As life at Halifax’s Northwood long-term care facility starts to return to normal, people from around the Maritimes are reaching out to the care home to help memorialize the lives lost due to COVID-19.
The contributions are brightening the private garden at Northwood where families are meeting again for the first time in months.
Elizabeth Riddell of Indian Fields, Shelburne County, arranges silk flowers and wanted to create bouquets for each of the more than 60 families in the province who lost a member.
Northwood was home to 53 of those people, so she reached out to the care home and asked if staff could ensure the bouquets were available for all the families to take one if they wish. She said she wanted to send a message to each of the families.
“You’re not alone,” she said. “Pain is something that is shared. COVID-19 robbed families of being able to say goodbye properly. They were robbed the ability to be by the sides of loved ones.”
Riddell and her husband lost her father-in-law, Brian J. Riddell, a year ago when he died in British Columbia. They were unable to be with him for his last days.
Riddell arranged all of the flowers differently, so families could view them all and pick one that reflected the uniqueness of their loved one.
“If there was one that was full of oranges to say they loved fall,” she said. “Or if there was one that was just a wee little bit sparkly, it may have been the glitz and glamour of someone who loved the glitz and glamour.”
The arrangements are made of silk to look as realistic as possible. They will last between four to six months. There are also arrangements meant for families of people who died outside of Northwood.