Three years have passed since you left your earthly bodies and gained your angel wings among the clouds; 1,095 days, 26,280 hours. How did life without you happen so suddenly, like a whisper in the wind? At the very same time, how did three years arrive at a glacial pace? The clock must have stopped a million times. Time has stood still every time I see your face in my dreams, every time I think of your bright, beautiful, and vibrant smile. Time has stood still every time I replay the last time I saw you in action with your teammates, the most sacred brotherhood we never knew would become so much bigger than us all. Time stops altogether when I revisit the moment I found out that I lost you; when I learned I would never hug you again, kiss you again, take in the astonishing light of your being.
The thing about grief is that it has its own agenda. We cope by honoring you and the legacy you left behind; the imprint of your smile and the color of your eyes are tattooed on our hearts forever. Sixteen souls prematurely leaving us is too much weight to bear, so we help one another carry the heaviness and the loss through each day, each minute, each second.
Grief is complicated; it is a tumultuous relationship that no one ever wants to be in. It latches onto you and demands to be felt, and so we carry on by acknowledging our pain and allowing it to share our space – but it does not unpack and live here. Each and every one of you would want nothing more than to see our smiles, hear our laughter, and clap at our victories and new memories made; this is what keeps us putting one foot in front of the other.
We have 16 beautiful angels, our guardians among the stars. You shine additional light into our darkest days, and illuminate our paths so we can plant our tired, grief-stricken bones on solid ground. You are in every night sky, and every early morning sunrise.
1,095 days, 26,280 hours with an immeasurable hole in our lives, a wound in the shape of each and every one of you, a wound we delicately tend to each day.
You are our reasons why; you give us the will to continue on. Another year has arrived without you by our sides, and we will never understand why you were called home so prematurely; we will never hold all of the answers to our questions. So we will keep going for you, in honor of your beautiful souls; you give us the formidable strength to carry on.
This is a memorial tribute to the 16 beautiful lives lost in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan, Canada. Rest in paradise, and use your angel wings to soar together; you will forever be teammates on earth and teammates in Heaven.