There’s a grief that can’t be spoken,
There’s a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables,
Now my friends are dead and gone
The poignant song from Les Miserables sums up the festive season for so many of us this year: Empty places at the table. A voice silenced forever. A chair once special for someone so dear and full of life now sits empty.
It’s not just COVID that’s wrought pain and suffering. It’s been a tragic year in so many ways.
With the virus dominating headlines, it’s easy to forget others who are missing or lost.
In January, we mourned the deaths of 138 people with ties to Canada when Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by Iranian military shortly after leaving Tehran airport.
At a time when they should be feeling the warmth of family and friends, their kin have nothing but empty chairs and tables to remind them of this ache in their hearts. Their stories were typically Canadian. Many were young. Some were students. All held hopes for a bright future in this country.
There were tragic losses in our armed forces. In May, we lost Captain Jennifer Casey of the Snowbirds squadron. In April, six members of the Canadian Armed Forces died when a Cyclone helicopter crashed while deployed with HMCS Fredericton in the Ionian Sea.