Today, I dropped my two children off to school in their hockey jerseys.
Today, I wore green, yellow and white to work.
Today, every person I met was wearing a jersey.
Today, I watched a group of students stand on the corner of a busy street with signs asking drivers to honk their horns in support of the Broncos.
Today, I drove by a house that had green and yellow ribbons hanging from the tree in the front garden.
Today, I drove behind a pick-up truck that had hockey sticks in the back with green and yellow ribbons wrapped around them.
Today, I was overcome with sadness over the loss of 16 people I had never met.
Today, I was also proud to be Canadian and proud of a country that has come together to support the families who have been impacted by a terrible tragedy.
As so many others have been impacted, I too have cried over the images on the news of the 16 beautiful people who lost their lives. I have also been reflecting on why the emotional impact of this tragedy has echoed and reverberated into my home and the hearts and homes of Canadian families. I believe that in each of the 16 people who lost their lives, we see some semblance of the people we love. In those beautiful people, we see the faces of our family and friends.
Hockey is a foundation in Canadian culture. As parents, we tie our child’s first skates. We pull the jerseys over their heads. We make sure the helmet is on safely. We’re the first to come to our child’s defence and we’re the first ones with open arms after the loss of a big game. But as those little tykes grow into teenagers, we are torn between their desire for independence and our desire to keep them close. Canadian parents know all too well the feeling of excitement as their child independently boards a team bus for an important game. And Canadian children know all too well the camaraderie that comes with being part of a team. We have all experienced these moments. And as our children climb aboard that bus, we are thinking of their future. Like them, we are filled with excitement and anticipation. Excitement and anticipation over the pursuit of their passions and the realization that they are growing up. And then in one critical moment, we are forced to confront the reality that we cannot always keep our children safe and that their dreams may never be attained. We are forced to realize that our feelings of security and excitement can be far too quickly replaced with grief and sorrow. The Humboldt Broncos’ tragedy reminds us of this. In a moment that would shake our nation, a team was gone. My heart goes out to each of the families impacted by the tragedy because I cannot fathom a world without my children in it. And yet, these families will face that horrifying reality.
As Canadians, we are trying to hold those families close to our hearts. We know how a community can rally behind a team. That’s why Canada has rallied behind the Broncos. We cry a little and we help a lot to let these families know that in their grief there are comforting arms that stretch from coast to coast. Arms to show that there is strength available when they have none.
Today and every day, remember that each moment is important. Every ballet lesson, hockey practice or violin recital is important. Every kiss goodnight, every hug, every conversation is important. Hold tight to your beautiful children and hold fast to compassion. This is what we need to stay strong. This is what we need to be strong for others.
Canadian strong is Humboldt strong.