“Nova Scotia Remembers” – A Personal Reflection

It’s been just over a week since the tragic events surrounding the mass killing in Nova Scotia began to unfold. As I sit here now, typing this, I still can’t believe it happened. With new details reported each day by the media – about the multiple crime scenes and especially the victims, my heart just grew heavier day by day. 

As a proud Nova Scotian, I am blessed with cherished memories that span over so much of the province: beginning in the Eastern Shore community of Jeddore where my family roots originate; growing up in the province’s southern towns of Shelburne and Lockeport; spending time with grandparents and other relatives in the North Shore Aylesford community; joining dad on deer hunting trips to my Uncle’s vast woodland property in Antigonish; and of particular relevance, attending Camp Evangeline in the small, quiet and friendly community of Debert. 

Debert, located just over an hour east of Portapique – where the tragic events started, was one of the many areas devastated by the timeline of events. I don’t know if it’s my fond childhood memories attending camp in the community, but my heart aches for them – for all the families and communities who are going through this. 

The (virtual) vigil, “Nova Scotia Remembers, was a beautiful memorial for the lives lost and the families and communities impacted by this tragedy. The outpouring of love and support – expressed in words, song and poetry, was incredibly heartfelt. And at its conclusion, as the bagpipes rendition of “Amazing Grace” serenaded the still frames of each victim – proud displays of happy life moments captured in time – I found myself appreciating what it truly means to be Nova Scotian – to be Canadian. 

For the families and communities impacted by this horrifying event, life will never be the same. I believe we will all be forever impacted by this. Of course, memories of this tragedy will continue to trigger painful emotions for years to come, but I do trust that in time, we will find ways to learn from it – to be better and stronger. Perhaps this means that we learn to better appreciate life more; or try harder to not take anything or anyone for granted; or especially, perhaps we learn to be more compassionate to one another.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” 

 Holocaust survivor, Viktor E. Frankl