Walking with our Grief: Finding Support Through Nature at Darkness Into Light

Posted April 24th, 2024

By: Oliver Lum

Grief takes all different forms, and the grief journey is just as unique. Within that journey, there is always a community of people who can offer compassion and support.

Losing someone to suicide is complex, challenging, and individual. With the complexity of grief, support is different for each person. People worldwide gather to walk and watch the sunrise in the annual Darkness into Light walk each year.

Darkness into Light brings together people to honour those we have lost to suicide and show support for anyone struggling right now.

Corry Chaplin, a former staff member of the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC and participant in the Darkness into Light walk, has seen firsthand how valuable these walks can be and how the symbolism they represent can be therapeutic.

“Walking in nature is important for me because grief is this wild, unpredictable journey. And it’s such an intense journey, especially suicide loss, that the only container that can hold it for me is nature. It’s almost like walking with our grief,” said Chaplin.

Loss is often accompanied by fear, and it takes time to move through the grief process. While attending a community event like this may initially feel scary, Chaplin invites others not to let fear stop them.

“I would say to honour the fear because any event or situation related to suicide loss can be challenging. Honour that and explore how it might feel to try it anyway. Those attending will find it a very safe space where you can be yourself. There’s a comfort in this type of community because we’re up against a lot in a society that can’t handle our grief,” said Chaplin.

Support is essential when experiencing grief, yet it is up to the griever to determine what will be most helpful for them. These walks are unique in that they provide an opportunity to connect with the nourishing aspects of nature while being in a community of shared experiences and collective support.

Chaplin is trained as a mindfulness teacher and grief educator and believes that those who attempt to support suicide loss survivors are well-intentioned but often fall short.

“There are a lot of old, outdated grief models, and research has shown that they’re not helpful. People want to support others in grief but often don’t know what to do or say unless they’ve been in a similar situation. Our society needs more education, more suicide loss support, and less stigma. The work of the walk is contributing to all of that,” she said.

Join the community and the Crisis Centre at the walk on May 11th,2024, at the Burnaby Rugby Club starting at 4:15 AM.

More details can be found on their website.

If you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health crisis, reach out:

National Suicide Crisis Helpline / Ligne d’aide en cas de crise de suicide

310-6789 (no area code needed)
BC Mental Health Support Line

1-800-SUICIDE / 1-800-784-2433
BC Suicide Prevention and Intervention Line

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Our Impact The topic and word "suicide" is not so scary after taking a training from the Crisis Centre of BC. I'm grateful to have been here today, and am hopeful that I can help people in the future. safeTALK participant, Agassiz