Masset Magic: Building protection from a wave of grief

By Jana McLeod

Times are tough down here at the north end. Many are struck speechless. I’m no exception as I sit here at the keyboard, unsure of what to say. The sadness is palpable.

I watched as O’Brien worked with the riprap along the water, and thought that’s how communities are. Bear with me and use your imagination.

The massive excavator represented Creator. Its giant bucket picked up the huge stones with ease. I first thought those would be the elders, but I reconsidered. It could be the children too.

It takes many rocks to keep us all safe from storms and destruction. It works to a degree, but then a few really nasty winds and rising tides take out one of the solid boulders. The earth beneath is obliterated.

Our road crew heads out in the worst weather — all go to the break knowing the risks. Their safety isn’t guaranteed. Still the job must be done, protection has to be restored.

That’s how we are, together.

Haida Gwaii makes me humble when I realize its healing capacity. Going from 10 per cent of its populace, it’s now one of the strongest nations. This archipelago attracts people with its energy. We all want to bathe, and breath in its rejuvenating beauty.

The cost of our connections to one another means that we grieve often. We also discover strength in that vulnerability.

As if that’s not enough, we are all affected by the suicides of two celebrities. Absolutely everyone is touched by death, as we recall our family members who’ve passed.

This was brought home when Lizzy and Dani sang their iconic song “Dancing in the Sky.” Several people commented on how it brings tears every time. Greg Williams also sang “Hallelujah.” It’s both painful and soothing.

For me, I look at the lesson. I have to or I would lose myself. My father’s suicide, as hard as it was, made me realize how my children would process losing me that way.

I have been at the brink so many times wanting to make that choice, longing for relief, and that has always brought me back. It works both ways. We all are someone’s reason for living — we mean that much to one another.

Whether it’s taking a screenshot of something juicy, passing on gossip (even deaths), re-sharing racist memes, complaining about a business, I become entangled in the drama I intend to avoid and abhor. Passings reveal how small that is in the scheme of things.

I made my list for improvement. Hate the addiction, not the person; despise and seek solutions for mental illness, don’t judge the sufferer. Be authentic and show empathy. Ask, ask, ask for assistance — it’s out there. Talk about hurt, over and over, and defuse that bomb. Give! I have begun that journey and let me tell you, it feels fantastic. Fight for you and our children. Tell people you love them. Show respect, walk softly. Accept yourself and others.

God bless and take care.

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