One would need to be on a desert island to have not heard about the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. Such an immense loss connects people like nothing else. It makes daily life draw to a halt as a body tries to absorb the shockwaves. The ripples reach far, in this case, around the globe.
I am not a hockey mom. To my son’s chagrin, we had neither the finances nor the will to be in cold hockey arenas at 5:00 am on Saturday mornings to give him the option of hockey. But he is a true Canadian and plays hockey to this day, even if it meant an extra trip home to Edmonton to bring his hockey gear to the States where he now lives. Instead, our son played baseball — we exchanged cold arenas for pouring rain and freezing wind in the so-called “spring” of Alberta. His sisters all watched and cheered from an early age. Our youngest had her diapers changed in the back of the station wagon, and many “spits” were consumed over the years. I shouldn’t brag, but our son was a great pitcher. He could have gone somewhere (says every son’s mom) except he sprouted like a weed to his present 6’6″ and continued pitching would have done damage to his elbow. And that phase of life ended.
However, I understand standing behind your child and letting them pursue their dreams, or even their desires, even if some of those desires were fleeting. I also understand the responsibility of being the adult taking other people’s children on highway trips. The kids are pumped and excited for the adventure. We’re the ones that triple-check the cars, make sure all the T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted on insurance and permission forms just in case.
Humbolt is suffering the just in case that we all dreaded. Which is what unites us and makes us feel their pain in the core of our being. I remember one trip where we hit a snowstorm in the mountains on the way home. We had a convoy of three minivans filled (only to the legal amount according to seatbelts!) with young adults. The semis had their chains on their tires. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but there was a truck on one side, mountain on the other, a van in front of us with MY kids in it, and uncontrolled sliding happening. To this day, I can feel the fear rush to my belly. Thank God, everything ended up ok, but we sure needed to decompress at the next rest stop!
And now, a nation watches helplessly as a community grieves. These boys were in their prime, doing what they loved doing. They ARE Canada. These families ARE us. We stand with them in the only way we know how. With prayer. With solidarity. With broken hearts. So many, many lives have been deeply touched. And changed forever. The young men and their families, the hockey association, the first responders, the hospital staff. And the driver of the truck; whether he erred or not, his burden will forever be heavy. God bless you all. May He grant you peace and healing that only He can give. May the community feel love and compassion now, and in the time to come as they stumble their way into a new normal.
You are loved, and you will not be forgotten.