Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Let us share compassion.


I want to write of something else, I want to find ‘the normal’, but I don’t know how.

I don’t know when it’s okay to move on, to change the subject. Because, no matter what I do, nothing will change what has happened. Nothing will bring back the lost. Nothing will change the course of the future for the accused.

And so, I write as tears run down my face.

I have a friend who lives on the street where it happened. Her husband just had surgery. She is at home with him for the next few days as he recovers.

The house at the corner is visible through her front window. As she sits in her living room, as she looks out over her yard, as she stands at the kitchen and pours herself a cup of coffee, she can see the house at the corner. The house where it all happened. The house where police tape still separates the yard from the neighbourhood. The house where a steady stream of cars and people pass by, some stopping to leave flowers and cards and candles at a makeshift memorial in front of the house. Some just simply driving slowly by.

Her neighbourhood is consumed by the tragedy and my heart is heavy for her.

My friend has a son who died in a motor-cycle accident. He was the same age as some of the five youth killed in this tragedy, as the suspect too.

How will she avoid seeing the pain and grief on her street? How will she be able to sleep soundly in her bed knowing that just a few houses down and just across the street this happened and that other parents and families, just like hers, have suffered an incomprehensible loss?

How will anyone on that street be able to get back to ‘normal’ when that house, that address will always be known as the ‘place where it happened’. The place where Calgary’s worst mass murder transpired?

How do they find peace amidst the sorrow and pain flowing all around and the reminders lying on the sidewalk at a makeshift memorial?

How will the parents of other young people who have been concerned about their son or daughter’s mental health rest easily tonight? How will they feel confidence in their son or daughter’s ability to make good choices?

It does not seem right nor just to simply move on today.

According to a news report, the father of the accused was out on the streets looking for his son that evening. He was concerned for his well-being, fearing his son might harm himself. Not others. Himself.

And then, the worst happened. He did, harm himself in a way that is incomprehensible. In taking five lives, he forever changed the course of his life. Forever shattered hopes and dreams and possibility.

I don’t know how to move on at the moment. I feel the need to simply stay in this space, to feel the sadness and sorrow. To let the pain wash over and through me. To let the tears flow so that they can cleanse my heavy heart.

Perhaps it is the only way I can honour those who are gone, those who are living with the pain of their missing children. Those who are lost. And those who must face the reality of the situation every moment of every day as they see the evidence on their street, or as they sift through the evidence searching for answers, or as they sit at the Easter dinner table and feel the silence in the empty seat that will never be filled by their loved one again.

It is in this way that I can be present to what others are feeling so that I can share my light, not my fear, my compassion, not my sadness.

And as I write, I remember to once again surrender all fear and fall in Love.

We cannot undo what is done. We cannot change what happened. We can only love one another, support each other and take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

And in our taking care of others, we will find hope in the pain, light in the darkness, and compassion for one-another in the sorrow as Love embraces our tears and opens our hearts to beat freely again.


Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

14 thoughts on “Let us share compassion.

  1. I cry with you Louise, and let’s allow the tears to wash us clean. You have been on my mind and in my dearest prayers and in my attempts to bring what light I can, I’ve been posting about light in times of horror. I did send you an email this morning too. With so much love to you my friend….. wishing I could help more. xo Gina


  2. Louise, My heart goes out to you. Gina’s post was so comforting. and then I saw she is with you. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing here and letting yourself feel fully. Let the energy move through you. Share what is in your mind and heart. Let these feelings be alive in you. They are life energy is a time of such tragedy, confusion and loss.
    Your presence brings light where there is darkness my friend.
    Val x


    • Thank you Val. I find the power of ‘this space’ here in cyberland so amazing — how we connect and standing together and be with one another — truly miraculous. and when we all shine our lights, the darkness moves back and only Love remains. Hugs my friend.


  3. Hi Louise,
    For each moment of sadness, I wish you a moment of comfort.
    For each hour of grief, an equal hour of peace,
    and for every tear, a wonderful memory.


  4. Thank you Louise.

    The victims assistance unit knocked on our door last night asking if we needed to talk. I thanked them for going door-to-door to check on neighbours and it was a hard thing they were doing. And then I said, “We are okay, but thanks.”

    I then turned around and looked at the house. I am a tidy person and it was a total mess. I’d made home made chicken noodle soup and was next going to make apple sauce.

    I continue to be very annoyed at the non-ending traffic, assuming many are not those paying tribute but creepy “Lookie Lou’s.” When it gets too much, we close the blinds.

    I brought soup to our elderly neighbours and then walked our dog a different route.

    I texted our three remaining children that I loved them a ton. We often feel like our son who died is a greeter in heaven, particularly for young adults who are surprised and confused by the suddenness of their death. He was one of the most welcoming young men you would ever meet on earth. I told my husband that he has greeted these five young people in the next life.

    So now, we just need to pray for strength for those in grief back here. Because… “We are not okay.” But as you well know, Louise, it is about choices. Choosing to keep moving on. Choosing to respond with compassion. Choosing hope and light.


    • Andrea, what a beautiful and moving comment — you give a look into the ripple effect of events such as these and shine a light on what is truly needed, the thing we can all do, and that is to pray for strength, compassion, hope and light. Hugs


  5. Oh my goodness what a post this really spoke to me


  6. It is hard to find even one breath of comfort in such a tragedy.
    My thoughts are with you and may others be comforted by the care and compassion you embrace.


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