ORA NewsletterMay 2018

Reflecting on the Newness of Spring

The crocuses have already come and gone, but all sorts of green sprouts are still pushing their way through the dark soil of the garden and reaching towards the sunshine. Plump little buds are starting to blossom on dry branches, with the promise of more beauty to come. 

ORA Loss & Living continues to germinate ideas for resources to help those who are struggling through dark times. These new resources include our growing lending library/reading list (see list of books by title or by author), as well as seeds for more workshops being planted now, with the hope that they will bear nourishing fruits in the autumn.

What happened this month with ORA?

Making Peace with Regret workshop (May 12, 2018)
Thanks to all the participants who shared their wisdom with us and each other; the new butterflies on our back wall describe some of the emotions and learnings of the day.
West Island Family Forum (May 23, 2018)
Several members of ORA's advisory committee participated in this event organized by Grandir Ensemble/ Growing Together and Families 1,2,3 Go! An atmosphere of collaboration and commitment inspired the presentations and conversations about how to better serve families at risk in our community. 
(Photo courtesy of Martha Randy, Family and Youth Ministries Coordinator at Cedar Park United Church)

What's coming next for ORA?

suggestion box

In Progress

We have a selection of new workshops in development (in addition to our current workshops and resources). The schedule for upcoming fall and winter events is still in the planning stages and will be posted in the June issue of the ORA newsletter.

NOTE: If your group or organization is interested in scheduling a workshop, please contact Judy at or leave a message at 514-626-4795 so we can discuss the specific needs of your group and customize the content accordingly.

Current Workshops / Resources 

  • Loss & Living: Introductory
  • Perte & Vivre : Introduction (en français)
  • Loss & Living: Churches in Transition
  • Loss & Living: LGBTQ
  • Loss & Living: Making Peace with Regret
  • portable Before I Die/Avant de Mourir chalkboard (available for groups or events)

New Workshops / Resources in Development

  • Loss & Living: Clergy
  • Loss & Living: Caregivers
  • Loss & Living: The Colours of Grief
  • Loss & Living: Appetite for Life
  • Churches in Transition (webinar for EDGE)

Book Review

The Alphabet of Grief
The Alphabet of Grief: Words to Help in Times of Sorrow
By Andrea Raynor

With reflections far beyond the scope of a simple dictionary, this book offers thoughtful and compassionate insights into many of the painful realities—and healing possibilities—related to bereavement, further inviting the reader to engage in a personal journey towards full living through grief with a simple meditation and affirmation at the end of each chapter. 

I found the chapter based on the letter “Q” (Quilt) especially moving, as the author shared a story about community coming together after the terrible tragedy of the school shootings at Sandy Hook. On the heels of a horrific event that left hearts in tatters, mothers found tangible ways of comforting other mothers, working together to find and piece together scraps of goodness and beauty to share.

The author, a United Methodist minister and hospice spiritual counselor, served as a chaplain to the morgue at Ground Zero after the September 11th terrorist attacks and continues to serve as chaplain to the Rye Fire Department in New York state. Her reflections, based on personal experience and years of journeying with the grieving, share honest acknowledgments of the painful realities of loss, coupled with insights into the nature of hope and love that continue beyond loss into “the daunting and sometimes mysterious journey of living.”

ISBN# 978-0-7352-9029-7

Click here for complete ORA Resource Library List (sorted by title)
Click here to share your suggestions for other books on grief/loss

Opportunities in our Community


An invitation to make a difference

We are looking for volunteers to come and visit with some of our residents (Centre d'Hébergement Denis Benjamin Viger, located in Ile Bizard) as well as helping out at some of our activities. We are recruiting caring and compassionate volunteers who would like to make a difference in the community and enjoy working with seniors. We offer a flexible schedule and as little as an hour or two per week is needed to visit a resident or to help out with our recreational activities!

Thank you for your help. Please don't hesitate to call me if you would like some more information.

Elizabeth Bruineman
514-620-6310 ext. 3734

 Resources in our Community

This month, in alignment with ORA's recent participation in the West Island Family Forum, we are sharing some Facebook links to local community resources for young families and/or children experiencing loss.
  • Infant and Pregnancy Loss Support Network: Death is inevitable and something we all must face, but what about when life hasn’t even begun? For birth parents, the news of a loss can be so traumatizing that it can leave them grieving from the moment they are told. Some are told to come back tomorrow to induce labour, others can have a miscarriage at home, some find their little one never to wake, calling it sudden infant death syndrome and others need to make a choice to abort when they feel no other option is available. All of the above scenarios happen far too often. Statistics show that 1in 4 pregnancies result in a loss. The Home Hospice Association of Canada offers birthing parents an opportunity to gain support and work with an Infant and Pregnancy Loss Doula. 
  • Camp Erin Montreal: Camp Erin® Montreal brings hope into the lives of bereaved children and teens by providing a safe environment to share their story, process their grief in healthy ways, and honour the memory of the person who died. Led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, Camp Erin® Montreal provides a unique opportunity for peer bonding for children and teens facing similar life circumstances. This weekend-long overnight experience is filled with traditional, fun camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support.
Experiencing grief and loss can cause a "perfect storm" of emotions and create issues which may require a deeper level of support, beyond the scope of ORA's mandate. A wide variety of support services are offered by other associations and organizations in our local community; please download the attached community network guide to learn more about other resources that may be helpful.
Download community network guide

Inspiration / Reflection

TED Talk (video)

Alyssa Monks: How Loss Helped One Artist Find Beauty in Imperfection

Click here to watch video

Interested in finding out more?

For information about upcoming events and new community partnerships and resources, you can follow us on Facebook, peruse our web page or subscribe to our newsletter. 

If you would like to schedule an event for your group or discuss ideas about new ways to share hope and live fully through loss and grief, please contact Judy Coffin (ORA Program Coordinator) at

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ORA Loss & Living Program is grateful for financial assistance received from the Good Samaritan Fund, Erskine American Fund, EDGE's Chasing the Spirit and Embracing the Spirit, as well as personal donations.
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