Young and old alike mark community grief at growing Oak Bay memorial

Acting mayor hears from residents experiencing profound grief

The collection of flowers continues to grow beside the police tape in a quiet Oak Bay neighbourhood as the community struggles to come to terms with the loss of 6-year-old Chloe Berry and 4-year-old Aubrey Berry.

There has been a steady stream of people – some as young as three and one woman who just turned 100 – dropping off teddy bears and flowers at the Beach Drive site of the double homicide investigation.

Acting Mayor Hazel Braithwaite says many people in the community have been directly affected by this tragedy and are experiencing profound grief.

RELATED: Vigil Saturday for Oak Bay sisters killed Christmas Day

RELATED: Young victims of Oak Bay homicide were ‘lively, energetic silly girls’

Braithwaite wants the community to know there are services in place that community members can access if they are struggling with this tragedy or other matters of grief. Calling 211 or getting in touch with Victim Services are two ways to reach out if you need help.

“You would have to have known deep grief to fully understand what that woman is going through,” said 100-year-old Maisie Riddle who came to Oak Bay from Saanich to put flowers on the lawn.

“God be with her. I hope she knows that God is with her.”

The emotional impacts are felt widely as Chloe and Aubrey were a part of many social and recreational circles, including Victoria Gymnastics.

“Chloe and Aubrey were two beautiful girls that came to our gym,” said Victoria Gymnastics coach Shirley Campbell. “I just remember them always holding hands. Always looking at Mom with a big smile, happy she was beside her. Every Monday morning I looked forward to seeing little Aubrey.”

The vigil at Willows Beach this Saturday will be an opportunity for the community to come together, to hold each other, and to grieve together.

“I’d love to see everyone come and offer support to each other,” said Braithwaite. “This is so difficult for people to have to deal with. Not only the family and close friends of the young girls but also as a greater community. This is one way we can come together and hopefully help each other out with the grief that we are all feeling.”

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