A lot can happen in a short time.
I spent much of the last month away from home – almost two weeks in the Fraser Valley taking a course, and then a short stint on the west coast of Vancouver Island, as part of a team assigned to an investigation.
Wildfire smoke clogged the valley, the debris of millions of incinerated trees hung in the air for days on end. The floating particles found their way into my lungs and permeated my clothes. Every piece of clothing I wore outside reeked.
While I was in the valley, a police officer was murdered not that far away. I was in a room full of cops when the news broke. Grief hung in the air, as real, and more hurtful than the ash from the fires.
Everyone on the course had many years, even decades, on the job. The officer who was killed, had barely three – her career was in it’s infancy, her life, in many ways, just beginning.
When the course ended, I drove home. The wildfire smoke did not dissipate until I reached the ocean, more than 100 kilometers away. I took a ferry home. I was so glad to see my family.
I took the same ferry again last week. One of thousands who gathered for the slain officer’s funeral. Her family, friends and colleagues spoke so well. It was clear that she was a special and remarkable person.
It was in the days between ferry rides that I was on the west coast of the island. My unit investigates death. The small town where this occurred is a tourist mecca. However, we were not there as tourists. We stood out everywhere we went in our pressed pants and dress shirts. A few days in this town reinforced a truism of our work – that when someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly, the effects are wide, profound and long lasting.
Despite my observations, and my job, none of the things I write about above were about me. My career, and my current job, put me in a position where I have the privilege of trying to play a part, however small, in trying to help people through dark times.
However, the things I write about above do affect me. They continue to mold and shape me even though I’m over fifty years old, with more than two decades on the job.
This morning I’m at home with my wife and daughter. There’s coffee and juice, waffles, dolls and a Barbie movie. A perfect Sunday morning. Outside it’s grey, the fog hanging over the trees reminiscent of the wildflower smoke which hung over the valley.
Today I will run on trails, read whenever I have a spare moment, call my parents and hug my girls. I’m thankful to be at home.