Today should be when we celebrate Darrel's 9th birthday, but instead, like
every day since he died, it will be a day to remember my son. There are so
many stories I could tell you about him, but most have already brought up in
past blogs. Tales of his wit, his humour, and his unique take on life and all
that it chose to send his way.
Though it seems like only yesterday, the still vibrant memory does become
more distant with the passage of time. Pictures of all three kids, taken only
a few short months before he left us, hang in one hallway of the house, but the
innoence of that moment was so long ago. As the girls continue to grow and
mature (I'm already dreading the soon to arrive teenage years), I can not help
but imagine what a 9 year old Darrel would be like, especially if cancer had
inflicted so much pain and suffering on him and my family. The "What Ifs" are
never that far away, and probably never will be.
Walking downtown a few weeks ago, I was disapponited to see Darrel's
favourite Dollar Store was closed for business. He had always enjoyed going
down ther with my father (Grandpa with the Car) after each treatment for his
special reward. I was seldom allowed to accompany them, but when I did, it was
something to behold. The time and effort he took to survey the entire store
before he made the selection (a similar process would occur with picking his
freshly made carmel popcorn, or sifting through his Oatmeal Crisp at breakfast
time) brought a smile to all our faces, though laughing at him was a serious
no-no . There are still several other bargin stores in Fergus, but this one
was special to Darrel, there by special to me.
Last week, I had to return to the funeral home we used for Darrel's
services for the first time. I was there to pay my respects to the late
husband of a co-worker, but found myself drifting back to when the entire venue
was full of his belongings. I felt as though I could still see his bike, the
nurse-wacker, his model magic creations, and everything else where we had it on
that day like they were right before my eyes. But they weren't, and the
sadness in the building was no longer for Darrel.
The devastating loss of a child has also been front and centre throughout
our town the last week due to the abduction and murder of Victoria Stafford.
The beautiful young girl was taken on April 8th from her schoolyard in
Woodstock, Ontario. A week ago arrests were finally made, and one of the
accused has told police Tori's remains were deposited somewhere between Fergus
and Guelph. Since last Wednesday, there has been a constant stream of OPP and
media helicopters circling our town, and we have been the focal point for
parents across the nation. While I am an avid watcher of the news, it is quite
unsettling to see the media circus outside the police station, and everywhere a
OPP vehicle travels (whether on the road, or in the sky), it is followed by the
vultures from the media.
While I can relate with pain, anguish, and helpless of losing a child,
Tori's parents have to contend with so much more. We were with Darrel every
step of the way, and though none of us knew what to expect, we faced it
together. He left this world the same way he entered it, with Rebecca and I
right by his side. For Tori's family, that little bit of comfort will never be
there. Their daughter was lured away by another woman, probably claiming to
have lost her dog, and from what we know, was most likely killed a short time
later by the older accused man. The family also had to endure the police,
media, and public treating them as prime suspects, while the true criminials
were living only a few blocks away from where Tori used to call home.
What happened in between I don't know, nor do I ever want to know, but the
trial of those disgusting individuals will no doubt make known all the horrid
details. With the Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka case in the not so distant past
still fresh in the public consciousness, one can only hope things were
different for Tori. Hopefully finding their daughter's remains will provide
her parents with some sense of closure, but with constant glare of the media
not going anywhere anytime soon, the scars that will never heal will continue
to be open and festering for quite some time to come. My heart and thoughts
are certainly with them.
On a much lighter note, Revenue Canada did not make the mistakes of last
year, and my refund cheque arrived without issue. For those that don't recall,
they had in error processed my death instead of Darrel's, and put all financial
matters in an "Estate" footing. It took quite a while to sort out, but
fortunately we won't have to go through that this time around.
Today will be a day remembering Darrel. There will be Apple Juice in the
frig, McNuggets on our dinner table, and a tremendous hole in our lives. All
that he was and all that he could have been will be cherished.
Happy Birthday Darrel