Updated: Mar 20, 2020
In Loving Memory of Delaine Lambert-English
Authored by: Brigitte Benning
March 17, 2020
One of our strongest, brightest, most influential community members left this earth two weeks ago. Since that day, there has been a ripple of heart ache throughout Northern Alberta. Our community is grieving, confused, and somewhat lost.
While I know that wounds are fresh, and healing takes time, I feel a responsibility to share a very important message regarding mental illness and suicide. I feel a desire to reach out to every person affected, give them a hug, and ask them to please keep fighting. To, during this time of darkness, find hope.
The best way I know how to do this is through the social movement #Hugasister and community website T8GP. That is because of what these two platforms stand for, and the far reach they have - a reach that we need right now.
There are many people that knew of Delaine who are shook by this loss. They did not know her full story, but because she was such a magical and kind person, they had a real genuine connection with her. Whether it was meeting her once, watching her perform, or just simply hearing about her life. They felt a connection with her.
These people related to Delaine. They saw themselves in her gifts, in her resilience, in her struggles. They saw her as an inspiration, a shining light through the darkness, and as a story to follow. This was always well-deserved. Delaine was a strong, shining leader who shared her heart openly.
But as many have shared with me, when someone you feel this way about dies by suicide it is extremely unsettling. Especially for those who have dealt with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and issues with mental health. I know that some are feeling shook. They see themselves in someone who died by suicide, and it makes them question their own journey.
To those people, I ask you to please understand that amidst a very happy life full of love, Delaine dealt with very complicated mental health issues. It is not my story to share, but I want you to know that she was fighting a very big battle. And I can’t speak for her, but I know her, and I know that she would not want anyone to see this part of her story as a path to follow. She did not want people to die by suicide.
She wanted us to live, to find hope, to overcome the battles in our own lives, to continue the amazing work she started, to carry forward her kindness, compassion, advocacy and laughter. To care for each other, to hug each other, to feel loved, and to keep fighting. And if you believe in any sort of after life, I believe she will help us on that journey.
That is also what I want, and what our community needs. We need people to find hope, and raise it up until it is brighter than the darkness. We need torches and torches and torches lighting the way. We need you.
So please, reach out to your family, connect with friends, make new friends, find professional help, take care of your spirit, and find hope.
For our friend, for her family, for our community, find hope.
For yourself, choose hope.
Hope For Wellness: If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, the Hope for a Wellness Helpline offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca.
We Matter: We Matter is a place to help indigenous youth get through hard times, whether you need support yourself or want to support someone you know. Visit wemattercampaign.org to watch hundreds more VIDEOS from other young people, role models, aunties, and uncles! You can also add your voice to the #WeMatterCampaign and help spread HOPE!
ICAT: Alberta Health Services, Integrated Crisis Access Team (AHS ICAT) is a mental health & addictions group of professionals who help all ages with urgent and non-urgent mental health concerns. Stop in from 9am-4:00pm Monday-Friday on the third floor of the Aberdeen Centre located at 9728 101 Avenue in Grande Prairie. You can also call 587-259-5513 where you can leave a detailed message, and someone will get back to you.