Remembering a life, dealing with loss
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.”
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.