Over the past 26 years I’ve heard the phrase ‘time heals all wounds’ so many times it became to mean nothing to me. I thought that no matter how much time had passed I would always be sad and angry about what happened on that terrible day. Today proved me wrong.
Twenty-six years ago, on March 8, 1987, this happened. It tore my family apart in more ways than anyone could imagine. We weren’t the first family to have this happen and sadly we wouldn’t be the last – this week’s news about another officer being killed in the line of duty added to the list. Sad.
The first few years after that horrible day, I don’t really remember clearly. Coping mechanism I’m sure. During a few of my teenage years I was lucky to have found an interest and was involved in army cadets which kept me relatively out of trouble and in enough of a routine (even though my family moved multiple times throughout these already difficult years) to feel as normal as a teenager could in my situation. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have turned to all sorts of other ‘coping mechanisms’ that likely would have landed me in all sorts of problems. Then I hit my 20s… moved out on my own (only to return sporadically throughout the first few years) and had a sense of freedom but didn’t know what to do with it. Couldn’t focus in school. Couldn’t settle on ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up’. Dropped out of school – not once, not twice… but three times – not finishing anything and have the debt to prove it. Moved around more and eventually found myself settled in Calgary. Made a lot of friends wherever I went and had a really fun couple of years. Suddenly I’m in my 30s and trying to piece my life together as a bonafide adult. I think I’m doing pretty good so far.
Every year has had its struggles in more ways than I’d like to list. But I wouldn’t be who I am today without having gone through each and every experience – whether I liked it or not. Last year ended up being a fine balance of being the hardest and the funnest. I ran this. Biked this. Spoke at this. Attended this. I did a whole bunch of other things too but out of all of them speaking at that parole hearing was obviously the most significant and changed my life in more ways than I anticipated. It was the culmination of the past 25 years of my life. There was a lot of introspection. Epic amounts of talking about myself and my past. More sharing with more people than I had ever done – ever. A lot of crying. Unbelievably therapeutic. The biggest weight was lifted from my shoulders when I spoke that day. I could… finally… really… move on.
A lot of people will always remember this day and feel sad. I will always remember this day and feel sad too… but that sadness doesn’t feel as debilitating. Finally the phrase ‘time heals all wounds’ is now true for me too.