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.