By Darren Lum
We’ve all endured and lost so much this year.
There’s a strangeness to seeing someone one day and learning about that same person dying not long after. It’s bittersweet to know you were gifted the opportunity to see someone in their final moments or days, but it also makes one heady with wonder about why was I afforded the opportunity?
It really is a gift when you think of how there are loved ones who didn’t get to say goodbye to them before they died.
It’s well documented the struggles that face people at this festive time of year. That’s not a surprise. What I found alarming was how many people in this community have died in the past several months, whether through illness or by tragedy. All of them are felt.
Let’s remember there are those that can’t be with loved ones, or won’t know how someone is doing or if they even still think of them through circumstance or by choice. The pain is heart wrenching.
For those fortunate to have loved ones together and to share in the season this year, whether it’s sitting by the fire place or to simply gathering to eat a meal together, it’s a good time to take stock and value these times. Remember not everyone is feeling very joyful, having one less family member at the dinner table at Christmas.
Working through loss can make one feel unable to even know the help they need, let alone ask for it.
There are people out there alone struggling with their thoughts of self-doubt and guilt.
This past Dec.14 Haliburton lost one its own after a vehicle collision on Highway 35 north of Lindsay. Haliburton’s Robert Clark, 64, was taken that day from us. Rob was more than a name in a news article to people that loved him and remembered him. The dozens of social media comments is proof of that. He was a father and husband, who loved to fish, hunt and garden. Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, his daughter said he had a way with people, who shared he could make them laugh. Many know him through what was the Jay Lake Tent and Trail Park (now Woods of Minden Hills on County Road 21) when he owned it with Jean Clark, and Lois and Syd Adamson, or the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, who he worked for in custodial and maintenance duties at different schools such as Haliburton Highlands Secondary School and J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School since the mid-1980s. If you’ve golfed at the Pinestone Resort’s golf course then you’ve seen some of his other work, having helped with the creation of holes 15 through to 18. What his daughter will remember are their excursions on his four-wheeler when they would make trips down the Haliburton County Rail Trail enveloped by the natural beauty of the area around Ritchie Falls.
Behind the names are people and their stories like this one.
There is loss during life. Mental degradation of aging parents, who no longer recognize you has a depth of sorrow that can weigh like an anvil on one’s chest until the next visit. This stings in ways immeasurable to the heart and difficult to convey to those that don’t know the blank stare from a parent that helped console you during the first week of kindergarten.
None of us have to be alone even when we stay close to home to keep others safe. We can come together to move forward during this fifth wave.
Give the gift of hope this season. It costs nothing and just takes a few minutes. Hug the one you’re with (in your COVID-19 bubble). Call the one you’ve not seen in a while. Go to that neighbour down the street and open your heart (at a socially safe distance). Do it for them, but do it for us. We need this more than ever. A strong community that comes together stays together. We all have love to give and could mean more to you to share it with others than you’ll ever know.