Spreading compassion

To a compassionate Colleen Myrol, for bravely stepping into the public’s eye this week to share her grief, and promote the need for a central network that offers help for those coming to grips with the loss of a loved one.

To a compassionate Colleen Myrol, for bravely stepping into the public’s eye this week to share her grief, and promote the need for a central network that offers help for those coming to grips with the loss of a loved one.

A death in the family, or within a close circle of friends or co-workers, or perhaps even a neighbour, is inevitable. But when the inevitable happens, no matter how prepared, those grieving will need support.

In March of 2005, the Myrol family learned their son Brock was one of four Mounties shot dead in Mayerthorpe.

It was like living with an amputation, Myrol said at news conference on Wednesday to outline the need for increased bereavement support in this area.

“Part of me is gone.” she said. “I am not the same person I used to be. I am forever changed.”

Myrol was commenting on a 16-month project by the Red Deer office of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Red Deer Hospice Society, to assess the bereavement needs of this region. The findings: More bereavement support is needed, which must be co-ordinated across the region; available at all hours; and be of low or little cost.

Myrol knows the importance of bereavement support. While participating in support groups after her son’s death, she further recognized the need to offer more to those who need a hug, a comforting word, or a shoulder to cry on when the inevitable happens.

“We need to offer resources for professionals and volunteers to assist them (the grieving) so they can help others with the grief process,” said Myrol.

“In our western culture when it comes to death, we flounder, hide, ignore and deny its impact on the lives of our family, friends and community,” she said. “We need to take grief out of the closet and give grief the respect and reverence and education it deserves.”

Well said.

To the anonymous donor who came to the help of physically disabled man, whose mode of transportation was a tricycle.

Don Melvin’s trike was stolen near the end of November from outside his apartment near 48th Avenue and 55th Street. The culprit(s) cut the cable securing his blue Parklane adult trike.

Melvin has cerebral palsy and used the tricycle to exercise his legs.

There are things to be said about kicking a person when they are down. “Cowardly act” comes to mind. It’s difficult to fathom the mindset of someone who would kick a disabled person by stealing something so vital to a person’s well-being.

After Melvin’s plight was made public, an anonymous guardian angel stepped forward and paid to replace the trike.

He got the good news on Thursday from Bentley Cycle owner Grant Patton, who assured Melvin the trike will be an exact replica of the one stolen.

“I think it’s pretty good,” said Melvin, of the donation. “I’ve got tears in my eyes right now. All I can say (to the donor) is thank you very much. . . . Thank you so much for helping me at such a busy time of the year with Christmas coming.”

To the RCMP, emergency crews and tow truck drivers — the heroes of this early-winter blast on the highways and back roads.

The police and emergency crews have coped with endless pileups on Hwy 2 and rural roads for the past two weeks. And tow truck drivers are winching out vehicles under very dangerous conditions — adjacent to ice-slicked roads. There have been no serious injuries, a blessing given the amount of vehicles kissing the ditch.

Thanks to all those crews for keeping the traffic moving on those roads and looking after those who were stranded.

Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.

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