Friday, March 21, 2008

Where was I?

In the last week there have been some interesting near memes. I am quite interested in bio pic challenge from Mad. I'll get to that. But what has really hung about to be done is my response to the Flashback Friday, where were you?

I remember when my husband called me at work and told me Kurt Cobain had died. And I said, who is Kurt Cobain?

I could tell you about how I felt when I woke up in my friend's apartment on the morning of September 11, 2001 in Toronto about 12 hours after sending my husband off on a plane to Vancouver.

I ache when I recall the death of my callous outlook on the death of children that day in September I was two days to my due date and 186 children died in a school is Beslan.

I do think of those things. I do remember. But they are not 'the day'.

I think of that day in Vernon I stopped short. The day I heard that Heidi had been murdered. Not just her but the four children, too.

Some might say the liminal moment is lost on me. But that was my day. Heidi Challand was my age, from my hometown, a twin of a high school friend. She didn't go to school with us because she was already raising kids before I got my drivers license. She was a beautiful and kind girl. A hopeful person with four dear children. One night in 1997 12 days after the massive funeral for Princess Diana Heidi's fiance killed her. He killed her and her four children with an axe.

I remember the moment I heard. I remember the look on the face of the first person I told. The blank distance of this experience from them. The deep hollow of the experience in me. No words to connect the knowledge with feeling.

I gave up that day on the big picture. Instead I look to the small. Everyday I try to talk to my growing children about care and concern for each other. About the big and the small, measuring out child-sized morsels of patience, empathy and respect for ourselves and for others. I look ahead with profound fear of how to explain such an attack of life to my daughter and to my son. Though I thank god for my good husband I will not bask in any luck of it.

All I am saying is that's what I remember. A case of horror, and sadness, rage and disgust. A case, I fear, too few remember, acknowledge or retain if for no other reason than the too many more cases in the 10 years since.



Blogger kittenpie said...

Can I just start at the start for a second with What?! Who is Kurt Cobain?! I'm gobsmacked.

But not gobsmacked enough to know what you mean in a smaller way - I remember the first time I heard of a child dying in a terrible way - someone my age, someone known by people I knew. Horrifying, terrifying, and maybe one more reason I've always been overly careful, because it imprinted really strongly on my young brain. We should remember these things, because while they may seem like smallish dramas, it means they are that much more common. Sadly.

4:34 p.m.  
Blogger Mad said...

I've been meaning to comment on this post for a few days now and you've already got 2 more up. I had thought of taking up the where were you when challenge but then the DAY for me will always be the Montreal Massacre which I have written about twice now. The reality of domestic violence, violence against women, and the deep misogyny that leads to it is, to my mind, one of the biggest, hardest truths that we as women have to face and then try not to look away.

9:17 a.m.  
Blogger Mad said...

btw, I have added this to the JPs.

9:18 a.m.  
Blogger Unknown said...

I grew up down the street from the Challand family. Heidi and her brothers babysat my sister and I many years ago. She was a wonderful person.

1:11 a.m.  

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