On Monday, April 23 I had arranged to work from home due to construction starting in my apartment, which is directly across from Mel Lastman Square. My youngest son came to help me when the contractor didn’t show up.
About 1:30 pm my son heard emergency vehicle sirens. I told him that was normal – it is Yonge street after all. However, he went onto the balcony and could see so many emergency vehicles that we went down to see what was happening.
I wish curiosity had not been with me. This was just after the terrible rampage of violence against women. The bodies of the dead and people requiring medical attention were everywhere. People were standing in stunned silence. At that point it was thought to be a terror attack.
Given the level of first responder activity, I told my son that we should leave them space to do their work and return to the apartment. However, I was frightened by all that I had seen and went to stay with a friend.
I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat and was having great difficulty getting past these tragic events. Unconsciously I was wearing black every day. A friend told me to visit the memorial, but when I did there were people there taking selfies. I left.
They day of the big memorial in Mel Lastman Square I couldn’t even get home. My street was blocked off an packed with media vehicles, the media helicopters were circling overhead. It just felt like another media circus. Not a place where I could come to terms with the events.
A couple of days later I was coming from the subway and noticed a man with terrible leg injuries asking for food. I took him into Loblaws and had him guide me to what he would like to eat. The staff in the store stared at him and gave such awful attitude it made me ashamed for them.
I could find in me the compassion to help this person: the opportunity to make a difference for someone who had not been robbed on life. Can we find in us the ability to feel compassion for Alex Minassian? For his family? If people had been able to reach Alex in his younger years, perhaps been kind and more accepting, would there have been a different outcome?
I challenge myself to look at the whole person and try to find a connection.
What do you challenge yourself to do?