Erin's Journals

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Just a thought… A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. [Steve Maraboli]

I had hoped that by today I’d have some words of encouragement for you, my friend, during these darkest days for so many of our fellow Canadians.

In a time of self-isolation, in which we’ve all been called upon to examine our lives, our values, our connections, perspectives and freedoms, the loss of so many innocent souls in a devastating tragedy the likes of which Canada has rarely seen – or ever, if sheer numbers count for anything – has put into focus what truly matters.


The love we share for each other. The kindness and compassion that have shown themselves in myriad ways in this dark year of 2020, but that have also been challenged as never before in our blessedly pampered lifetimes.

We feel anew this yearning for things to go back to the way they were, but now that timeline has shifted. Not to a month or two months ago, but to last Friday, before so many people were taken from their beautiful, full and contented lives by one person. The depth and breadth of the tragedy that has befallen so many families in parts of one of Canada’s most beautiful and bucolic provinces has hit us all. Hard.

What do we take from this? And how do I answer my own question without sounding like a greeting card?

Life is precious and short – and desperately unjust. Some have had that shown to us in the cruelest ways already, while others fear for their own safety from an invisible enemy that has made the people of this vulnerable planet stop and take shelter.

We cannot hide from the hidden foe that is the evil that lurks in the hearts of some of our fellow humans. We cannot steel ourselves before we go to sleep at night, bracing with one eye open for the monster in the night. Because life, as we know, most often does not work that way. And neither does death.

There has always been and will always be evil; we have always witnessed unspeakable cruelty and had no answers to questions that can barely be formed.

What can we do?

We can turn to our faith, to each other, to the ways in which we might ease the suffering of others – even when we feel we have no tools with which to do so. We can dedicate an act of kindness to the people whose hearts have broken and carry it out as we bear even a little of their pain in our hearts.

Rob and I have made an appointment to donate blood next Monday. It’s not a big gesture, but it was our daughter’s way of giving back and paying forward the many blessings she had been given during her short life. We do it in her memory, and in the hopes that someone whose own existence depends upon the gift within that dark red bag might not have to leave others suffering as do the families of those lost souls in Nova Scotia.

If you’re inclined to do the same, here’s a link to Canadian Blood Services.

There are many in need around us, across our country and throughout the world today (as always). But for now, each of us can take comfort in doing the little that we can as a remembrance that we are all linked together despite the desperate aloneness and sadness experienced by so many.

We go on…and we hold those who suffer in our hearts.

Rob WhiteheadTuesday, April 21, 2020