Angela Hollander and Lisa Smith participated in the second annual 100 Mile Hospice Winter Walk last year. The walk provides people a chance to mourn for lost loved ones. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Angela Hollander and Lisa Smith participated in the second annual 100 Mile Hospice Winter Walk last year. The walk provides people a chance to mourn for lost loved ones. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Hospice to hold annual Winter Walk this weekend

The entire community is invited to attend

Debra MacLean will be thinking of her daughter Tanara Goeson at this weekend’s Hospice Winter Walk.

It will be her third walk in memory of her daughter, who died a few weeks before the inaugural “mourning ritual” in 2021. MacLean attended that walk with her grandchildren, Lucas and Rylan, leaving notes and offerings to Goeson in paper bags along the trail at 100 Mile Marsh.

“It was really comforting, and because it was just after I lost my daughter, I brought my two grandsons with me because they had lost their mom. They put little notes in the buckets to go up to Heaven with her,” MacLean said. “That was their way of communicating with her. It’s therapeutic by putting that note in the bucket, that’s how I feel.”

Sarah Smith, 100 Mile District Hospice Palliative Care Society’s bereavement coordinator, said she expects 200 people to attend the annual walk, slated for Saturday, Jan. 28 from 3-7 p.m. The way will be lit with electric candles placed inside the paper bags. Participants can again leave letters to their departed loved ones or other offerings in the paper bags, which will be burnt at the end of the night, keeping their contents confidential.

“It gives them a time and place to pay tribute to the deceased people in our lives in a personal way,” said Smith, who came up with the idea. “It’s intended to be a place of reflection that invites memories and makes you think about your loved one.

“Doing that work of mourning and writing with intention is part of healing. The grief journey is small and difficult and sometimes we just need a safe place and ritual to help us along.”

Smith said she hopes more people will come out.

“I’m proud of everyone who can do it and it’s OK if you can’t, if you’re just not ready,” she said. “You pick and choose what works for you but someday you’ll find something you resonate with and it will make all the difference.”

MacLean plans to attend this year’s walk with husband Rod Dillman, who walks in memory of his son Travis, and encouraged others to join them.

“It feels good to go,” she said. “Hospice doing this is a great thing for our community and I wish more people could experience it. It’s beautiful.”



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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Annie McKave deposits a note into a bag containing an electric candle at last year’s 100 Mile Hospice Winter Walk. McKave said she was walking to remember several friends who passed away in 2021. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)

Annie McKave deposits a note into a bag containing an electric candle at last year’s 100 Mile Hospice Winter Walk. McKave said she was walking to remember several friends who passed away in 2021. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)