouth Cen­tral School.

“She loved school and couldn’t wait to go to the brand new school they were build­ing across the street,” her obit­u­ary reads, say­ing MaCali also had a pas­sion for swim­ming, camp­ing at El­len­wood Park, horse rid­ing, danc­ing and watch­ing YouTube videos. “Most of all,” the obit­u­ary reads, “MaCali will be re­mem­bered as a lit­tle girl who loved help­ing other peo­ple.”

A trust fund was set up through Huskil­son’s Funeral Home for those who wanted to make dona­tions.

Roland Han­nem, the lit­tle girl’s grand­fa­ther, shared a state­ment on the fam­ily’s be­half with the Tri-County Van­guard on Mon­day: “We are over­whelmed with the sup­port and outreach of the com­mu­nity. The thoughts and prayers do bring com­fort to help us through this tragedy. We all ap­pre­ci­ate the love and care shown to us.”

HELP­ING THE COM­MU­NITY

This past Sun­day evening an open ses­sion, fa­cil­i­tated by Bertha Bran­nen, an RN and Grief Re­cov­ery Spe­cial­ist, was held in Yar­mouth for those who had wit­nessed the ter­ri­ble event. There were many par­ents and chil­dren who saw what hap­pened. It was also a ses­sion for those who been im­pacted by the tragedy in other ways. Peo­ple were in­vited to come and share their thoughts and feel­ings, ask ques­tions, or just sit and lis­ten.

Ques­tions asked at the Sun­day ses­sion prompted a fol­low-up ses­sion Tues­day on the sub­ject of how chil­dren view death.

“That be­came ob­vi­ously one of the ques­tions of the young par­ents (at the Sun­day ses­sion), how do they talk to their kids – and at dif­fer­ent ages – be­cause ob­vi­ously a lot of kids were wit­ness to the event,” Bren­nan said.

Bren­nan says in times of grief, loss and trauma it is im­por­tant for peo­ple to know that they shouldn’t be afraid to talk about their feel­ings and that there is no shame in ad­mit­ting you need help to cope. It’s not a sign of weak­ness, if any­thing reach­ing out is sign of strength.

“It’s one of the is­sues that we face in so­ci­ety, and not just in Yar­mouth. We never talk about grief and loss and when it hap­pens it’s much harder to process,” she said.

“We need to talk. We just can’t con­tinue be­ing strong and keep­ing a stiff up­per lip,” said Bren­nan. “I think in the last few years with Men­tal Health com­ing on board, and char­i­ties like Let’s Talk, it has cer­tainly raised an aware­ness that we just can’t be strong and pre­tend this doesn’t bother us.” Bren­nan was pleased to see how many times in­for­ma­tion about the ses­sions were shared and talked about on so­cial me­dia. Peo­ple wanted to en­sure oth­ers knew that sup­port was avail­able.

Said Bren­nan, “It speaks to me highly about the heart of Yar­mouth.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF FAM­ILY

You can see the joy on MaCali Cormier’s face as takes a leap into the wa­ter. There is heart­break over the girl’s death.

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