Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Three years ago

Three years ago today was a Friday. I remember because it was Friday the thirteenth. While I was never one to be superstitious, I began to re-evaluate my stance because of that day three years ago. It started like any other workday. I was in the middle of my first teaching year up north, and still lived in an apartment by Boot Lake with two other teachers. That winter was abnormally cold, I was told, and February lived up to its reputation of being the coldest month. I remember standing out on those side steps, waiting for my cab to come to take me to work, when I saw the most beautiful moon over the lake. It was a brilliant red. To this day, I have not seen the moon quite that colour again. “There was blood on the moon,” my roommate would later comment to me. After work, my roommate and I went for a night out at the Finto (my favourite restaurant in town, which had, unfortunately, closed about six months ago). That was when we heard the news of your death. Two police officers walked in, and the news rippled through the room.

I never really got to know you, but I do remember seeing you at the high school talent show, when you stood there at the back of the gym, swaying gently from side to side while the man you loved held you by the waist.

You died from a head-on collision with an RCMP vehicle on the Dempster, we were told. On the road you had habitually driven for years, on your way up to see your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. Every time I drove out on that highway after that, I would think of you. I could say that your death had tainted the beauty of the wilderness – it’s true. But, the opposite is equally true. Somehow, after that day, the wilderness rang and echoed louder, more infinite.

That night, the northern lights came out with a fierceness I had never seen before, filling up half the sky with green. My heart ached from that juxtaposition of beauty and tragedy. Every time I see the northern lights now, I’m reminded that there are forces out there over which we have absolutely no control. Life is so mysterious, so miraculous. I can’t begin to understand the why of it all, but sometimes, it’s enough to take it all in. The least we can do is love, and be the best person we can be to those who matter to us.

I’ve always hated the hype of Valentine’s Day. Now, since that day three years ago, it has filled me with a mix of turmoil and inner peace. I choose to concentrate on the wonder, the brightness of love and peace.

Goodnight, world. Goodnight, moon and aurora above. And goodnight to you.


  1. I hope you had a good Valentine's Day, whether it was busy with excitement or peaceful in its uneventfulness. Beautiful post by a beautiful girl.

    - MB

  2. I remember you telling me about that day. It seemed to have really affected you. Life really is mysterious, and you capture it so well here on this blog.

  3. I went directly from reading your blog, to checking out my little sister's blog this afternoon as the quietly falling snow was punctuated by the distant rumble of thunder.

    The images of several of your posts stirred my heart and then I went to my little sister's blog and read her most recent words... the transition was seamless...as though the two of you spoke the same language. Maybe the image of her words wouldn't burn as deeply, though, into a heart unfamiliar with her daughters. Her oldest daughter (age 7) has had two liver transplants already in her brief life and now desperately needs a third. The circulation to her liver has been compromised and the liver she has now is barely alive. Though her "numbers" are high enough to give her top listing on the transplant waiting lists, her doctors keep delaying...fearing that she will not survive this third transplant and that maybe this time, now, home with her family is the greatest gift they can give her. I guess, knowing how ill her little body is, made the vision of her nestled at her mother's side watching the her three year old sister dance in graceful abandon made the image wrought in my own little sister's words pierce poignantly, painfully into the depths of my soul.

    If you would like to read that post, it is entitled "enough" and can be read at my little sister's blog.

    I sense more and more, my little sister, through the words in her posts here and there, whispering the realization that maybe it is finally time to let go of her precious daughter...that maybe it is time to cherish the moments left instead of filling them with the pain of the fight to survive, to conquer, to live.

    I think you would appreciate the way she shares a moment of her life...enough.