December 6 always is a difficult day for me. It’s our son’s birthday. And it’s December 6th.
Two weeks before he was due our car was totalled in a collision. Everyone was fine but we needed a loaner. It had a tire that went flat every night. I had to fill it before we went to bed and again first thing every morning, just in case. Of course our son decided he was arriving at 0330. The tire was flat. Nothing to do about it except drive slowly through the first snowstorm of the year the 30 km to the hospital. The rest, as they say, was history and we have been celebrating this day ever since.
Marc Lepine walked into Ecole Polytechnique a few years later. Observance of this day continues to remind us that we have yet to view each other, and particularly women, with a level of regard that halts violence, let alone treat them as equals. Equal is an old fashioned word but it has a simple resonance. I often pray for its reverberations.
Breakfasts and suppers have been for singing Happy Birthday and unwrapping gifts and parties. But I have tried, over the years, to stand vigil somewhere in the late afternoon where roses are laid and words read and silences observed and tears have frozen on cheeks. I don’t like the cold, so I hope there will be a day when I don’t feel the need to stand outside at a vigil, because some extraordinary amount of time went by when a woman was not harmed or humiliated by a man. Today a Toronto physician is dead by her husband’s hand. Out comes my parka.