I'm not sure I can really do justice to what I have experienced over the last few weeks. I am sensitive to the privacy the families and communities need to grieve. I have felt every emotion: from the initial shock of hearing about the accident involving the Humboldt Broncos and others, to the grief of finding out the number of lives lost, to the anger over how something so senseless could occur, to the love I have felt witnessing the very best of humanity in the worst of times.
When the accident happened, I thought to myself, "I must do something, these are my people, this is my province and these are our sons and daughter!" I was pulled in the strongest way to this incident. I have not thought of anything else since. I think millions of people felt similarly, which is why we see jerseys and sticks displayed around the world.
The last 10 days have been a blur, and I had the privilege to spend most of them with country musician Paul Brandt, who I can say is one of the finest I've ever met. The night of the accident, he reached out to me and asked me for updates, and what he could do to help. In the midst of launching a new album, Brandt wanted to make sure he took the time to honour the families now, and in the years to come.
So, the two of us first set off to Toronto to dedicate a song to the community, then to Saskatoon, Edmonton and Humboldt. We attended funerals for some of the fallen teammates and staff, and did our best to comfort everyone we could, from grieving mothers and wives to schoolkids and hockey teams. We visited the boys in the hospital who still need so much healing, and generally did our best to bring hope.
I've never cried so many tears in my life, and I hope I'll never have to witness and experience grief on this level ever again. However, pursuing a career in emergency medicine, something tells me I'm in for more.
As a mom of an 18-year-old son, it has torn me apart to look in the eyes of parents who have lost their sons of the same age. The pain is so intense and piercing for me, so I can't imagine what they're going through.
Through all that I've witnessed over these past few weeks, I've also truly seen the best of humanity. The Warford family, who lost their billet son Evan Thomas, opened their home to us despite their own grief, and helped us navigate the community's needs. I got to witness Brandt, Faith Schueler, CrossRoads Church band and my hometown brothers, the Hunter Brothers, swallow their tears and sing their hearts out in front of thousands of grief stricken folks. I witnessed the power and beauty that music brings. When words won't do anything justice, just let them sing!
We watched teammates get reunited with each other, we witnessed grown men crying and falling into each other's arms, and I held my own son as he wept in front of a jam-packed arena and later told me how much this has impacted his life.
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It 's been a privilege to pay tribute to lives well lived yet cut too short, and to walk alongside Humboldt Broncos and their families in the worst imaginable time of their lives. It's also been amazing to bear witness to the outpouring of love and support that has come in from around the world. May this be a reminder to all of us moving forward in our own lives that love is incredibly powerful. May we also continue to stand strong for those grieving not just now, but when the silence and loneliness sets in and they need us the most.
We never get over things like this; we just get through them. A piece of our hearts are broken off and will never heal, but maybe that's what serves to remind us what's important in life. I'm profoundly changed by this experience, and am grateful to everyone for the outpouring of love and support you have shown. The hockey family and this country are special, and I'm proud to be a part of both.
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