Everyone has defining moments, the kind that you can point to and say “I remember where I was when…” For many people of my generation, we can remember where we were, what we were doing when Princess Diana died, when the aeroplanes crashed into the Twin Towers. For my parents generation, they remember when man first walked on the moon, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and so on.
For me, I add November 5, 2003.
November 4, 2003 was a fairly normal day in our abnormal life. We had some good friends from our Ontario days visiting us in Prince George, where we lived at the time. At home was Dad, Mum, and me. Jen was at school in Edmonton. We did the usual dinner, spend some time with Mum, go to bed. I likely stayed up late working on a paper in the den. I don’t really remember anything special about November 4th.
Sometime between 5 and 5:30 am on November 5th I woke up to Dad pounding up the stairs. He had been sleeping in the living room on one of our bunk beds, beside the hospital bed Mum had been sleeping in for a few months. I jumped out of bed and met Dad at the top of the stairs.
“She’s gone. She must have stopped breathing sometime after we were up at 1am. I woke up and didn’t hear the oxygen going any more and I knew something was wrong. She’s gone.”
And now, when people recite the old verse, “Remember, remember the Fifth of November…” I remember. But I remember someone else.