Amber Gillespie

Memorial Forest: The Experience During Covid


Amber draws on her experience during COVID-19 and how the Arboretum’s Memorial Grove gave her an opportunity to escape the madness of the flu. Amber remembers when she first heard of Memorial Grove through a patient she took care of who sadly passed away. Amber visits to Memorial Grove became a frequent trip she and her family attempted to visit throughout the months.
Interview by Miriam Al Sari, HIST*3560 student, University of Guelph.

Listen to more stories:
A Place to Remember 
A Fall Wedding Under a Beautiful Sugar Maple Tree
A Magical Day



Amber Gillespie (interviewee) and Miriam Al Sari (interviewer)  

Amber: “When I heard of it was when I was working in palliative care and one of my patients who passed away, their family was talking about having a memorial put here and I remember shortly after coming here and seeing her name. So that’s how I learned about it. The first time… So it’s kind of neat…” 

Miriam: “Interesting! Yeah, it is.” 

Amber: “To me, it’s really about community.” 

Miriam: “Yeah.” 

Amber: “So you can even if you’re not a family member, you can remember those people, and it’s kind of way that everyone comes together. So it’s a neat spot.”  

Miriam: “Yeah, definitely. And besides, that, have you ever returned to the Memorial Grove or the arboretum itself?” 

Amber: “Oh yeah, so, as I mentioned to your professor. During COVID’s early days, especially when social distancing wasn’implementedis now.We would come here with my family. So, initially, just my immediate household because we felt safe here because we felt there was a lot of open space where we could get away from other people’s germs, haha. And then we would just return here. I even remember one New Year’s Day, we came here and met my mom here. So, I actually walked along this path here, and I have pictures and I can picture them walking here. It was nice too because we felt like we can keep her safe since we were distancing as well.” 

Miriam: “Yeah definitely, for sure, and uh, have you consistently come by to the arboretum?” Has it been something that is mplemented, or something to come by with your kids or relatives?” 

Amber: “Yeah, we love it here, and we come every few months. We would do a little walk-through. My son is in the daycare just over the hill here, so he, I think, kind of grew up in the arboretum. Right now, he’s even at the outdoor school, so they come here all the time and learn about nature. And, um, even he and myself come and walk along the paths. So it’s a really nice spot that we like to come to, and there are trees that are my favourite over here. It’s a nice place in Guelph to come to.”