When nothing is ever the same again.

I am at a loss for words. I am lost in words tumbling around my mind like socks turning around and around inside a dryer. They are white, these words I cling to. I surrender. I give up. I give in.

I cannot create peace in a world of hatred. I cannot stop hatred from erupting in a world of intolerance.

On my way to a meeting yesterday, after I wrote my blog, I tune into CBC RAdio in my car and there it was, this breaking news story that would catapult my country into fear, dismay, uncertainty.

“Nothing will ever be the same,” reads one headline this morning. And I am afraid it is true.

Terror has struck home.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a 24 year old reservist standing guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Ottawa, our capital, is gunned down in broad daylight by a fellow Canadian. A 32 year old man who allegedly than ran into the Centre Block of Parliament and started firing. A gun battle ensued and he is shot dead.

It is the second day that a member of Canada’s armed forces is killed by reported supporters of ISIL. It is the second act of terror on our soil this week.

And nothing will ever be the same again.

Yet, my day continues on as planned. A presentation for the United Way. A meeting with the Emcee for the fundraiser I am part of planning for the Foundation I work for. It will be tonight.

And in between busy day happenings, my eldest daughter calls to tell me that one of her friends just had a baby and another, who works in the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, has spent the morning lying on the floor of her office.

I am elated about her friend’s baby but have not heard anything further on the news story from this morning. I do not make the connection.

And my daughter becomes upset by my insensitivity. Can I not see how this has changed? Everything. How can I blythely talk about the humorous antics of our Emcee, Bearcat Murray when her friend is terrified for her life and she is concerned about what kind of world has her other friend brought her innocent child into?

And I am reminded of that September day, 13 years ago. That day that changed everything.

I am reminded of hearing the news as I rode the elevator up to my office. How no one was working. Everyone was glued to their computer screens watching the horror unfold on the other side of the continent.

I am reminded of wanting to hold my children safe. Of leaving my office and going to my youngest daughter’s school and taking her out of class for the day. I could not imagine what the future held but I knew that in that moment, I only wanted to hold my daughters close. At the time, my eldest daughter didn’t want to leave her high school classmates. I’m okay mom, she told me when I got to the school to invite her to spend the day with her sister and me. I want to be with my friends right now, she said. We’re talking about it. It’s important.

And so, her sister and I left and enroute home, a girlfriend called in tears. She couldn’t get away from work. Will you go get my son and keep him with you, she asked? Her son is my ‘adopted son’, one of my daughters’ best friends. Of course, I tell her. And suddenly I have my 13 year old daughter and my adopted son and his best friend with me.

We eat pizza. Chatter. I do not turn on the news.

Let’s go to a matinee, I suggest and am horrified and humoured by their choice. I can’t remember the exact film but it was something like Beverly Hills Cop 2. Lots of shoot ’em up, laugh ’em out hijinks that while funny had all too surreal a connection to the events of the day.

I think I am a terrible mother. How could I let these youth see such gratuitous violence on a day when everything was changing, never to be the same again.

And there’s the thing.

Yes, our innocence, our naive belief that terror in the world could not come home to roost was torn apart that day.

But what didn’t change, what can never change, is our capacity as human beings to change it, stop it, create better.

We are creators of war and terror.

We are creators of peace and harmony.

We can do better. We must do better if things are to change for my daughter’s friend’s baby who was born yesterday into a world that is no different than the world was the day before. It is just our understanding of what we are capable of that has changed.

And we are capable of better.

We are capable of peace.

We deserve it. All of us. Every single human being on this planet we share called earth.


19 thoughts on “When nothing is ever the same again.”

  1. We ARE capapble of better. I understand how you captured so brilliantly your thoughts, like socks tumbling in a dryer. And those feelings make me cry. I know them well. When you look around after something horrible has happened and life goes on in other places right around the corner from us. You wonder HOW? WHY? Don’t you know? Don’t you care? As other people fumble around with their lives as usual. I remember that feeling as I passed the two men joking outside of the hospital where my dad was brought in after his heart attack. I understood that those men had to be the ones who brought my dad in. He must be okay if they are laughing. I mean, how could you laugh if you just lost MY DAD???!!!
    I sooo know…. people just learn to adjust. I am glad we have daughters like yours, like mine… who actually GET it. We did something right. Even when we feel we can’t do as much about things as we like. It is in raising daughters who ask questions that will change the world.
    Why am I crying as I click post comment? Because I am you. You are me. Our daughters are us.
    I love you my friend.


    1. “Because I am you. You are me. Our daughters are us.
      I love you my friend.”

      thank you.

      You speak such beautiful truth Di and touch my heart. I love you too. — Because I am you. You are me. Our daughters are us.


  2. LG

    perhaps the one thing WE ARE all capable of – is being peaceful

    not to dumb it down – but that is what we can each do

    collectively, is it that simple? to just get 7 billion people to be peaceful?

    sadly, it seems man’s war-battle-combative nature has infected the planet long before our time, perhaps in our collective DNA, perhaps behaviour that needs to be unlearned

    even Ghandi’s great times saw blood spilled, including his own

    we are sad, our Canadian polyanna days are gone



  3. You’ve expressed what Canadians everywhere are trying to wrap their heads around. Beautiful post, Louise. I can only sum it up to we’ve reached the ‘end of the innocence’ at least that’s how it feels. Fear is the opposite of love and it’s a tactic used by these extremists. Ultimately though, we are all more powerful than they are. Love always wins.


  4. Thank you for giving me a moment in the middle of the morning to ponder both the horror and the beauty we are capable of. I’m teaching a creative writing workshop for teens this afternoon in which we will seek to create patterns from chaos. You’re story inspires me to remember my purpose: creation, not destruction. And sometimes, because we must, creation from destruction. Thank you for doing your part in that, too.


  5. Dear Louise,
    When the Trade Towers in New York were destroyed by our own planes, I was teaching class at a middle school in Stamford, Connecticut. A number of our students’ parents and former students of mine, worked in the towers. That was a day I will never, although I have wished I could, forget. School was ended early and students were released to their homes, with hopes that their family members were OK. The word came in quietly from our main office so as not to unduly frighten the children. They would know soon enough the circumstances for the early release. The days that followed were the strangest I’ve ever experienced in our country. The skies were silent and empty of commercial aircraft. People walked about silently and pensive. A country in mourning. Periodically a jet fighter(whether our own or Canadian) would fly overhead, giving one a sense of security, camaraderie and a patriotic surge in one’s veins.

    You are correct; from that day forward nothing would be the same. The terrorists have since then accomplished their goal- to use fear as a weapon.But, how you carried out your day was not inappropriate and commendable. For the best counter action to fear is faith. Continuing normal activities supported by common sense is what will win the day against this evil. Allow our governments to do their duty which is to protect and preserve the welfare of its people. And allow us to do our duty – stand fast.

    Don’t be frightened, when push comes to shove, we will stand with you.


  6. No, Canada is not immune to hatred or ignorance; all human beings carry the capacity for both good and evil; and it does no one any good if we throw more oil on the fire of hatred.
    Difficult as it may be, only love can neutralise the evil in this world and help prevent its spread. Pax vobiscum. Diana sent me.


  7. Thank you everyone for your beautiful and kind words. Kindness is stronger than hatred. Love is the antidote for evil.

    I am coaching at Choices Seminars this weekend — and do not have time to reply individually — but I will. I am so grateful for your loving kindness and words of support.

    Blessings and Light. Let us be the peacemakers of the world.


  8. Dear Louise, After having time to think about the two Incidents this week, I feel – now more than ever – that we of positive thought MUST carry on, in spite of Acts of Insanity… Let our blanket of Loving Kindness suffocate the flames of Hatred; as, without fuel to feed the fire, without having oxygen for it breathe; Evil will simply suffocate under the sheer weight of good acts done by those who choose to do The Right Thing.
    Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that we lay down in traffic; just looking for Balance (and “Like breeds like.”)


  9. I want to believe as you do, Louise, that we can be – as Mahatma Gandhi said – the change we want to see in the world. Years before the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, I debated in 1989 whether we should go thru with our plans to visit London. Just a few months earlier, a bomb tore apart a Pan Am flight (103, I believe) over Lockerbie, Scotland just days before Christmas.

    Of four in our family, our eldest daughter decided she didn’t want to go. Part of it had to do with that tragedy that claimed many lives including those from our community and students at Syracuse University. I didn’t want to be held hostage to fears of what terrorists might do and off we went.

    Each time terror strikes, it hurts our hearts and makes us wonder how any one can cause evil to folks they don’t know. I admire your positive energy and mourn your country’s loss.


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