Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 30, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with 3 comments

Doctor’s Brook, Nova Scotia

(Pete MacDonald Photo)


So long, April. Close the door behind you.

I never lament the passing of a day, a month or a year. Every day is precious. Yes, in our lives, we are all bound to have an “annus horribilis” a Latin phrase that the Queen used many years ago in one of her year- end speeches. It means “horrible year”. All of us might look back on April as our collective “annus mensis” or “horrible month”.

It can be safely argued that there has never been a time in most of our lives where virtually everyone on the planet has been experiencing something similar. There is no question that those who died of Covid-19 are the primary victims but there has been a lot of collateral damage, not the least of which is the global financial crisis that is going to be felt for a very long time. We know that our children and grandchildren will be a part of the workforce that will be responsible for paying down the trillions of dollars of debt incurred by massive injections of money into the economy in the past few months.

Equally devastating might be the long- term emotional and psychological effects of social distancing. We have not been able to see loved ones in the flesh. We have not been able to mourn or celebrate; tears of joy and sorrow have been, by and large, a solitary exercise.

The indescribable tragedy in Nova Scotia has left us all feeling bereft, bewildered and lamenting the loss of innocence. And terribly, terribly sad. Something so incredibly horrible could never happen here… but it did.

Many of us found comfort listening to music and sharing music with others. Others watched virtual masses on Facebook. We tried to stay connected as best we could. None of these things can replace a warm embrace.

Amid all of the gloom, one person stands out as a beacon of hope, a voice of optimism in a sea of despair.

Avon Brophy is the mother of Heidi Stevenson, the young RCMP officer who gave her life while trying to keep others safe. Avon spent many years in Antigonish and was a well-known and well-respected member of our community.

Like so many others, I reached out to Avon in the days after the tragedy. Her response was calm and reassuring. Since then, I have seen a few of her posts. I have no idea how someone has the fortitude to speak words of wisdom and comfort to all of us when, surely, her heart is breaking. Her words have been a soothing balm. Her courage in the face of unspeakable pain almost defies comprehension.

All of us have been reaching out to thank many people whiplashed by the pandemic and one of the saddest days in the history of Nova Scotia. All of them deserve our heartfelt gratitude.

Avon Brophy stands above them all in my humble estimation. We all need something to hold on to even though that is physically impossible these days.  But words often transcend outward signs of affection and Avon’s words give us hope for better days ahead.

I certainly don’t have the authority to issue a province wide decree but if I could, I would say the following: “Thank you, Avon, on behalf of all Nova Scotians.”

In the words of Rita MacNeil, “You discovered a treasure no other has seen.”

May Heidi rest in peace.


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