Something Like Normal

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Back to blogging, after a tragic week for us all

Apologies to regular readers, who have probably grown weary of coming here to see that, yet again, I have posted nothing new.

Last Thursday, I was writing away when news broke that a Cougar helicopter flight had ditched in the ocean. I work on the emergency response teams (in communications) with several offshore operators, so I was called in immediately.

On hearing the news of Flight 491, it seemed the entire province, caught and then held its collective breath, waiting to hear news. It was more than a day later that we exhaled, when Search and Rescue abandoned hope of finding any more survivors.

My role was mainly to host the news conferences and help coordinate media, so I was certainly in my element. Many anecdotes could be told from these last few days, but my policy is to not write about issues in which I and especially my clients are directly involved. To do so would be a conflict of interest, a breach of confidentiality, and just plain awkward.

However, I will say this: with very few exceptions, local media have conducted themselves admirably throughout this incident, allowing families of victims the privacy and dignity they requested. I spoke personally with many reporters, and each one expressed sentiments along these lines: This is the biggest story Ive ever covered, but I would prefer it never happened. We dont need stories like this.

In saying so, tears welled in the eyes of some reporters, so I know they were sincere. (For the record, I had a few teary moments too. I think we all did.)

There is much greater awareness nowadays of post trauma and several times friends and colleagues have asked how I am doing. Supporting such incidents isnt easy, but it was always clear to me that I am among the lucky ones. The real trauma is being borne by friends and loved ones of the deceased. That said, I will follow up in the days ahead to see how reporters, those who were deeply involved in this story, are feeling.

Although I am no longer working on this incident, I am finding it difficult to shift back into everyday writing mode. Its a challenge to think much about anything else, welcome though such distractions may be. Russell Wangersky wrote an insightful column about this state of mind in yesterdays Telegram.

This item means Im back to regular posting, and looking forward to getting on with it.

My thoughts are with those who cannot do so; whose lives are forever changed by this disaster. They must carry this weight for a lifetime.

May you find peace.

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  • Samantha
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    sharing my thoughts on how everything was handled through this very painful time was a relief in some ways. Having lost my father on the Ocean Ranger, at 11 years old, no closure because he was never found, I am grateful for the lessons well learned. Emergency response from all sides, media alike - asked and answered all questions with efficiency. The company as well, I'm sure will do their utmost to protect the families from enduring any further pain.

    Still much pain for the families to endure. The healing though from tonight's service at the Basilica will always hold a special place in my heart. Now the families can
    begin as all have been brought home to rest.

    May Robert Decker have the rest of us to help him carry the weight he may feel, in his time of healing as well.

    God Bless us all from land to sea