ForeverLove aids in the grieving process
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What: Forever Lover: Day of Remembering With Honor
When: Saturday, April 16, 2-6 p.m.
Where: Paepcke Auditorium, Aspen
Details and Registration: www.pathfindersforcancer.org
Aspen resident Mary Ryerson views the grieving process as an individual path that can be personal, intense and fatiguing. But today, Ryerson hopes survivors of loved ones also will come together to reflect and celebrate.
Ryerson will be one of the speakers at the second annual ForeverLove: Day of Remembering with Honor, set for 2 to 6 p.m. today at Paepcke Auditorium on the Aspen Institute campus.
“One of the things that you worry about is that their spirit will be extinguished, so it’s important to be able to keep that spirit alive in a positive, healthy way,” Ryerson said.
In July 1989, Ryerson’s son, John Casey, climbed up a hotel balcony in Denver and fell from it to his death. The 16-month-old was under the supervision of a babysitter, while Ryerson and her husband, Loren, were attending a wedding ceremony. He would have turned 28 on March 30.
The Ryerson family keeps John Casey’s spirit alive in numerous ways, but it has been a process.
“It’s so raw you can’t talk about it for a while, and then you decide, ‘I’m not going to let this loss define me,’” she said. “We had three more sons, and that’s one of the few ways we healed, but it wasn’t the only way.”
Ryerson sees today’s event as another step in the healing process.
“This valley, we just go through these horrible losses, but it’s individual, too,” she said. “I think this is an incredible opportunity for people.”
Pathfinders, in partnership with the Aspen Hope Center, Aspen Strong Foundation, Core Healing Arts, and Mind Springs Health, is putting on the event.
Last year’s inaugural ForeverLove drew about 100 participants, said Elizabeth Miller, a counselor for Pathfinders, a nonprofit that aids individuals and families who are under duress through illnesses or other setbacks.
The free event will include healing workshops and conclude with a ceremony honoring those who have died. Classes will include mediations, yoga, music therapy, and art activities for kids, teens and adults. Among the workshop leaders are Mack Bailey, Fiona Bergeron, Himat Dayvault and Kip and Robyn Hubbard.
Miller said anyone ridden with grief can attend — deceased ones’ relatives and friends or even first responders to unsettling episodes.
“We really want people to know that anybody that is impacted at all by loss can come,” she said.
Pathfinders Director Allison Daily said, “This will be a time of love, honor and celebration of lives that continue to touch us even in death.”
The agenda for ForeverLove is as follows:
• Opening — “Those Who Sow,” music by Debbie Friedman, performed by Cantor Rollin Simmons and Aspen Noise.
• Welcome — Miller and Daily.
• Speakers — Sean Jueng, Bailey and Rabbi David Segal.
• Time of Honoring — “One Voice,” music by Ruth Moody performed by Bailey, Simmons and Sarah Stevens.
• Speaker — Mary Ryerson.
• Music Therapy Song — To be written during today’s session.
• Guided Meditation — The Rev. Nicholas Vesey of the Aspen Chapel and “All Night, All Day,” arranged by Stevens and performed by Danielle Coulter and Aspen Noise.
• Closing — Comments by Bailey and “Those Who Sow,” performed by Simmons and Aspen Noise.
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