Family and friends who have experienced the loss of a child will soon have a place to gather and remember.
Planning for a Children’s Memorial Garden in St. Andrews Park at Brant and Palmerston avenues is underway. Last Thursday, members of the community were invited to come out to the park and express their thoughts and ideas about the garden during a community information session.
“Part of the reason for doing this is to get some input from people and how they feel about it,” said Heather Vollans, who has been commissioned to develop a piece of artwork for the garden. “It is meant to be a community project. We want as many people to get involved in it as possible.”
During the session, members of the community answered questions about their most treasured memories and how they feel most comforted. They were also invited to draw pictures and share ideas about what they would like to see in the garden.
Vollans and Brantford Arts Block members Aliki Mikulich and Monica Lima have already started the process by visiting local schools to gather ideas from students in Grade 3 to Grade 7.
“We spoke to them about memory, friendship and loss and invited them to express how they felt about those three things,” Vollans said. “The kids picked up on family and friends being two strong influences for them and pets was a third.”
The ideas gathered during Thursday’s session, the student sessions and future community workshops will be used to create a design for a mosaic art piece that will serve as the focal point of the memorial garden.
Community members will be invited to help Vollans create the work sometime in September.
The idea for the park was spurred following the death of eight-year-old Jared Osidacz in 2006. Osidacz was fatally stabbed by his father, Andrew Osidacz, who was later shot in a confrontation with police.
“We want to try and do something for them and for all other families who have lost a child,” said City of Brantford Coun. John Utley.
The memorial will not include any names so that it is open to anyone who wishes to reflect.
“That’s the main purpose of this memorial – it’s a place that people can come to and remember their child,” Utley said.