Thursday, July 20, 2006

On Proximity

Like a climber
lost in the mountains
i dream
only of sleeping

-Life Beyond the Minimum Safe Distance by The Matthew Good Band-

A confluence of events in the past two weeks has forced upon me a period of introspection and thought. The events in question have set me to thinking about proximity and how it plays on the emotional toll these events have on us.

The crisis in the Middle East is deeply troubling. Afghanistan. Iraq. Iran. Now the Israeli-Lebanese conflict. The region is in turmoil. Hundreds are dying every day. I watch the news, read the papers, see the pictures. It is all very tragic. And yet, as I take it all in, I feel very detached from what is happening over there. While my mind denounces the violence and finds the entire situation appalling, I am relatively unmoved emotionally. It is just another terrible thing happening somewhere else in the world. Over there. Not here. Not in Canada. I care....but it does not touch me. It is too far. The bombs are not devastating my family. What could I possibly do? It is not so much a feeling of apathy, as impotency. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Bringing it closer to home, I received news on July 10th that on July 7th, my former co-worker and neighbour, Constable Marc Bourdages was shot on-duty in Mildred, Saskatchewan. Also shot was his partner, Constable Robin Cameron. On the evening of July 16th, 2006, both Marc and Robin succumbed to their injuries.

I don't know if I can adequately describe what I've been feeling with words. I had not seen or spoken with Marc since March of 2005. I left Saskatchewan in June of 2005, and now live in Ontario. When I heard the news, I felt what can only be described as disbelief. It didn't feel real. As it sunk in, I felt deeply saddened as when any police officer dies in the line of duty, moreso given my personal connection, but I still felt oddly detached. From what sprang this emptiness....this lack of emotion? Was it shock? I feel terrible. I feel a loss. But I am not shaken. I stare at his picture repeatedly, hoping to be taken by some sense of overwhelming grief....but it does not come. Perhaps it is just my way. I have never been known to be especially emotional. I can probably count on one hand the times in my life I have actually cried, and have fingers to spare.

That being said, they held a news conference the morning after they passed. There were no cameras, but I heard the audio, and Natasha, Marc's wife, a fellow Constable, and also a friend and former co-worker of mine, spoke to the media. As I heard her voice, the distance closed. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. In that started to feel real. Since then, I've started to feel a bit detached again. Is it because Marc and I were always friendly, but not necessarily friends? Is it because we parted on slightly bitter terms? Or is it because I'm here...and this happened there? Would it strike closer to home if I were still living and working in Saskatchewan? I think it would.

On Monday, I fly out to the funeral which is taking place at the RCMP training facility (Depot) in Regina, SK. The distance I've experienced for the last 2 weeks will be negated. I will see old friends who also worked with Marc. I will see his family. I will see Natasha. Perhaps I will see his 9 month old son.

I will be a mess.

And then other things strike you closer still. Something that might happen. Something that you never plan for. Something that could profoundly alter your life. Something that will test you and see how strong you really are. The details are personal. Those that need to know, do. All that is left to do is stay positive, and hope that everything will work out.

What else can you do?

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.

-Reinhold Niebuhr-


Blogger Melinda said...

*wiping away tears*

Dave, that was beautiful. Have a safe trip, and remember to give Tammy an extra big hug tonight.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Burnie said...

My thoughts will be with you. Travel safely.

12:47 PM  

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