Friday, February 21, 2014

When One of our Own Goes Missing; Help find Loretta



Loretta Saunders is missing.

Her family is in that  desperate space between wanting to hope and fearing the worse.  It's a parent's, nightmare, a sibling's torture, a family's worse fears.  It's a space we never hope to inhabit.


The news is full of the Saint Mary's University student's disappearance from her Halifax community on February 13, they have found her car and the people who were driving it in Harrow, Ontario have been arrested and charged with stealing the car. 

Law enforcement are considering the matter suspicious now on February 21th, over a week after the Newfoundland and Labrador native vanished.


According to a CTV new article,"Saunders's car was found earlier this week near Windsor, Ont., and Halifax police issued arrest warrants for Blake Leggette, 25, and Victoria Henneberry, 28.
Ontario Provincial Police arrested Leggette and Henneberry earlier this week on charges of possession of stolen property, which were stayed during a court appearance Friday in Windsor.
One of their lawyers said they were also remanded for six days to give authorities from Nova Scotia time to bring them to Halifax."

But news stories only tell part of the story.  To read today's update go here.

When people go missing oftentimes to us they're a name on the television with a photograph.  We are reasonably horrified and express much concern.  Perhaps we pray or show support through social media.

All of these are good things but often after some time we let that slip by and sort of shuffle it into the back of our hearts. Perhaps the reality of the situation is a bit too difficult to cope with.  Perhaps we're afraid to look at a person that could as easily been our family member, our friend.

Still, Loretta Saunders is one of our own.  She is from Newfoundland and Labrador. Her parents reside in the province as do most of her family and friends.  This could easily have been someone from our family.

It hits too close to home to ignore.

So we here in the province stare a little longer at the photo, read a little more.  Do we know the family? Is there a connection?  

I read the story of Loretta like all of you and shared it on my Facebook page at which point a friend of mine here in Central Newfoundland messaged me that she was closely connected to the family of the missing woman and her sister, Delilah who is now in Halifax and that the entire family is absolutely distraught  over the situation.  My friend is worried to distraction.  I asked if I could help perhaps by helping in the fundraising effort and she said yes. She wished to remain private and I respect that.  How a person deals with this sort of thing is very personal, some of us our loud and out there, some of us offer support from a quieter place. Each way is valid.  

While it's mostly about "where is Loretta?" it's also about "who is Loretta?"

A person is not a newspaper article, a case number or a photograph on a Face Book meme. They are the sum total of all they have been, who they are at this moment and the potential their future holds wrapped up in the intricate web of the relationships and memories they've created from the time of their birth.  

The photographs of Loretta  Saunders show a happy person with a full life. She is a graduate student, she is in love, she is three months pregnant. She has so much to look forward to.

Loretta's family knows who she is to them. We can never even come close to knowing, no matter what I write here, no matter what you read elsewhere. Only they know. But what we can do is catch a glimpse of the person through their eyes.

She shares a past with her sister, her mother, her father and all of her family and friends.

She shares her present with all of those people plus a boy friend, friends and faculty at her school and the baby she looks forward to in seven months.

Her potential was summarized in a message from a professor at SMU and Loretta's Thesis supervisor who had worked with her for over 8 months says  "Loretta is a uniquely brilliant student the likes of whom don't come around often. The last time I met with Loretta Saunders, two weeks ago today, I had never felt more inspired and proud of a student. We discussed herthesis project, which she had carefully presented in a proposal that was the best written project I had ever read in seven years of university teaching; teaching well over 1,000 students. I even told her so."


When a person disappears from their lives it rips a hole in the fabric of a family.  Family members tear apart their own lives to try to find the loved-one, trying to stay optimistic, trying to cope.

That concern prompted Loretta's sister, Delilah,  to fly in from her home in Vancouver and she is now there, alone, trying to spearhead a campaign to find clues, to find answers, to find her sister.

Compounding the fears of the family is the fact that Loretta was working on a thesis about the missing and murdered aboriginal women in this country--an epidemic of them--and now has become one of the former.

Adding to the situation for the family is their concern for the sister, Delilah,  there searching  there for days with no one from her family to be with her.  For a time there was no support as she waited for news about her sister all alone, a responsibility no person should have to assume themselves.

Family has met her there now. But it's still a burden.

They simply don't have the financial means to leave their works, fly to Halifax, be there indefinitely. It costs too much for this regular Newfoundland family.

But they are there, today they're doing press conferences, a group are putting up posters and the family is working hard to find Loretta.  

Friends have started an online fundraising account to to help the family financially during this time.

I am appealing on their behalf for anyone who can to assist this family.  To help seach for Loretta and to help this family find their missing loved one, to bring them some reprieve from the turmoil of this time in their lives.

After all she is from this province which, related or not, makes her one of our own.

You can help in several ways.

Join the Facebook group  and offer moral support to the family of Loretta Saunders.

Pass the word around on Twitter hashtag #findloretta

Donate to get family to Halifax with Delilah to support her and help look for Loretta HERE

Share this post and ask your friends to do the same.

It's the least we can do when one of our own goes missing.

Thank you.

Carolyn

Friday, February 7, 2014

"It's Permanent...until it isn't."

In light of the recent events regarding the decision by DFO to not remove the oil from the sunken ship Manolis L that has been leaking since last March I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve decided that trying to get this resolved from the outside is not going to work. I’ve decided to infiltrate the government and fix this from the inside.  That’s right, I’ve made the decision to become a minister in Stephen Harper's cabinet. I’ve given it serious consideration and study and after investigating current ministers I think I’ve figured out exactly what I need to do.  It’s really simple, which brings me to step one.

I have to get simple. I think a few rocks to the head will do the trick or a game of shinny without a helmet. If I still have an IQ of over 100 after trying those things maybe I’ll watch a few Rob Ford Videos and use up some remaining grey matter trying to figure out what the hell he’s on about.

Once I’ve lowered my intelligence getting elected will be easy. Can you say Election Reform boys and girls?  Oh yes, that wonderful new bill they’re just putting through parliament to be in effect for the next time we get to mark our X.  No more robocalls, just plain old disenfranchising the voters who would vote for the other side.  Have you heard the new CPC slogan?  Welcome to Cheaters R Us.” Catchy and kinda nails it uh?
With that taken care of I just need to shed my desire to care even one iota that anything I say makes me look like a complete and utter imbecile. Things like, “This is the permanent solution until it isn’t” and “A fisherman from Fogo says we’re awesome!” will become part of my regular dialogue.  I must be subtle. I can’t just say I’m an idiot. I need to prove it by my actions.

Then I must learn to spin. Not the making yarn from sheep’s wool(the kind they try to pull over your eyes) but the kind where no matter what kind of douche bag you are you make it seem like your douche- baggery is really a good thing.  “Did you kick that kitten?” “The kicking of kittens is an integral part of the country’s economy. Without the occasional kitten kicking the price of gasoline would drop and then there would be a drought in Saskatchewan. Vote for me so I can save Flin Flon.”

The casting away of principles is also important.  They have no place in the Harper government.  Also, do not ever pay a senator’s expense bill to get him out of trouble unless you do so and don’t tell the Prime Minister because you absolutely must never do such a thing unless you need to do it but don’t tell the Prime Minister.

String hiding is also a skill you must learn.  Invisible thread allows your puppeteer to control you without it being very obvious. If you’re one of the unfortunates that is made into a hand puppet then practice wiping the grimace off your face every time you give a speech with Harper’s hand up your arse. In the case of Peter McKay it’s wipe the smile off your face…but…I digress.

I must always remember that the Harper government is opinion optional. You have one option. Don’t have an opinion.  However should you require an opinion at some point one will be provided to you. Please copy it in triplicate and use all three wisely.  You may not be given another opinion. Stealing the opinions of the Prime Minister is allowed, indeed it’s encouraged. He’s that kinda guy-fist bump!

So there you have it. These are requirements to become a minister in the cabinet of Stephen Harper.  I think I can meet all of them quite easily.  Anybody up for a game of shinny?  A fisherman from Fogo says we’re awesome! Oops sorry kitty, but at least Assiniboia is taken care of. 


Seriously though, keep the faith.  A Tory government is somewhat like a cofferdam. In the, er, unusual sentniments of Fisheries Minister, the Hon. Gail Shea, “It’s permanent…until it isn’t.”

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Being Alone and Lonely


It's a quiet Saturday morning and the emptiness of the house surrounds me like a shroud.  It's as easy to get maudlin and melancholy as to get motivated but I'm going to go with the latter.  Being alone is something to appreciate.  Certainly for someone with my strong independent streak it's absolutely desirable to have alone time.  How I suddenly came to have so much of it is irrelevant.  Life has a way of forcing you into these situations where you have to cope with that which you did not expect.  It's happened here recently and there is nothing to be done but carry on.

Today the sun shines and the air has a hint of potential.  Spring potential. It's one of those shiny days that teases you.  Since it's the first day of February you know spring is a long way off, but the taste of it is on your tongue when you go out into the mild air.  It tempts you into longing and away from sitting in the present which is the only place you can truly sit.

It's a domestic day today with laundry and cleaning and dusting at the forefront. It's also an administrative day as I write some content for a website and create ad copy for a magazine.

It's a writing day but only in a research sense as I once again immerse myself in the happenings of Change Islands' life eighty years ago.

Lately I've been longing for the days of poetry. When inspiration and the time to follow up on it with words lived side by side. Perhaps these upcoming days alone will create those opportunities again.  Perhaps that's the very reason for them?

The key to being alone and doing it well is to really like the person you're alone with.  I enjoy my own company and never really do feel lonely.  Lonely is a desperate place and I've always observed that the decisions people make out of loneliness are the ones that often lead them down the road to the most miserable times of their lives.  They settle for less than they deserve rather than learn the satisfaction of being alone and thriving there.  Opportunity frequents the quiet but people, desperate not to be alone, can't wait for the sound of it.

With billions of people in the world no one need ever be lonesome however when finding themselves in that place it might be better, instead of falling into the melancholy of it, to move towards the motivation part of it.  Go give someone a helping hand, bake them a bread, knit them something, reach out and make their lives a bit fuller. After all they may be a tad lonely also.

For someone as social as me one might think being alone would be a hardship.  It isn't.  Instead I sit down and write and then get up and do.

A full life is one of balance and the quiet times are when I create.  In the same way your strength builds not during the workout but during the rest period of a fitness program, such is how your emotional and mental strength builds in the quiet times.

And so I am alone.  Alone should not be your master, it should be your servant.  I will not serve the silence, it shall serve me.  Enjoy your day.

Carolyn