Sunday, November 2, 2014

IT'S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE.


Is there ever a good time to receive bad news? It always seems to come when you least expect it, doesn’t it? Then again, who sits around expecting bad news? So when it does come it always seems like...really? Now? Did this have to happen right now?
Case in point: on October 22nd I was watching the news about the killing of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, while he was on ceremonial guard duty at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa, the aftermath of the attack, the killer’s death and the whole upheaval on Parliament Hill when my cell phone rang. It was our youngest daughter, Emily, calling from her newly banged up car minutes after she had had an accident on the William R. Bennett Bridge in Kelowna, B.C.
Obviously distraught and in a bit of shock from the suddenness of the event and the damage to her car it took a few moments to calm her down and get her to assess the damage, first of all to her physical well being, and then the damage to her car. Was she okay? Was anyone else hurt? How bad is the car? Is it drivable? How did it happen? The standard set of questions, you know?
What a completely helpless feeling knowing that your overwhelmed and hurt child is two provinces away and you can’t hold her or reassure her with anything other than your voice over the phone. Thankfully, she wasn’t severely hurt in the ordeal, but still.
I am in no way trying to compare a fender bender to the death of a child but during the conversation with Emily my thoughts went to the parents and family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who would have received much worse news that same day. What would it be like to get that call? I cannot even imagine nor do I ever want to find out but one thing such a tragic event will do is put things into perspective pretty quickly. As bad as things may seem at certain times in your life they can often be so much worse.
Events alter life. Immediately. One minute you’re cruising along and an instant later everything has changed. Canada changed that day.
It was just two short days after Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed when he and another officer were struck by a car in the parking lot of a federal building in Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu, Que. They were deliberately targeted only because they were members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Two Canadian Armed Forces members killed in one week on Canadian soil. As stated…it changed Canada. More innocence lost.
The two horrible deaths sparked an outpouring of grief and outrage while inspiring a wave of Canadian pride and a renewed sense of unity across Canada. While the families, friends and comrades of the fallen soldiers may take some solace that the soldiers’ are now viewed as heroes and their deaths have not been in vain the fact remains that both men were taken far too early in their lives.
There was a “gut-wrenching” irony, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper so aptly stated, to the fact that Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “He knew what he was protecting and he knew what he was preserving and he died protecting and preserving.”
There is never a good time for bad things to happen. At least that has been my experience in life. We are left to learn from tragedy, make the best of a bad situation and move forward with renewed hope that we have gained something from the experience.
It is not lost on me, either, that these events happened days before we are to gather together to honour the sacrifices of so many others who have served our country in the past. Remembrance Day is upon us and we shouldn’t have needed such a raw reminder that Canadians have much to be grateful for but every now and then it takes a nation’s tragedy to remind us of how fleeting life can be and how precious our way of life is and how worthy it is to protect. Lest We Forget.

“Perspective is everything when you are experiencing the challenges of life,”-Jodi Eareckson Tada (1949-).

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