For a brief moment, the sky was filled with brightly coloured dots as residents who wanted to remember loved ones released balloons into the air during the Colour Your Memories event at the Stettler Funeral Home on Wednesday, July 16.
“We like to have them come, we have a balloon release that allows people to either say hello, some say goodbye, some say see you later, some say I miss you,” said organizer Dean Ross. “It’s each to their own…some still find it hard where they can’t come and do that. It’s just a way we can reach out to everybody that’s here and offer something in a non-judgmental atmosphere, and it allows them to grieve.”
Those wishing to memorialize their loved ones gathered at the funeral home to talk, have something to eat, and write notes to their deceased loved ones. At 6:30 p.m., they gathered outside, some with multiple balloons, and as a song played in the background, released their balloons into the air. The event is the second one, and Ross plans to continue it annually.
“We just felt that there needed to be something midyear, something summer-oriented, where they could come and have a little bite to eat, a little bit of fellowship, and have nothing really structured; just a nice evening where people can reflect,” Ross said.
The attendees watched the balloons float away, and then went back inside to socialize more.
“My hope is that it’s one more step in dealing with their own grief,” Ross said. “I think sometimes as a society, we tend to think grief takes care of itself, and sometimes we’re not fair to ourselves. I hope that everyone walks away from here feeling a little bit better that they’ve made one more baby step in their road to grief.”