Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Sadness

I am torn.
One the one hand, writing is what I know. It is how I process things. I have a conversation with myself on the page, going back and forth, discussing an issue until it is resolved, or until it becomes more clear to me. I write things out, give words to my thoughts and feelings, and in doing so they become valid. Real.
On the other hand, some things feel so personal. Too real. I don't mean personal like what's in my medicine cabinet, but sometimes things feel so delicate, I want to hold them in my cupped hands very carefully, lest I break them and cause more pain.
I don't speak for anyone, or take away from the pain others are going through. But this week has been tough for me.

It is harrowing for me to read about police officers dying in the line of duty; it has been since the day Rich received his badge. Every time, I put myself in the story and wonder, "what if that had been him?" It's morbid torture, but my mind goes there and I have come to accept that as my process. It is how I take sad news, make sense of it, feel it, and learn something from tragedy.
Usually, it means I hug my Mountie a little longer that day when he comes home. I count my lucky stars it wasn't him. I am reminded of the precious gift we have in each other's presence, given the uncontrollable fate we're given by a higher power. I send my thoughts and prayers out to the grieving family and hope they are comforted by a vast blanket of support and love across the country during their time of immense sadness.
This week was different.
I read the headline of an RCMP member killed in Surrey. I wondered if it was any of the few members I knew working there. I waited until he was identified and clicked the story open.
Then I saw my friend's face.
I cried out, crumbled and called Rich. (He is my hero)
I read the rest of the story, and quickly remembered that I was being watched by confused little eyes. I talked to Abby, we cuddled each other and the babies, and went on with making lunch.
Since then, I have been feeling all kinds of sad.
Constable Adrian Oliver was our friend during high school. He dated my best friend, so were hung out a lot. We traveled to Mexico, we camped and took canoe trips in outdoor ed, we went to prom, we did a lot together. He was a very genuine person- a rare breed for sure. He had a twin brother Ben who looked just like him and they were inseparable, more than best friends and brothers.
We all graduated and, as it often happens, we all moved on. He and Ben modeled overseas before Ben and then Adrian went to Depot to become Mounties, like Rich. We kept in touch sporadically.
I'm sad mostly for his family and especially for his twin. I'm sad for his close friends. I'm sad that another Mountie died on duty, and that stirs up a lot of feelings for me that I had hoped never to revisit. (To be honest, I think about the family Const. Mike Potvin left behind almost every day. It is haunting, and has been  sewn into my soul's fabric forever).
This is another tragedy of a Mountie dying on duty, but more than that, it is a chance to celebrate an amazing person's life, RCMP member or not.
I join a very large contingent of his friends and coworkers who are mourning his loss. There's something innately forlorn about someone getting killed at such a young age, and that's the heart of this tragedy.
Life, of course, goes on and this will weave itself into each of our life's stories in different ways. On a cold Yukon winter night, this is what I'm feeling and reflecting on, before I take time to send warm prayers and thoughts of comfort to everyone else feeling sadness in his passing.


  1. there is little to be said beyond what you wrote. My heart goes out to you and Rich, to all your friends, to Adrian's family and loved ones. I can't imagine your grieving process but just remember that others out there share your pain and I hope together you all find a way to patch that tear in your heart and continue walking forward.

  2. What a beautiful post Sarah. I am so so sorry for your loss. Everything you have said is what I feel. You said it perfectly. Deepest condolences, prayers and love being sent to Const. Oliver's family... and to you. xox Love you always.

  3. Oh I am so sorry for your loss! The pain of losing a friend - the pain you feel for yourself and you feel for others - is unbearable. My heart goes out to all those involved.


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