On a peaceful Sunday, the city of London stood in unison, commemorating World Suicide Prevention Day. Victoria Park served as the heart of this heartfelt tribute as about 60 people assembled to participate in the annual event, Lifting the Silence Walk.
The air carried a solemn weight as the names of those who had tragically taken their own lives echoed out, being read aloud in a poignant display of remembrance. On this quiet Sunday, September 10, 2023, London sought not only to remember those lost but also to look forward with hope and solidarity.
Part of this meaningful ceremony included an Indigenous smudging ritual, a tangible way to cleanse the gathering of sorrow and despair. Those present then walked collectively around Victoria Park. Each step was a dedication and an honour to the loved ones they had lost, a physical testament to their enduring memory.
Elora Watson served as one of the vanguards of change, sitting on the council for Suicide Prevention Middlesex-London. She held strong opinions about the event, viewing it as a platform for healing and spreading awareness. Watson’s words unmasked the isolation experienced by many, those grappling with the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide and those wrestling with suicidal thoughts themselves.
“Often, we find ourselves solitary in our experience,” Watson voiced her sentiment. “Gathering together gives us the chance to not only grieve over the lives we’ve lost, but also to pay tribute and celebrate them. It’s indeed a special opportunity.”
Indeed, World Suicide Prevention Day became a beacon, radiating not only remembrance but also connection and hope. As the people of London came together, they simultaneously lifted the veil of silence around suicide, fostering an environment of shared understanding, empathy, and resilience.