A book reading took place in Yellowknife Public Library (YPL)’s meeting room on May 26.
Dina Bell-Laroche’s new book, Grief Unleashed, was inspired by her own experience of losing her sister, Tracy, to cancer 22 years ago.
She said that for the first decade after her sister Tracy’s death, she was busy raising her children and growing her career, and did not give herself enough time to grieve. It was only later that she started to immerse herself in what had happened to her by reading her mother’s journals and going back to school to study grief and loss.
“It so resonates because what I found in my first stage of grief, I couldn’t pick up the pen,” said Bell-Laroche. “It’s emotional to even talk about this, and so it was only seven years after she died that I really started to immerse myself in what was happening to me. I did so by reading all of my mom’s journals that she had kept after Tracy was diagnosed with cancer.”
She said that her book is organized into five chapters that detail her journey of grief and healing, and offer insights and resources for others who are bereaved or want to help someone who is.
“It helps us understand that loss is a universal human condition that we will all experience,” she said. “Loss, like the death of someone you care about, it can be complicated. It can also be loss related to the shattering of a dream. It could also be the loss of a relationship, people who are divorced, it could be the loss of territory when you’re displaced.”
She also said that grief can be complicated by factors such as trauma, stigma, or disenfrachisement.
The book invites readers to reimagine a new relationship with loss, and to become companions of each other when life goes sideways.
“My book is a way for people to maybe make sense of their inner experience,” she said. “And, hopefully, help them connect to themselves, and maybe relate to others as well, and learn how we can better companion each other when life goes sideways.”
She said that companionship means to be present and witness each other’s pain, without trying to fix it or offer platitudes, and help us connect to ourselves, to others and to nature, which is where she found her healing.
Though this was not her first time being in Yellowknife, this was the first time she has ever hosted a book reading.