Mother’s Day 2018

It is early morning. The sun has not yet risen.The dog and I walk past slumbering houses along empty streets. The only sounds are my footsteps on pavement and the panting of the dog as she trots ahead of me.

This is our time. Setting out before the world awakens is deliberate. It is the hour when the wonders and mysteries of a darkened universe reveal themselves before they are eclipsed by the brilliance of the sun.

We don’t have to wait long. A pair of coyotes emerge from a back lane just metres from us. The dog tenses. I murmur to her. There is no danger. They are eager to get to the safety of their den before the world goes bright.

How can it be so dark right before the dawn? But I am comfortable wrapped in this black cloak. Because that same darkness lives within me. I am forever free-falling into the bottomless black hole of my son’s death.

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness.

I dance around the word like a moth circling a bright flame. From a distance, I see its beauty. But if I fly too close it will burn me.

I try to live my life with kindness. I follow as best I can the Buddhist principle of Ahimsa, the practice of doing no harm to any living thing, including yourself.

Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t.

I am human. It is not always easy to be kind. It is not always easy to forgive.

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Yoga Breaths

A blast of arctic air pushes past me into the yoga studio. The sun has not yet risen, leaving those brave enough to venture out at the mercy of the ice fog and biting winds. It is January in Edmonton. The dead of winter is alive and well.

I hang up my parka, stuffing my mitts and toque into one sleeve. The snow is melting from my boots even before I pull them off. I begin to relax. This is my community. Here I can forget for just a little while what awaits me beyond these walls.

I have been coming to this space four or five times a week since January 2014. It is my refuge, my sanctuary. Here, I find peace from the ever-present reality that my son, David, is dead.

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Valentine’s Day 2018

Holidays and celebrations are particularly difficult for people grieving the loss of a loved one. When our son, David Finkelman, was killed at the age of 27, our lives changed forever. This is an excerpt from my diary. I refer to David’s girlfriend as “M.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2018:

Valentine’s Day. We were hit by freezing rain overnight. This morning, I inched along behind the dog, my crampons all but useless on the smooth, glassy streets.

The snow danced wildly around me, whipped into a frenzy by the north wind. I was blinded by a veil of whiteness. Blinded by the white. Blinded by the light.

Valentine’s Day. Suddenly, I was remembering Valentine’s Day 2014. It came just weeks after David was struck and killed in a crosswalk. The bleakest of times. We were zombies, moving through a world we no longer recognized. Blinded by the darkness.

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David’s Boots

My husband, Steve, and I started this blog last January. We wanted it to be a forum for street safety as well as a place where people could open up about the trauma of losing a loved one.

Several weeks ago, Edmonton writer Tim Querengesser spoke of that loss eloquently in his podcast, “Walkcast: Episode 2: How We Talk About Motorists Who Hit Pedestrians.”

 

The piece had a huge impact on me. I am so tired of hearing media reports about “a car in collision with a pedestrian.”

In fact, what we’re really talking about is a driver hitting a vulnerable human being, often with deadly consequences.

That is what we live with every single day, three-and-a-half years after a driver hit and killed our son, David Finkelman, while he was crossing Whyte Avenue on a green light.

Today, Thursday, September 14th, David would have celebrated his 31st birthday. I am sharing an entry from my personal journal, written a year ago, when David was about to turn 30.

Not much has changed since then.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016:

I have been frozen for weeks. Unable to write more than a handful of words.

It began with your boots. The shiny, black leather boots that laced up to your ankles. You were fastidious with those boots, always polishing them, buffing them, to a high luster.

You had them on the day you were killed. The police returned them to us in a hospital-issue plastic bag. Continue reading “David’s Boots”

Clare’s Story

Part of the reason we started our blog was to give voice to others who have lost loved ones. The following was submitted by Mary Riley in memory of her daughter, Clare.


On June 30th 2013, our daughter Clare Ann Riley Patershuk was killed by a drunk driver.

Clare was 26 years old and earlier in the month had been granted a Masters degree in Educational Psychology from the U.of A.

Clare and Calvin

There are so many things we want you to know about her. She was loving, intelligent, beautiful, wise, caring and funny. She painted and drew. She loved animals, particularly horses, and spent a lot of her leisure time on the back of a horse. She was the daughter we longed for, the daughter we loved so much.

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Don’t have a cow over photo radar

This photograph was featured prominently in the Edmonton Journal.

At first glance, it looks harmless enough: A little girl and a man standing by the side of a snowy road. The man appears to be waving and the girl is holding up a large cardboard cut-out of a cow.

But look closer and you see the word, “Radar” printed across the cow’s body.

The man  is Jack Shultz, Edmonton’s infamous photo radar denier, warning motorists of a nearby photo radar location. The cow, of course, is a tool to trumpet (or perhaps moo) Mr. Shultz’s oft-repeated message that photo radar is a cash cow, the city’s way of lining its coffers.

For some reason, Mr. Shultz feels it’s his duty to inform the masses of the wrongs he believes are being perpetrated upon them by photo radar. He insists enforcement of the practice doesn’t work. He says there is no evidence showing it slows drivers down.

Mr. Shultz is wrong.

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The Snow Queen and I share a most precious possession

The Snow Queen swept through Edmonton overnight, riding in on the north wind to claim the city as her own polar realm.

Ice crystals, like the broken pieces of a thousand mirrors, glint under street lamps. Tree branches bow beneath a layer of hoarfrost. My breath bursts from my body in puffy white clouds, before vanishing into the early morning blackness.

A winter wonderland, some might call it. Not me. That description is far too benign for the Snow Queen’s handiwork. Continue reading “The Snow Queen and I share a most precious possession”