The week that just passed was very telling. Of a number of things. There were events that shook my entire country. Coast to coast. And through that I received quite the education. And, in a number of ways, I learned a lot about the people I know. And those I do not.
This week also marked my wee one’s return to school. After missing more than a week. Because he had pneumonia.
There were going to be adjustments this week. In more ways than we could have ever imagined.
We were going to be busy. All week long. Monday is usually a hectic twenty-four hours. This week both hubby and I worked. It was the little guy’s first day back to school. And swimming lessons.
Home from work, school and swimming meant it was time for dinner. I quickly threw something together. The little one played from one end of the house to the other. Hubby puttered. Pretty typical.
Until we tuned in to the news.
That afternoon a man allegedly struck two Canadian Forces members with a car in a strip mall. In the province of Quebec. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent passed away in hospital due to the injuries he received that afternoon. His colleague’s injuries were said to be far less serious. The alleged attacker escaped for a short time, but was pursued by the police. During the pursuit the alleged attacker’s vehicle overturned into a ditch. It is said he emerged from the wreckage allegedly holding a knife. Police opened fire. He was seriously injured and transported to hospital. Where it is confirmed he died.
The word terrorist was tossed about. The whispers started on the wind.
More information began to emerge. The alleged attacker has been reported to be from Quebec. Known to counter-terrorism authorities. Apparently his passport had been seized. Along with quite a few others. All of whom are alleged to have intensions of joining foreign militant groups.
More whispers. More emphasis on the words terrorist and terrorism.
I had to work. Hubby took the little guy to school before coming home to the list I left for him. He was going to tick a couple of items off. Starting with the receptacles along the kitchen counter.
So. He turned the power off.
Just before the end of my shift the assistant manager started. She shared some unsettling news. Ottawa, our country’s capital, was on lockdown. A word I am still not used to. A word that still takes me a moment to process its meaning. A word all too common nowadays. The manager continued telling us the few details she had: someone had opened fire in public, at a war monument, gunman (possibly gunmen) on the loose, ran in to the parliament buildings and more shots were fired. All around the downtown core people were running. Scared. Terrified. Buildings were shut. People in local hotels and offices were told to stay indoors.
Immediately my mind went to my brothers. Brother Two and Brother Three. Whenever something happens with our armed forces I think of them.
I returned home and the power was still off. Hubby was unaware of the morning’s events. So we still did not have all of the information. And hubby had more work to do so the power was staying off. For now. He finished up. We turned everything back on. But the cable wouldn’t come on. We now had no TV. Hubby goes to pick up the wee one and I’m on the phone with customer support. Just before the two of them return home I am told there’s nothing more to be done. A tech is coming out tomorrow before noon. Great.
Thankfully our internet was fine. Earlier I had flipped open the laptop and got to work trying to figure out just what happened.
Another soldier had died. Shot in the back while standing guard at the National War Memorial. His name was Corporal Nathan Cirillo. He was a local reservist. In fact, he was the friend of a friend. He had lived around the corner from us. We had passed him on the street. Quite literally just a few weeks before he took the temporary position in Ottawa.
The boys returned home from school. The wee one was slightly put out because of the TV situation. He had been looking forward to cashing in on some TV time after school. It had been the topic of discussion that morning. However, he quickly took advantage of things and grabbed a movie. While he was engaged (or zoned out, you pick) hubby and I snuck off to chat. He told me there were more whispers on the playground. Whispers we agreed were disturbing and had no place around our child. Parents were talking. About another parent. And their choice of attire that day.
Whispers, whispers, whispers
Hubby and I did some outdoor work in the morning. We retrieved our giant Canada flag from the back and positioned it out front.
The school board tweeted a request that parents/guardians limit children’s exposure to the news. We strongly disagreed with that. Our wee one had been cautiously informed. By us. Children are children. But I firmly believe they deserve the honesty we are occasionally given as adults. Those wee ones also have resilient souls.
As more information emerged about the previous day’s events I grew increasingly unsettled by what people were saying. There were heroic stories emerging. Especially from inside Parliament. Heroes emerged. One in particular. Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who ran blindly out to confront the alleged gunman. Vickers is credited with not hesitating and removing the threat. Vickers received a very deserving standing ovation Thursday as he carried the ceremonial golden mace into the House of Commons.
Details and information continued to trickle in. The alleged attacker was another Canadian. But that didn’t stop the whispers.
I was torn. I wanted to be proud of the way our nation pulled together. There were some truly touching memorials. More encouraging stories of good deeds. Brave actions. Good people. But these grand moments were bolstered by hatred. Something I was not prepared to see from my fellow Canadians. I was not prepared for the prejudice. The intolerance. And I found it disturbing.
Because those whispers were gaining volume. And a growing audience.
People across our country wore red. To show support for the friends and families of the fallen soldiers. To show solidarity as a nation.
I do not own much in red. It has nothing to do with patriotism (or a lack of). I have oodles of Canada garb. But as for red, I have a Wonder Woman t-shirt. That’s about it. And I had to work. It was not appropriate work attire. But my little guy wore red. ALL RED. He wore a red “I Love Canada” t-shirt underneath a red “Hamilton” long-sleeved t-shirt paired with red track pants. He said he wanted to wear as much red as he could to honour the soldier from down the street. The solider the news said “made everybody laugh.” And because his little boy no longer had a daddy.
My child’s compassion is born from the honesty. He feels for that little boy. Orphaned by cowardice at the hands of confusion and misunderstanding. He feels for him because he understands the loss. His daddy has gone off to be a shooting star, right Mommy? Yes. That’s right. And he continued. I bet he’s going to be a really bright one, because he was such a nice guy. Just like GGD and Uncle Brandon, right Mommy?
Whispers were no longer whispers anymore. People were brazen, in my opinion, with their opinions. Posting things on Facebook like 1930s war propaganda posters with the caption “If your religion is worth killing for, why not start with yourself?” and inquiring, “Why would they choose to wear that today and I’ve never seen them wear that before?”
WOW. I mean, really? It’s a fucking mindset. FUCK. Not a religion. Not a creed or race of people. Fuck me!! We are a bunch of ignorant dumb fucks. I love my animals a lot right not. A LOT. This is the direction we are going to go? We’re Canadians. Remember? I do. I remember when that meant something. When being Canadian meant you had common sense and compassion. Vision and ingenuity. Kindness and bravery. We are known to be calm and clear headed. It meant knowing when and how to issue respect. And when our dark moment came I don’t feel our brightest light shone. Too many dingy decorum-less moments tainted those shiny, sparkly ones.
The world changes. All the time. And it always will. Learning to adapt is the nature of the beast. In some way or every way we have to learn to adapt. It is key to survival. And not just in a physical sense. But a soul sense.
To all the families who suffered loss through these (or any) tragedies, I am sorry. Loss can be an unimaginable thing. Overwhelming and heavy. But from it can come goodness and light. Each and every loss is significant. Remember that.
To Brother Two and Brother Three, thank you. For your past and continued service. For the sacrifices you made. That you are not even aware of. But others can see.
To my cousin, a police officer, I admire you. You are brave to subject your soul and spirit to such things as you do. Your willingness to help those most in need is amazing and admirable.
To the people of planet Earth. Wake the fuck up. People are people. We are all in this together. No one group or collection to blame. On some level each and every single one of us plays a role in the current state of things. And until we change there will be no change. Not now. Not a million lifetimes from now. So. Wake the fuck up. And change people. There is no other option.