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Calgary father deals with grief by bringing people together for Christmas

A Calgary father who recently lost his 18-month-old son is working to make the holidays less lonely for people.

“(Rhett) was a really happy boy and I was really looking forward to teaching him how to skate,” said Spencer Weilermann.

Weilermann has always had a complicated relationship with the holidays.

He didn’t start celebrating Christmas until 2019 as his family doesn’t observe the occasion.

But, with the unexpected death of his son in October, Weilermann expects this Christmas to be a difficult one.

Boxing Day also marks 10 years since his grandma died.

“I’ve felt a lot of loss this year and just around Christmas as well and I know that I’m definitely not the only one,” Weilermann said.

So, he took to Reddit, inviting others who will be alone on Christmas to a holiday skate party at the Ramsay Rink.

“I grew up outside of an outdoor rink and I found that was a very safe place for myself. You know, it’s free, it doesn’t cost anything and you get to spend time outside. So, I thought ‘What a perfect way to spend it with others,’” he said.

The post has garnered more than a thousand likes and nearly 100 comments.

“It’s been just a swarm of messages and just a lot of positivity, which has been very warming,” Weilermann said.

The party starts at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day.

Weilermann will provide hot chocolate, coffee, doughnuts and other treats.

He says no one has to bring anything, however, he does encourage people to donate to YW’s Sheriff King women’s shelter, food banks and homeless shelters this holiday season if they can.

Weilermann doesn’t know how many people will show up, but hopes this will become a new tradition for many.

“Even if we have one or two people, you know, that’s a success to me,” he said with a smile.

“It’s important that we come together and spend that time together and not alone.”  

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