Tag Archives: funeral

Planting A Little Love

19 Feb

Captain Snuggles

It has been almost four weeks. Four weeks since a family was shattered, and a Mom’s hopes for her son died with him.

Almost four weeks ago, my friend Amy sat in a rocking chair in a hospital room, and held her eight-month-old son David (Capt. Snuggles) as his life slipped away from him after a long and brave battle.

As Amy and her family grieve for Capt. Snuggles, as they try to come to terms with this massive shift in their world, they have to think of practicalities. Eating, sleeping, bathing. Work, school, household chores. The kinds of things that most of us do without even thinking become huge efforts for families dealing with this kind of tragedy. Because Amy does not inhabit the same world that most people do, where babies get to grow up and take first steps and utter first words, it can be so difficult to understand what she must be going through.

In addition to the regular practicalities of daily living, Amy and her family have to think about money, more so than many of us. They have many, many expenses to pay off. Capt. Snuggles had a liver transplant and five months worth of extensive, highly specialized medical care. That doesn’t come cheap. He had to be given a funeral. That doesn’t come cheap, either. And so, my friend – my brave, courageous, amazing friend – finds herself struggling to pay off expenses relating to the beloved son that she grieves for.

If you would like to help, there is a way. For today only, you can win one of many lovely prizes in exchange for donating money to Amy and her husband Jamie, to go towards the medical and funeral costs. All you have to do is plant a little love.

Please consider helping. I could not think of a more deserving family.

Farewell To A Hero: RIP Sgt Ryan Russell

18 Jan

Today, in a departure from my usual selection of topics, I want to talk about the police.  Depending on who you are talking to, this can be a surprisingly heated topic.  People go on about police brutality, racial profiling, and all of that kind of bad stuff.  I am not denying that it happens.  Some police officers are total asshats (I saw that word in another blog and liked it, and I’ve been itching to use it in a sentence ever since).  There are the bad cops who will discriminate, abuse, and power-trip from here to the moon.

But for the most part, police officers are the good guys.  The cop who responded when George accidentally called 911 at the age of eleven months was very understanding.  He allowed us to take a picture of himself with George, and with the two firefighters who also came.  We didn’t get hit with a fine, our child was not incarcerated, and everyone went home happy.

Then there was the policeman named Larry who took time for James, who was two at the time and had squealed excitedly upon seeing a real police car.  Larry showed James the car and chatted with him, and by the end of it James was wide-eyed with the wonder of talking to a “real policecar man”.  It may have only been five minutes of Larry’s time, but I will never forget how his kindness made my child happy.

And today, as the city mourns, Toronto’s Finest are burying one of their own, Sgt. Ryan Russell, killed in the line of duty last week.

In a sequence of events that seems so pointless, a man stole a snowplow and for two hours he used it to go on a terrifying rampage through city streets.  He crashed into parked cars, drove into a storefront, and rammed into a taxi occupied by its driver.  As Sgt. Russell tried to intervene, the snowplow was driven right into him and crushed him.  He was taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries.

One police officer taken from us while trying to serve and protect.

One woman thrust into widowhood far too young.

One two-year-old child who will grow up without his father.

An entire city grieving for the first Toronto police officer killed in the line of duty since 2002.

As I write this article, the funeral has just started.  More than 10,000 people are there – friends and family members of the man being honoured, members of the public, police officers from all across North America.  The show of respect is phenomenal.  And that’s the way it should be.  Police officers are heroes.  They deserve recognition and appreciation while they are alive, and they deserve a damned good send-off when they die.

R.I.P. Sgt Russell.  You are a hero and I am shedding a tear for you.