Tonight, the city of Mission is celebrating. The Canucks won their second game against the Boston Bruins. From my home I can hear car horns blaring, air horns blowing, people shouting. They are celebrating an accomplishment, another step in the final series for the Stanley Cup.
Today, we too celebrated. But in an entirely different way.
We had been at Children’s Hospital eleven days when three of the volunteer firemen who had helped us at the accident scene arrived for a visit. Later, as they prepared to leave, they invited us to a pancake breakfast at their fire hall on June 4th. It was only January 8th, but I went to the calendar I had hung above my cot and flipped it open to June. On the day of the 4th I wrote in black marker: Pancakes with our Heroes! “This will be our goal date,” I told them. “We have something to aim for now. To be well enough to have pancakes with you.”
Today is June 4th. And this morning we drove out to the Dewdney Volunteer Fire Hall and had pancakes with our firemen heroes.
What an indescribable honour. I watched my children talk, answer questions, climb in the fire truck, try on jackets and helmets. I watched as these men and their families surrounded us, hugged us, served us and encouraged us. We made it. We made it to June 4th. I can hardly believe it.
I remember writing that note on my calendar. I remember flipping through the months: January, February, March, April, May…to June. It was an eternity away. At that moment I had no idea what would fill all that time, no idea what it would take to get us through to this goal date. Looking ahead was impossible. Looking back is just a blur. And yet, here we are. June the 4th.
I am not a patient person by nature. It has never been a gift of mine to break things down into small steps. I tend to jump into things expecting to land right where I want to when I come down. Myron was much more the planner, the detail person. Whenever I found myself landing short of my desired goal, he was the one who would remind me of the steps I had overlooked. Being impatient, I found it difficult to acknowledge the importance of each of those steps. If nothing else, I have now learned that there is as deep a journey going from step 1 to step 2, as there is going from step 1 to step 10.
We have made many journeys these past months. Each tiny step has become a journey in itself. Each day faced, each inch of progress, even the times we have slid backwards have been important. The entries I have logged on this blog testify if to no-one else but myself the enormity of the stepping stones. I hope I never forget that, the value of the journeying within the journey.
We made another pilgrimage today. After breakfast we drove to the crash site. It was only a couple of km down the road from the fire hall. Two of our firemen friends offered to go with us. I appreciated the strength they provided.
As we neared the crash point, I felt my hands shaking. It was the first time we had come anywhere close to it since that day in December. I thought of all the times we had travelled that road in the past, all the trips to Kilby Beach, all the drives up to Harrison. I thought of that day we drove it home, the innocence of believing our drive would end as easily as it had begun.
We stopped and parked. The men showed us the pole we had sheared, how it had been moved solidly two feet through the ground by the force of the impact. There were still remnants of glass lying in the roadside. It was just a small piece of earth and yet to me it was hallowed ground. My husband died here, on the side of the road.
We went into the gas station, into the building where each of my children had been carried. The men pointed to places on the floor, reminding the children where each had lain. It was just a gas station…but it wasn’t. I stood at the spot where Taeryn had been placed, where I had knelt beside her and begged her to live. Today, Taeryn stood beside me, healthy, alive, and I wrapped my arms around her and kissed the top of her head. How much more would I have been suffering had they not been saved.
The owner of the station stood respectfully aside. I was so grateful for his quiet compassion. I was so grateful for his daughter-in-law and employee that had rushed to our aid that day. Taeryn could remember nothing, Karson little, but the older girls and I knew. We knew what had taken place there.
As the children headed back to the truck, I stood again on the spot where I had last seen my husband. My wonderful, strong, humorous, loving husband. The man who drove me crazy, the man I never wanted to live without. And as the firemen gave me a moment alone, I found myself thanking Myron, thanking God for the opportunity to have been loved by such a man. And by such a God.
It wasn’t an easy day. But it was a significant one. An important step in the midst of our journey. I will never stop loving you, Myron. I will never stop hurting for what we’ve lost. And I will never stop being thankful for what I had to lose in the first place.