Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1996-06-13 Field Journal #8 @ Campbell River

June 13, 1996, Thursday, mostly sunny

[13:18 @ the Grays’ residence in Campbell River]

Today is going to be the toughest day since the beginning of the road tour. Of course I refer to this evening’s Port Alberni engagement, but also the amount of media done:

- 09:15 phone interview from Ruth’s apartment with Denise of the Campbell River Mirror,

- 10:00 in person interview with Rob of the Port Hardy Gazette at the Gazette office,

- 14:30 in person interview with Quentin Dodd of the Campbell River Courier at the Courier office, and

- 17:00 in person interview at the Tanner’s with Chris Beacom of the Parksville-Qualicum News.

Now, I’m writing this at Wayne and Anita Gray’s, with an hour to spare before the Courier interview. I was drawn back to the Grays as if by a magnet. I just couldn’t stop thinking about them since I heard their tragic-heroic story. Most of all, I was haunted by the moment when their children were burnt to death. I have no doubt that Tears in Heaven would have the same effect on them as it does on me, no matter how much time has passed. This alone brings them deep into my being. Although I haven’t yet shared with them my Christopher story, I know they know I understand.

The drive from Port Hardy back to Campbell River was meditative. Inevitably, I was drawn back into the Gray’s journey through pain. I thought if I were them, back then, when my beloved children were incinerated within reach of me, and their screams were echoing every moment in the chambers of my heart, and themselves suffering the worst of physical agonies, I would wish for death. Perhaps they did, too. And yet they lived, and recovered, and brought up two subsequent children, and now, without a doubt, are savoring very moment of their meaningful lives. The very fact that they are alive strikes me as miraculous. How I could even think about dying not that long ago is now beyond me. Now, it is the legendary “So much to do; so little time.”

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