Friday, March 28, 2008

Drunk Drivers: It IS a dead end road

Today I went with my daughter and about 15 other teens and a bunch of parents to stand with a friend who was very badly hurt - nearly killed - by a drunk driver on November 18th 2006.

Go here for the first installment and HERE for the next
More HERE and HERE.

I cannot begin to find words to describe sitting there listening to those people's vicitim impact statements.

I cannot imagine how one lives through a cop coming to one's door at 1 a.m. with a wallet and cell phone and the news that your child was killed by a drunk driver.

I cannot imagine how one lives through a child being in a coma for six weeks and that the rest of that child's life will be lived in a wheel chair or how one deals with the "what happens to my child when I'm gone?" part of that story.

I thought, for a second, that I felt sorry for the guy who killed Connor, so badly injured Mike Hagar and who's left John Broadbent with serious emotional scars.

Only for a second though.

See, as Mike's mom so eloquently stated, it is a priviledge to use mind-altering drugs. Along with that priviledge comes RESPONSIBILITY. That means if a person decides they're using alcohol to the point of imparment they have the RESPONSIBILITY to make sure no other person suffers from their drunken state.

The guy who killed Connor got drunk all by himself - he chose that state - but he did nothing at all to protect people.

And he killed a guy, maimed another for life and seriously damaged another guy. And two weeks after that, his FaceBook profile has, as his favourite activites, "Drinking."

And that's not it. Three families are directly, permanently and devastatingly affected.

A HUGE group of friends lost their innocence along with losing a really, really great friend.

A school's population was unalterably changed by this 'accident.'

So no, I don't feel sorry for the driver. He has serious problems. Rumour has it he'd had several previous charges for DWI - seven I've heard. ONE is too many.

Yes, he's going to do jail time. Yes, he's remorseful.

Yes, in a few years, he'll walk out of prison with a fully functioning body and mind. He'll get a job; he might have a wife and he might have children. Yes, he'll probably never forget.

But he'll have a life.

Mike? Unending boredom; loss of freedom entirely; loss of speaking ability; loss of mobility; loss of a best friend; loss of a business; loss of many friends, because they don't know what to say or how to act; probable loss of marriage prospects and children; loss of independence.

Connor. Dead.

Connor's family ...

John's family...

Nope. No sympathy for the driver. None. He deserves every second of suffering he endures because what he suffers will never, not in a million, billion years equal that of those who by no fault of their own, lost everything.

I wonder how much a taxi would have cost.....

Certainly not that many lives.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Religion sucks

Criminal negligence disguised as religion! If you're a right-winger, fundamentalist "christian," you can let your sick children die without fear of going to death row. Nice.

Girl Dies After Parents Pray for Healing Instead of Seeking Medical Help

This is so sad. I’m all for freedom of religion, but this didn’t have to happen.

An 11-year-old girl died after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical help for a treatable form of diabetes, police said Tuesday. Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said Madeline Neumann died Sunday.

“She got sicker and sicker until she was dead,” he said.

Vergin said an autopsy determined the girl died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body, and she had probably been ill for about 30 days, suffering symptoms like nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness. The girl’s parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, attributed the death to “apparently they didn’t have enough faith,” the police chief said.

The family does not attend an organized church or participate in an organized religion, Vergin said. “They have a little Bible study of a few people.”

I hope this sends shock waves around the world to this type of community so it never happens again. I grieve for that little girl. Can you imagine the pain and suffering she was subjected to for thirty straight days?

Ah... so the rules only apply to everyone BUT you?

I see.

About 10 years ago, you ordered me, in no uncertain terms, to stay away from your family. As I'm decidedly uninterested in your weird, pathologically insular family, I happily complied and continue to do so.

However, despite 14 years having passed, you persist in contacting my family.

A fool is defined by his actions. As your choice of family members is two, bitter old women, it's an interesting, odd definition.... Like definitely attracts like. Ridiculous. Whatever do you hope to gain?

As for the guilty parties, you can protest all you want that you love your children, but your actions reveal another story. Why you continue to fraternize with a person who abused your child and your grandchildren is beyond comprehension.

You're all silly and you all deserve each other.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Holidays and stuff

I've been preparing the Easter meal today (yeah, I know, I'm a heathen... what am I doing?). It struck me today that I haven't ever smelled an apple that didn't make me think of Nova Scotia.

The smell of apples draws me instantly into many, many memories of Nova Scotia and why that apple smell is so delicious: it has nothing to do with the fruit really and everything to do with peace.

As I cut up and cored the apples, I realised - maybe it finally crystallised - that what I mean by Nova Scotia is not the province but my aunt and uncle's house in Garland and their farmstead in general. More than that, Nova Scotia is certain people.

I suppose one always knows at some level that a place one visits is the sum of the people who populate it and that, without those people, that place loses its essential element.

We were recently in Nova Scotia and stayed with my aunt and uncle up there. My grandmother lives with my aunt and uncle and it think it was her very advanced age that suddenly and sharply dragged me into the present - the one where my lovely aunt and uncle are not 30 years old anymore, despite that, in person, they are no different than my childhood memories of them and where I harbour a very real but childish wish that nothing will ever change in Nova Scotia.

In the last 10 years, as I've left behind many traditions that have no relevance for me and my family, I've struggled with how to replace those with traditions that are specific to us and to create some context for those. The four days we spent with our family in the east finally cracked open a door towards building those traditions.

My aunt is a deft and wonderful cook. She makes the most magnificent food and she does it with what looks like no effort. Deliciousness pours out of her capable fingertips. Her buns and doughnuts are such delights as cannot be explained. Suffice to say even the fullest belly cannot resist just one more cloud-like dinner roll slathered with butter.

Suppers with my aunt and uncle are delightful and relaxing and are characterized by much giggling and the occasional sharing of a family secret or recipe - how that delicious pie crust comes together, for instance, or how Uncle Clippy got that name anyway. After supper, in a real-life scene from a Norman Rockwell that only we know about, the men slip into the living room while the 'girls' sip after supper tea. Somehow, with no break in the flow of the evening, the dishes are done and put away.

I'm not sure if my aunt and uncle realise the how profoundly important they've been to me and my sisters; we live on the almost absolute other side of the country - some 7000 kilometres away - so we don't see each other often but their influence when we were children, and much more so now that we are adults with eyes open and whatever innocence lost, is profound.

That influence, and the constant nature of their lives and that place, is solid, dependable ground. For those of us whose lives have been lived occasionally struggling on ground that looks solid but is actually brutal quicksand, such ground allows us to breathe and focus.

So, auntie and uncle, for our family dinner tonight, I'm serving apple pie that reminds me of you, that my sweetie will have for breakfast tomorrow (because, really, why not?) and home made dinner buns that are never going to be as good as yours but we'll drown them in strawberry jam and eat too many anyway; and we will laugh and giggle and have tea and share some family secrets and pass on a recipe or two - but not the pie crust, cause that one's a keeper; and, while I try to get the dishes done by the same magic as you do, out of the corner of my eye, I'll see that tuft of sweet-smelling hay that uncle Bill gave me (he thought that was so funny and he'll probably think me nuts because I smell that hay every day), which is now firmly attached to the wall in my kitchen; and we'll send the men off to the living room while the girls have their tea and we will celebrate important, real things in place of anonymous holidays that we're supposed to observe (who says, actually?); and maybe I can give my family a taste of Nova Scotia - what it really is.

Love you all much.