ORA NewsletterApril 2018

“And the day came when the pain of remaining tight in a bud
was greater than the risk it took to open”
- Anais Nin

A New Life in Hope...

Welcome to the inaugural issue of our monthly newsletter for the ORA Loss & Living Program, dedicated to helping individuals and groups move through grief and loss in order to lead full—and fulfilling—lives. This includes exploration into ways of creating space for conversations around grief, sharing basic information and reassurance about loss, grief and change in a non-threatening, participative way, with sensitivity to those in challenging situations.

ORA is a Maori word which means “life.”  The ORA Loss & Living Program is about piecing broken fragments together to renew life.

Each month, the ORA newsletter will offer resources for dealing with grief and loss, highlight upcoming or ongoing projects and events and profile individuals and community partners who share ORA's mission.

Upcoming ORA Events

Upcoming Workshop

Making Peace with Regret

Regret is an emotion that most of us experience from time to time; in this interactive workshop, we will share some ways of acknowledging and releasing our regrets in order to move forward in peace.

Saturday, May 12th from 1 pm to 3 pm
Ste. Genevieve United Church
4697 boulevard Saint-Jean, Dollard-des-Ormeaux

or phone 514-626-4795 for more information

*Please note we will never allow financial hardship to be an obstacle to participation
Click here to register

Ongoing ORA Activities and Events

Before I Die

Before I Die is a global community art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public. The original wall was created on an abandoned house by Cindy Chang in the neighborhood of New Orleans after she lost someone she loved. Since then, passionate people have created walls in their own communities and there are now over 2,000 walls in over 35 languages and over 70 countries. Before I Die has been featured on NBC, CNN, TED, and Oprah Magazine. Each Before I Die wall is created and maintained by an individual or group of people who are passionate about creating a space for their community to share with one another. 

ORA's partners in developing and sharing the Before I Die project in 2017 included: 
Voluntas Commemoration

Montreal City Mission
St-James United Church
Rendez-Vous Youth Forum 2017
St-Luke’s Parish

(Learn more about the global project at

Contact us for more info about the "Before I Die/Avant de Mourir" wall

ORA Loss & Living workshops

ORA Loss & Living workshops were developed with the intention of exploring and opening up conversations about grief and loss in a supportive and safe environment. Through various activities, participants are invited to share words and images that represent their experience of loss and grief. Discussions about the journey of grief and strategies for discovering hope are also an integral part of the process. Workshops were offered to a number of diverse groups in 2017, and we plan to expand and deepen our offering in 2018.

Contact us for more info about ORA Loss & Living workshops

Book Reviews

The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading
By Anne Gisleson

In addition to living through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, this New Orleans author also survived the suicides of her two youngest (twin) sisters and the illness and death of her father, a successful lawyer with a pro bono client on Death Row. Part of her response was to co-create a new intellectual and emotional adventure: The Existential Crisis Reading Group (aka the Futilitarians). This twelve-month journey offers a road map to understanding some of the zones of loss and grief we may encounter, including balancing our lives between the “Trivial and Tragic Planes” and living through the “Metaphysical Hangover”. Punctuated by the raw emotions of personal reminiscences, and tempered by insightful discussions of existential literature throughout the ages, the story shines with a uniquely Southern juxtaposition of beauty and decay, culminating in hope.

ISBN# 978-0-316-39390-4
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy
By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Grief is no respecter of age, status or situation. This personal memoir by Sheryl Sandberg (CEO of Facebook and author of “Lean In”, a best-selling guidebook for women in business) is filled with love and sorrow, devastation and hope, in response to the untimely death of her husband and father of her young children. Written in partnership with Adam Grant, psychologist and professor at Wharton, the book also offers insight and encouragement for building resilience in personal, professional, community and global relationships in response to myriad forms of loss and grief, including bereavement: by being able to talk about the tough stuff, by empowering ourselves and others to forgive and accept failure as a learning experience, and in time, by embracing post-traumatic growth in its many forms in order to live with joy again.

NOTE: The author also shares that, in addition to the compassionate culture of her workplace at Facebook, the stories and memories shared on her husband’s Facebook profile after his death allowed his loved ones to know more about how his life had touched others.

ISBN# 9781524732684
The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart: An Emotional and Spiritual Handbook
By Daphne Rose Kingma
Crisis is no stranger to any of us; in this little gem of a guidebook, the author offers wise and practical advice on finding our path through the wilderness. Liberally seasoned with examples of different kinds of loss, the book expands on each of the “ten things” with insight, compassion and straight talk about doing what we need to do to move forward. Each chapter starts with a full page reminder:  “If you want to get through this crisis, you will have to…”
  • Cry your heart out
  • Face your defaults
  • Do something different
  • Let go
  • Remember who you’ve always been
  • Persist
  • Integrate your loss
  • Live simply
  • Go where the love is
  • Live in the light of the spirit
ISBN# 978-1-57731-698-5
Got a suggestion for a good book on grief/loss? Click here to share
Would you like to read/review books for ORA? Click here to volunteer

Community Activities and Events


Educator and humorist Ellen B. Gélinas helps you understand the choices you make and shares how to create positive relationship habits. By becoming aware of the internal motivation for your behaviour, you can gain control of your life.

This 6-hour workshop (two 3-hour sessions) is based on Choice Theory: A new psychology of personal freedom by Dr. William Glasser. The program has been offered by Pointe Claire Public Library on four separate occasions and will be offered again on May 2 and 9, with two follow-up sessions on May 23 and 30. Possible dates for the fall are under discussion (possibly November).

The cost is $10 (free for Pointe-Claire library members with MULTI-card). Registration required. Maximum of 20 participants.

For more information: Pointe Claire Library
West Island Families Forum Poster

Grandir Ensemble/Growing Together and Families 1,2,3 Go! has invited community organizations, schools, health services, municipalities, childcare services and field workers to come together to find solutions to improve the quality of life of families living in the area as they host the first West Island Families Forum. This event will focus on how to reach and serve families in vulnerable situations.

If you have ideas you would like to share, please email or call 514-626-4795.

Community Resources

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

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

Copyright © 2018 ORA Loss & Living Program / Programme Perte & Vivre, All rights reserved.

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