RIS Remembers – A Moving Experience

RIS Remembers cake

Keepsake tiles

The Patient and Family Support Committee hosted a successful and moving "RIS Remembers" event Thursday, November 30th at the Solar Arts Building in Minneapolis. The focus was for people who have lost a loved one to sarcoma cancer.

The evening began with wonderful conversation and appetizers from Marino’s Deli, along with cake and other refreshments, all while listening to great background music by Matt Benassi.




Duane Arens, the owner of the Solar Arts Building gave a brief talk of the unique background of the building. Located in the Northeast Minneapolis’s Arts District, the building retains its historic charm with it’s well-worn wood and cast iron, but incorporates many modern eco-friendly characteristics, such as the solar panels (109 of them) reflected in its name.

Allison DeCamillis, the Program Director at Gilda’s Club, spoke about different ways we can deal with losing a loved one. Allison DeCamillis, the Program Director at Gilda’s Club, spoke about different ways we can deal with losing a loved one. She said that grief looks different for every person. It’s ok that we all cope with loss differently. In fact most people experience grief in a cyclical fashion. The five stages of grief defined by Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler are denial,anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

DeCamillis said that those grieving experience those different emotions during various times in their lives and grieving doesn’t typically happen in a nice tidy fashion. For instance, we may be accepting of the loss one day and then feel lonely and depressed for our loved one the next day. The hard edges of grief can soften over time but we usually miss our deceased loved ones for a lifetime. Big events like holidays and birthdays can bring back our feelings of loss and loneliness for our loved ones. DeCamillis shared her personal story of losing her father as a young girl. She said losing her dad at such a young age influenced her to want to help others experiencing loss and that led her to become a counselor.

After DeCamillis’ touching speech many attendees spoke about their own personal stories of loss. Stories of loss included losing a child, a parent, a spouse and a boyfriend. The relaxing atmosphere during the Gathering led many people to share their experiences of loss and healing.

Creating remembrance tiles

Creating Remembrance tile

To conclude the evening in an meaningful way, Kat English led attendees in creating remembrance tiles. It was a thoughtful and expressive activity that pulled together the evening of shared experiences, thinking about the ways in which we handle grief and remembering our loved ones. Everyone seemed to appreciate making something to take home with them from the evening.

Thank you to the Patient and Family Support Committee organizing team, the outstanding guest leaders, musician and to all of the participants for a wonderful gathering.