After Candace's murder, I saw death lurking at every corner. Candace's death was the first --- and it seemed to last for the seven week we didn't know where she was. Once her body was found, death attached itself to profound grief that lasted years.
During a regular doctor's appointment, which you would think would be safe, the doctor's office miscalculated on the amount of Cliff's allergy shot, vaccinated him and he nearly died of an overdose. He had to spend three hours under observation. He came home shaken.
A little while later, Odia and I walked over to a McDonalds near our house. It must have been rush hour because the traffic was fast and steady. Then suddenly as we were walking and chatting, she thought I said we needed to cross the highway and stepped right into traffic, I pulled her back just in time. Shaken.
And then we went swimming and Syras fell into the deep end of the pool and someone scooped him out just in time - leaving us shaken.
I thought death was stalking us. At this point the tension of living with imminent death was too much and I felt myself giving in to death. Whenever I drove past a cemetery, I yearned to lie down with them. I would never have thought of suiciding but the temptation was there. And then I was given a choice.
I think Dave Loewen's sensed this heaviness because he sent Cliff and I on an assignment to document Camp Seton, an exceptionally beautiful children's camp, It was so fun to pretend we were a filming crew on the hunt for that picture perfect moment. To help us, the Seton camp director had planned a chuck wagon ride. The plan was that we would videotape the wagon filled with children as they came down a hill along a dusty trail.
At the bottom of the hill, as I was looking for the perfect camera angle I heard a strange sound. Cliff yelled a warning to me. "I think they're coming...and they're out of control!"
Sure enough, they were stampeding down the hill. I hid behind some bushes alongside the fence. Surely they'd stay on the trail. They wouldn't run through the fence!
But the team veered off the road and heading right for me! I couldn't believe it. I was in a small ditch, and I could see those huge hooves pounding up the dust at eye level and the rider desperately pulling at the reins. It was like a scene out of a wild West movie.
I had seconds, but seconds can be a long time. If I stayed frozen, I could go to be with Candace. I would find relief. I wouldn't have to deal with the trauma of life anymore - and then I saw the faces of my other two children.
I jumped— just in time. I felt the wind of horse's hooves rushing past me. I was left bruised and scratched. The only casualty was my $3.99 watch from Zellers, which had been smashed by the barbed wire slashing at my wrists.
Somewhere in the research, I learned that 100% parents of murdered children contemplate suicide at some point.
My mantra during this time was "we can choose to die a thousand deaths, or only once." - we needed to accept the fear and "let it go," over and over again (7X70).
We needed to concentrate on living the moment - which is all we have anyway.
Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. - Miyamoto Musashi