The recent tragedy that the Humboldt community has encountered is a stark reminder of how fragile life is.
Over 30 years ago I recall being that young excited hockey player. On our way to a game to do what we all loved to do. Little did we know that our lives would never be the same.
Being 17 and watching my teammates die, wondering why something like this could happen, lasted for over 20 years. Not being able to communicate with my parents, not knowing who lived and who died. Laying in the hospital, alone, scared, and unsure of what just happened. My heart breaks for them.
Watching the families grieve, being with the people of Swift Current and all of us in shock, is a clear memory. We did not know how to process what just took place. Being with the good people of Saskatchewan recently brought back all of those memories.
It is amazing to be whisked away to that time and place like it was yesterday. The vivid images of the chaos, a bus turned on its side, debris everywhere, and the bodies. Not knowing who was who, or what do do. The sadness for those athletes, their families, the billets, the community brings back a lot of the pain.
Dark times will follow for everyone involved. This tragedy will affect more people than can be imagined. When something like this happens the after affect is indescribable. So many questions that will go unanswered. So many emotions, so much confusion, so much sadness.
It was the love and support from family, friends, and the entire community of Swift Current that was a great support for us as we tried to figure out how something like this could happen. We cried together, we felt the loss, we felt the love, and that made in tolerable.
This one is different though. A sign of the times. My teammates and I rushed to Humboldt as fast as we could. We saw the bigger picture of what had just occurred. It was astonishing to see and feel the support from around the World. The constant influx of social media, from China to Australia. From dignitaries and Presidents. This tragedy was felt around the World. I know that the love and support was received. I know the good people of Saskatchewan felt it. I know that has helped with the initial shock.
The darkness of this tragedy is coming. When the press subsides, when the story fades and the families and community are left alone, the darkness will come. I remember sitting in my room, lying there and my emotions in control, it was the hardest part of the tragedy. Being left alone to try and make sense of it all was when the pain was the greatest.
The darkness will be there for a long time. It will change their lives forever. It is with love and time that the wounds will heal. It will never go away, it will be a part of them for the rest of their lives.
If you have someone who was affected, watch them closely. They can become sullen, they can become very emotional. They will say everything is OK, but I know from personal experience, for most it is not. Get them to talk about it, help them find the proper help. I know I saw a psychologist and it did not fit. I said I cannot do this, I did not have any more courage to do the most difficult thing, to relive it. This is where the love and support are critical. You have to keep trying to get them to deal with it. It is by going through the darkness that the light will start to come again.
They will grow strong again, they will become an inspiration to others. They will overcome as people do. It will give them strength that they have never known. The human spirit is a marvelous thing. Together they will conquer all that is yet to come.
My thoughts and prayers are with all who’s lives this affects. You will get through it. Be courageous, face the darkness head on. Stay strong for a long as you have to, that is the way. Together we can all get through this awful tragedy.