Even the act of public grieving affected by COVID-19

At a different time, in a different year, there would be widespread heartbreak and anguish over the cowardly acts of a manical madman in central Nova Scotia this weekend.

That’s not to say Canadian citizens aren’t heartbroken and feeling competely gutted over the deadliest mass killing in our country’s organized history because we are. Rural Nova Scotia could emulate rural Ontario in many ways and it’s hard not see the scenes from the a rural part of the maritime province and see a resemblance to a place like Prince Edward County. Rolling farm land bisected by bumpy two lane roads that lead to and from small hamlets and villages.

Complete with forethought and preparation, a broken ‘human’ methodically started a gruesome, 12-hour campaign of terror and death late Saturday night. Donning an RCMP-like uniform and driving a replica police car complete with Mountie decals, this sadistic animal laid a trail of bloodshed in the killing of 23 innocent people before he met his ultimate demise at a service station Sunday morning.

An RCMP officer. A teacher. Two nurses. A child. Fathers and Mothers. Retirees. A brain cancer survivor. The number of Nova Scotians killed by this sick and twisted failure couldn’t even be accurately tabulated until late Monday as several of the crime scenes that stretched from the village of Portapique all the way south to Enfield, just north of Halifax, were deliberately set on fire by the perpetrator.

But the daily COVID-19 chaos we find ourselves in that has us encased and isolated has impinged on how we respond, react and process this tragedy.

Down east, where everyone knows everyone (Or at least your mother and father) there are some of the friendliest Canadians you will ever encounter. These good folks will have their ability to process grief and deal with emotions put to an ultimate test.

Just like in Prince Edward County and other small and rural, close-knit communities in Canada, those map dots in Nova Scotia mourn, remember and memorialize those gone before just like we do. At funerals, dressed in our Sunday best where we cry a lot at the realization of a life lost, hopefully laugh and smile a little when recalling a funny story or fond memory and share hugs with family and friends in the very public act of grieving. It’s funny how standing around with a cup of coffee and an egg salad sandwich after a funeral helps the grieving process.

The good people of Portapique and Debert and Wentworth and Shubenacadie should know Canadians from all over this country are sharing in their hurt at this time and are especially cognizant of the heartbreaking fact that COVID-19 will not cease to allow even a hour or two to celebrate the lives of those taken all too soon.

These are tragic days in a completely upside down world where nothing is normal. While Nova Scotians will try and put this behind them, may they find some solace in the fact their fellow Canadians are heartbroken alongside them.

-Jason Parks

 

PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY

MISSING MISS MICHELLE While her barbershop went dark some time ago, this photo by Linda Cole proves Michelle Mossey and the staff of John’s Barber Shop on Main Street are still thinking about their customers and vice versa. Cole writes “Not only do the people who work at John’s Barber Shop cut hair, but they’re a friendly link in the local grapevine. You go for a haircut, a bit of a gossip, or get teased if you call the County an island or the woods a forest. We miss all our downtown friends and there will be a lot of happy faces when Michelle opens her screen door for a cut and a catch up.” We emphatically agree. Have an interesting picture of our community from years past or a current snapshot of the County under COVID-19? Send it to us at gazette@bellnet.ca and it might just end up in Picturing Our Community. (Photo by Linda Cole)