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The Empty Chair-by Heidi McLaughlin-Revised

Posted: April 14, 2018

Canadians are known for being polite, but not when it comes to hockey. The smell, sights and sounds of a hockey game bring out the unleashed passion of the faithful and dedicated Canadian fans. Don’t ever get caught up in a conversation about the opposite team, you’re about to hear more than our polite “Ay!”

In the last week I’ve seen that Canadian passion turned into deep compassion as our country, and the world grieves the horrific accident claiming the lives of sixteen members of the Humboldt Broncos. The tremendous outpouring of love on this team is unprecedented, and this story has touched the lives of all of us.


Even those of us who are not hockey fans know the pain of deep grief and loss.

Like the flavour of the week, the support, hype and attention will soon fade away. In a week this will be old news. But the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers will go home to a place that will never be the same again. They will have to learn to live in a home that will always have an empty chair. This loss and pain does not go away after the funeral, or when the last camera and newscast is packed away. This searing sorrow will go on and on and on. While everyone else gets on with their lives, these families are stuck with their heartbreak. When one of the family members run into someone in the mall or the street, many people will turn away because they don’t know what to say or do. The delivered meals will stop, the phone calls become less and less because it’s time to move on with life. For everyone else, but not them.

My heart aches for all the families who have lost their beloved child. I don’t know any of them, but many of you readers will be connected to them in some way. I plead with you to not forget the families’ grief that will go on for a very long time. Don’t ignore them when you run into them. Listen to their pain. Pray for them.

Send them a card or stop by and say “hello.”

Grief is a very personal and long, lonely journey. Once the limelight goes away, the darkness creeps in and reality hits like a stake in the heart. My dear readers, the Bible says to “…mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15 NIV). While we are on our journey of fulfilling our hopes and dreams, the Humboldt families’ dreams were crushed. Let’s be compassionate and walk with them as long as we can. Let’s bring God’s Glory and beauty into a sad story in the history of Canada.






Posted in: Canadian Hockey, death, empathy, empty chair, Families, funeral, God's love, grief, Humboldt Broncos, listen, mourn, pray, Prayer, sympathy

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