A wailing as silent as the night arose in the room where we sat, eyes red and round and hollow, the blistered agonies of today and tomorrow and all the yesterdays that came before hidden deep in a pain that had been with them always.
It was a wailing not heard, but felt, and it lived tortured and quiet on the faces of the scarred and splintered hearts sitting next to me, writ large with the sorrowed history of their people and their nation. And it seared into my soul like the screaming of a wing-spread hawk or the breaking of an angel with nothing more to give.
I feel the same now as I did then, in 2019, at that funeral for 17-year-old Charlie, an Indigenous girl taken at age eight from a family I have known for 40 years, all of them struggling still with inter-generational trauma. The children’s graves being discovered at former residential schools have brought it all back.
Perhaps you feel as I do.
But is it enough?
Will the collective grief of compassionate Canadians bring meaningful change for our Indigenous people and put an end to what they have endured for so long? Or will it be business as usual after the shock fades and the weeping subsides? Because, as Charlie’s mom once said to me, “Sorry is not a word; it’s an action.”
And a forced apology from the Pope, or from anyone else, is no apology at all.
Maureen Kerr, Surrey