Monday, March 15, 2010

Remembering Tragedy

This date always creeps up on me...on us...on my extended family. In writing and remembering it's not about "celebrating", or giving power away to the darkness that at one time was all consuming ...yet the anniversary is here and this year I really feel the need to discuss it more fully than other years. I'm not entirely sure why...yet.

On this date, 19 years ago, my brother Jim was killed. Killed. There's a definite word. Other descriptors such as taken from us, died, passed away, etc are just too soft, too normal, too easy. This date was anything but easy and normal.

Jim's 25 yrs went by all too quickly. He was a young man of charm, wit, stubbornness, athletics, and protective of his family. That is what got him killed. That protectiveness. You see (for those that didn't know me in 1991) in my small hometown the local "crazy" guy targeted me, and then my family, which resulted in Jim's death.

I remember that date in detail as if it was yesterday. I remember the phone calls, the radio announcement which my mom heard at work, looking for my brothers, trying to protect my dad from the news until we had heard officially from the RCMP, the police finally arriving to confirm what we already knew, people coming to support us before we were officially advised, friends rallying and supporting us in any way they could, the outrage of the community, the audacity of the "crazy" man's friend who came to our home even though he was involved on that fateful night, and there is more....many, many more memories. More memories to come and experience as this horror became a media interest, the legal system came into play.,..for years....the injustice of our justice system...and people who were supportive and those who weren't.

A part of me hates remembering. For many reasons. The hurts. The second reason is that I don't want to give "him" any more thought and time and heartache. He's taken enough over the past 19 years...and more actually. I don't want any thing in my life and thoughts to be about him. Thoughts of "him" are there though.

I wonder if he's still alive. After all he would be 86yrs by now. I want to know if he's alive and where he is. I even called the last place I was aware of him residing to see if he is still a resident there...he isn't. I know there is no remorse there and never could be. He is a sick, sick man. So, why the need in regards to knowing his whereabouts? Not sure. Just want to know.

My brother's death doesn't define me anymore. There was a time that I felt it did. My life was consumed by court dates and grief. Plus there was...."You're the girl with the brother that got killed. I heard it was over some girl." It kinda was. Me. My family. I felt like I couldn't go anywhere without hearing about Jim's death. Some of it was good....people reminiscing about Jim. And that is invaluable. That I treasured. Those days are gone too. A memory. Jim's murder will always be a part of me. It is not who I am though.

Yet, this day cannot be forgotten. Maybe should not be. Somehow remembering the tragedy and it's cause is important too. I can't explain why. Yet, it is.

Jim is remembered. Jim is my brother and he is a part of me. A part of my boys. An uncle they will never know but still he is a part of them and maybe, just maybe, he's one of their guardian angels...watching over them, teaching them a love for carpentry, sports, and getting into mischief!

So, today I remember the details of 19 years ago. I remember the loss, the shock, the anger, the sadness. I remember my brother phoning me to join him that evening and even now, all these years later...I wish I had.

I remember....lots of things. Mostly, I remember Jim.


  1. Oh my friend, as I wipe the tears from my eyes after going back 19 years with you, I want you to know that I too did some remembering today with my husband as I told him about the great loss my friend, her family, and our town suffered on this day all those years still just seems so sureal...I remember the mischievious grin, the ready hugs for my sister and their friends, the lean lanky frame, and the easy way he carried himself....he may have only had 25 years, but he made an impression on all those whose lives he touched....on me indirectly through his little sister who I admire, respect and love for all the things she has been through and yet remains a person of such grace, courage, and inspritation for many....although losing Jim was a tragedy, it helped you to become the person that you are today, and he would be so proud of you....{hugs} coming your way, and remember the happy memories today.....

  2. I have thought of you so often these days and thinking about this tragic moment that our town remembers so clearly.
    I too have wonderful memories of Jim, difficult memories of that night, and angry memories of sitting in court.
    I so wish I could wrap my arms around you and take away your pain.
    There is no doubt that the guardian angels watching over us are busy up to mischief, making bad jokes, and definately getting a smile everywhere they travel.
    As I go now to tuck in my children into bed I will also thank God for every moment we have together and remind myself to cherish these moments.
    Lots of hugs for you.

  3. Mrs. M you have a special way of remembering people. You have a gift for telling stories and sharing memories that draw people in.

    I never met your brother but I can feel how much you love him and how important his life was and how tragic your loss. And I don't think it's dwelling too much in the past to bring it up and share it with your family. Or your friends. We're here to share your sorrows as well as your joys.

    big hugs...

  4. I am not very good at saying the right words in situations like these, but you, on the other hand, have quite a way with words. I was getting choked up as I was reading this. I can't even begin to understand what you went/are going though...

    I am sending you lots of hugs.

  5. Oh dear, Miss is so crazy how 19 yrs can pass and yet the memories of a person are still so strong, clear and vivid like a movie clip.
    I too remember Jim and I think I may have even been part of one of his was a crazy night out at the Holt cabin, hockey party.
    Some how the truck I was traveling in ended up in a ditch by Mark's and I think he badly hurt his ankle getting it out...might have broken it.
    He never held it against me or was upset at my silly choice which caused his injury.
    Always happy, smiling, easy.
    I think of your family so often as I travel past your house when I am in town subbing and when I see your lanky niece at school.
    Hold your head high...


  6. I am so sorry for your loss...your post of remembrance was well written, and shows your strength.

  7. I too choked up reading this and am truely sorry for your loss. If your brother was anything like you, he would be a wonderful person to know.

    I am certain he would be so proud of the amazing person you have become and be happy that he had a part in that.