Just a thought… There is something in the human spirit that will survive and prevail, there is a tiny and brilliant light burning in the heart of man that will not go out no matter how dark the world becomes. [Leo Tolstoy]
Oh, I’ve missed being in Toronto this week. I’ve missed being with you, feeling connected, listening to your thoughts and hearing your grief and stories of hope. I’ve missed seeing for myself in real time the outpouring of kindness and commemoration, of steely determination and softened sadness. Yes, of course, I’m online (probably too much) and can watch Toronto television from out here on the west coast. But it’s not the same. I am there with you, though.
The city’s two faces – of sorrow and of celebration – were on full display last night as not one, not two, but three sporting events were cheered on from outside the ACC. The sounds of joyous celebrations echoed in the streets of Toronto – a city stilled by shock and disbelief this same week.
This dichotomy is one of the many things that you’re just not prepared for when sudden death hits; life goes on. I was talking with my new friend Lu, a newly bereaved mother in Brampton, about this very thing the other night. You walk into a store to choose a little boy’s outfit for a memorial and see young parents going about their business, chiding their children, sorting through racks, picking just the right onesie for a baby soon to arrive.
It all happens as though in slow motion; you’re the static display at the aquarium and they’re on the moving sidewalk. How does life go on when your whole world has come to a screeching halt? It simply does. And that’s the secret to it all: sooner or later those souls in mourning, who have been sidelined and stopped in their tracks, will find an opening in the passing stream and step in to join the flow again.
There will be breaks in the sadness and silence until, eventually, the sounds of laughter will come. There will be moments when you wonder how you can laugh, but you do. And that’s a good thing: it means that the healing beneath that Band-Aid has begun. Just as last night in our city, the distraction of the games of grown men proved welcome once more.
Life – if we are lucky – is long and there will always be time for sorrow; it has a way of finding moments when you don’t expect it to visit and uninvited it comes to sit on your shoulder for a while. But we must grasp joy and laughter and celebration when we can, too: it is how we go on. As individuals and as a community. #TorontoStrong