The phone rings. Sunday.
My sister Shirley.
“June, I have some bad news,
there has been an accident.”
‘An accident, someone hurt?’
“Helen. She and George and Scott
in the car.”
‘Are they all hurt?’
“No, just Helen.”
‘Merciful God. How bad?
Where is she now?’
“In the Kitchener Hospital.
Yes, it is bad.” ‘When?’
“Earlier today. They were on the
Grand Lake Road. Looking for
good places to snowmobile. A
snowstorm came up.”
“June, she is brain dead. At least the brain
surgeon says so. She is all wired up.
George doesn’t accept that.
Wants another opinion.”
‘Oh, God. I’ll come as fast as I can.
It will probably be Tuesday before I
can get there.’
“She always wanted to donate her organs.
She believed in that.”
‘Aren’t you rushing?’
“The surgeon says the brain waves are flat.
There is no chance.”
‘I’ll come. I have to get tickets. Prepare
the kids to be alone. Phone calls. Doug
will look in on them. I’ll be there, Shirley.’
Monday is a busy day, Bought a suit, bank,
tickets to Toronto Airport. Both my ex and
future husbands helped with expenses.
George met me at the Airport. Stressed but
kind. Told me on the drive to their home how it happened.
“Helen had been in front with me. Sunny day when we left.
Scott was in the back. Helen decided to change places
with Scott. She and Scott climbed over the seat,
laughing while they did. So she was in the back.
the snow was blinding. About 15 minutes after they
changed places a snow plow blade came through the
back window and struck her head. I fear the worst.”
We went directly to Kitchener Hospital. I am
faced with what I fear. Nurses are somber.
My dear sister, wires and tubes everywhere.
No sign of life. Three days like this. Where is her
soul? Looking down at us? It is not animating
We leave for George’s home, and Shirley drives in.
Discussion and decision. To hospital again.
Her face has changed in such a short time. Older.
Doctors are told.
Her remains are taken to a funeral home. Our
brother arrives. George and Scott, of course.
Their only child. She was the first of us four to go.
She was buried in the Waterdown Cemetery,
beside her mother.
Photographs of the three surviving siblings.
Our eyes reveal.
Grief sounds our depths
and leaves us changed forever.
Written by June in 2012, remembering back to approx. 1980