Swan song festival to commemorate loved ones during COVID
With COVID-19 still preventing people from gathering for funerals and other large gatherings, a local organization is hoping to reconnect people in a special way for the celebration of lost loved ones. Titled as a Swan Song Festival, the ceremony invites people to commemorative the lives of a lost loved one by crafting boats with ecological materials and floating them away in a nearby or meaningful body of water with a lit candle on top.
Presented by Community Deathcare Québec, this year’s event will mark the organization’s second annual Swan Song Festival. But this time, it will be virtual. According to one of the organization’s representatives Jen Boyes-Manseau, last year’s event included a get-together with a sit-down feast and included people presenting personalized “Swan Songs” for their deceased loved ones. Impossible to do the same thing because of coronavirus, she explained that the organization believed the mini-boat flotilla was the best way of safely bringing together the community to grieve during the pandemic. “Doing this very simple action, heart and hands,” Boyes-Manseau said. “Thinking of someone who has died and put that boat into the water and send our loves and know that we’re connecting with everyone doing it at the same time.” Boyes-Manseau believes gathering with family and friends to grieve a death is an essential part of life for humans, and that is has sadly been taken away by COVID-19.
Community Deathcare Québec is currently a five-person organization based in the Outaouais. Established in 2018, its mandate is educating, supporting and empowering people in their role of caring for a lost loved one; and is a chapter of the nationwide-recognized Community Deathcare Canada. “If we can be involved in lovingly caring for our people as they die and after their death is helps us in our grieving process and it helps them,” Boyes-Manseau said.