So Many Shoes

“Our roads are littered with Empty Shoes.”

I think that may be the empty shoes tag line.   What do you guys think?

The Trans-Canada Highway is 8030km long according to Wikipedia.

Gracie and I were hit on October 21, 2010.

By June 21, 2014 , we could officially put a memorial marker at each kilometre of the Trans-Canada Highway from coast to coast for the Canadians  that have been killed by Impaired Drivers since Gracie was killed. (a)

One person for every kilometre from coast to coast.

“Our roads are littered with Empty Shoes”

(a)  calculated at 6 victims per day.  MADD statistics estimate 4 per day but also acknowledges it is probably low, so I choose 6.  I recognize that keeping statistics on this in Canada is poorly done.  After all, according to Stats Can our Gracie died of Cardiac Arrest, not a car crash.


Lip Service

I can’t even say that it’s just the government that pays lip service to Impaired Driving.  Wherever I go, there is great debate about gun registry laws.  Although people disagree on how to lower the number of gun deaths, there is great disagreement on how to do it.  Yet, we are quite content to spend 1+Billion dollars per year on prevention.  We don’t even flinch at that an yet the numbers still show that 80% of gun deaths are suicides.   We don’t spend $1+Billion dollars on suicide prevention programs…no we spend it on gun registries.

It shouldn’t be surprising then that we spend $81 Billion dollars on cleaning up after Impaired Drivers….not on prevention…not on punishment…just on cleaning up the carnage that they leave in their wake.

It should also be noted that there were 170 gun homicides last year and yet there were approximately 2000 Impaired Driver Homicides last year.  Sadly, I can only give an estimate on the number of Impaired Driver Homicides because no one keeps an accurate account.   If you don’t die at the scene and if charges for Impaired Driving causing Death are filed by the Crown Attorneys, then apparently you didn’t die at the hands of an Impaired Driver.

When are we going to learn that a car/truck is a deadly weapon just as much (more so) than a gun?  The only real difference is, for most people, that if you were to fire a gun at a person’s chest (a target of a person at a gun range) most of us would probably miss.  If you were to aim a vehicle at a person’s chest most of us would be hard pressed to miss.

Lip Service = I see the lips moving , saying what needs to be done but still nothing’s happening.

Forgiveness or Absolution?

The subject of forgiveness has often been raised to me and I think that I need to explain what I have learned about the subject of forgiveness over the last 3 years. One thing that I have learned is that when people discuss “forgiveness” what they are really discussing is “absolution” so maybe that is where to start.  What is the difference between forgiveness and absolution?

“Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.”

“Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability.”

“Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life.” (The Greater Good)

I guess the short answer to forgiveness is whether I am ready to let go of the anger….not yet.  It is what allows me to approach yet another person about the petition and to call yet another politician or reporter to try to educate them about the sad state of Impaired Driving in Canada.  With each person that truly listens and learns, I lose a little of that anger and with each new person I meet that has had a loved one stolen, I guess I gain a little of that anger back.

Really what most people want to know when they ask what it would take to forgive him should be what would it take for me to grant him absolution.

Absolution is forgiveness of a person’s act or sin.  And, in order to grant absolution, there needs to be a full confession of the sin. I guess that is what it would take.  Not some half-baked, “I’m sorry” that the courts and media would accept but a true “Catholic Church death bed worthy” apology for what he did.

“I’m sorry that I drank so much that I was twice the legal limit and absolutely was not in control of my faculties or my ability to drive.  I’m sorry that I was speeding down the road.  I’m sorry that I was too drunk to take my foot off of the gas pedal, even after I hit your car.  I’m sorry that my Criminal act killed your daughter.  I’m sorry that I stood by and let the courts system lay the blame at your feet when you were in absolutely no position to defend yourself.  I’m sorry that I have continued to lie about what happened that night and allow the community, in which you have to live as well, continue to assume that it was in any way your fault.  I’m sorry that you will have to live every single moment of your life without your precious daughter.”

But even if he said all of that, I would still not be able to absolve him because only  God and Gracie can do that.  I guess like me, he will have to wait a lifetime for any peace.  That’s if he even wants it.

The Problem is Not Impaired Drivers, It’s Heart Disease


Now that I have your attention with what would seemingly be a comment from way out in left field allow me to clarify.

If you are in an Motor Vehicle Collision in Ontario and die at the scene, your death certificate says under Cause of Death – Injuries from an MVC (motor vehicle collision).

If you are taken to the hospital and die at a later date, under Cause of Death – multiple organ failure, cardiac arrest, brain trauma, or blood loss, or whatever caused you to die while in the hospital.

If you look at Gracie’s Death Certificate it says under Cause of Death – Cardiac Arrest.  No reason listed as to why an otherwise healthy 11 year old child died of a heart attack.   As far as the Government of Canada/Ontario is concerned my baby girl did not die because her body was so badly broken from being hit by a 2000lb truck going 120km/hr+.  Nope, there is absolutely no mention of a Motor Vehicle Collision even being involved so she doesn’t count in the stats for the Ministry of Transportation or The Ministry of Justice.

So apparently we do not have a problem with Impaired Drivers but maybe someone should take a serious look into the large number of Heart Attack deaths among the under 16 set in Ontario.

Beam Me Up

The other day I was finally in the car long enough to make it to Track 9 on the Pink CD.  It’s called Beam Me Up.  I had to pull the car off the side of the road for a good 15 minutes until I could stop crying.

I’m still trying to figure out how Pink climbed into my brain and wrote down my thoughts.  Listen to it this weekend.   It’s how every parent of a child killed by a Drunk Driver feels with every breath that we take.

“Beam Me Up”

There’s a whole ‘nother conversation going on
In a parallel universe.
Where nothing breaks and nothing hurts.
There’s a waltz playin’ frozen in time
Blades of grass on tiny bare feet
I look at you and you’re lookin’ at me.Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
I’d probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter,
I think a minute’s enough,
Just beam me up.

Saw a blackbird soarin’ in the sky,
Barely a breath I caught one last sight
Tell me that was you sayin’ goodbye,
There are times I feel the shiver and cold,
It only happens when I’m on my own,
That’s how you tell me I’m not alone

Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
I’d probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter,
I think a minute’s enough,
Just beam me up.

In my head I see your baby blues
I hear your voice and I, I break in two and now there’s
One of me, with you

So when I need you can I send you a sign
I’ll burn a candle and turn off the lights
I’ll pick a star and watch you shine

Just beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
I’d probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter,
I think, a minute’s enough,
Beam me up
Beam me up
Beam me up
Could you beam me up.



I Did Not Lose My Daughter….

I hate that phrase, “I’m sorry that you lost your daughter.”

I didn’t lose my daughter.  That would have been irresponsible. I have always known exactly where she was.  That is what any good parent does….and I am a good parent.

Children are not shoes, keys, or an IPod.  They are not items to lose…they are people to be treasured. Sadly, because they are treasures they can be stolen.  That is what Impaired Drivers do.  They steal our loved ones’ futures.

I often think that we would gain more traction with the courts if we did look at our children as possessions.  Then maybe their theft would be taken as a serious crime instead of a “loss”.

We Day Waterloo

Yesterday I spent the day at We Day Waterloo.    For those of you asking “What’s a We Day?” it’s an event that is put on by the Me to We and Free The Children organizations to empower and energize youth to make a difference in the world.  It encourages them to live in a manner that will leave the world a better place for having them in it. It gives them the tools and education to stand up for what is right, to fight injustices and to be socially conscious.

In Waterloo, it’s a smaller We Day….only 6000 people in The Aud in Kitchener.  As I was sitting there listening to Martin Luther King III, Marc and Craig Kielburger, Chris Tse, Molly Burke, and all of the young people that spoke, I couldn’t help but think that Gracie should have been there.

3 years ago on Tuesday everyone said their final good byes to her at her funeral.  As I sat there “Monkey Brain” set in.  What is “Monkey Brain” you ask?  Since the crash, I have a little OCD….apparently it can happen with a TBI (traumatic brain injury).  Suffice it to say, for me, Monkey Brain usually involves numbers, statistics, and math.

Several times, it was mentioned that there were 6000 people in attendance. Add in guests, support staff, volunteers and auditorium staff and you get somewhere around 6500 people.  So, out came the calculator.

Since October 21, 2010 (the day Grace and I were hit) there have been 6750 people killed by Impaired Drivers (1.).  I use 6 people per day (2.).  I wonder what We Day Waterloo would look like from Marc and Craig Kielburgers’ perspectives on stage if The Aud had been completely empty.   All of those voices silenced.

And for those of you that were there, I want you to realize that approximately 20%  (3.) of those 6750 victims were children under 16 years old.  That works out to 1350.

So, if you were lucky enough to be in attendance at We Day Waterloo that would be the entire floor and 5 rows up the bowl.  Again, how would that change the face of We Day Waterloo.

It makes me sad that 1350 Gracie’s that would have changed the world for the better will never have a voice.  What makes me more sad is that number is only going to go up.  We are losing 400-500 of that great generation every year.  Perhaps it is time that we adults take a cue from them and step up to make the world a better place for them instead of placing all the weight of fixing it on their very small shoulders.


1. that does not include Impaired Drivers that died themselves, just their innocent victims

2.  MADD says 4 per day but admits that is low.  Others have quoted up to 10 per day.  I use 6 because it is in the middle yet still realistic)

3.  based on annual Transport Canada stats of 17-24% depending on the year.  I use 20% as an average

Joy To The World

joy\ ‘joi\ n.  1. feelings of great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind  2. a pleasurable aspect of something, or something that is seen a s a source of happiness

There is a sign taped to Gracie’s headboard and it has been there since before she could read (she had me read it to her then promptly cut it out and taped it there). Why would she tape something like this to her headboard, you ask?  Well, that was Gracie.

She read this aloud every morning when she woke up and every night before she went to sleep.  As far as she was concerned this was her job in life.  Not just to find joy but to bring joy.  If I were asked to only use one word to describe her that would be it (not that she was perfect but that she was joyous).

So, this holiday season every time you see the word JOY anywhere (and believe me it is every where) remember that one child that truly knew what that word meant is not here to share it any more.  Someone that defined Joy in the way that she lived and treated people, was stolen from all of us and can no longer bring Joy To The World.  

Dear Canada, on behalf of Ontario…I apologize

They finally released yet more documents about Rob Ford.  Do you realize that there are multiple instances of people doing surveillance of him drinking and then getting into his Big Ass SUV and driving off?  Multiple instances of his staff reporting him drinking and then getting into his Big Ass SUV and driving off?  Multiple times where the media chased him down and filmed him getting into his Big Ass SUV and driving off?

While the rest of you are working to get people educated about Impaired Driving, or arresting Impaired Drivers, or prosecuting Impaired Drivers, or working to improve legislation to make sure that Impaired Drivers are kept off the road or sent to jail when they hurt or kill someone….we, in Ontario, have our own way of dealing with Dumbass Impaired Drivers.

We vote them in as Mayor of the largest city in Canada.

So, on behalf of Ontario I would like to apologize.

I’ll Be Back

In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Aah, I’m back to quoting the great literary classics (or in this case a movie that, at the time, scared the daylights out of me).

It was brought to my attention that my blog has gotten a “little dark” in the last few weeks.  Well….it has.  Mostly because when I’m writing it, I’m writing about what I’m researching and it comes out in a style that represents how I’m feeling.  Frankly, I have been reading the statistics over and over and over in different ways from different sources and yet they say the same things….Canadians aren’t sliding down a slippery slope when it comes to Impaired Drivers.  We slid down it about 10 years ago and have absolutely no inclination to climb back up.

But the fact of the matter is that I cannot change this single handedly and I so badly want to change it so that no one else feels like this ever again.  So, I went to “the Dark Side” for a while.  I’m still there.  For my own well being (and that of the two people that have to live with me), I am going to take a little break.  Just until after the weekend.

On Sunday, it will be my birthday (at least on paper).  I say on paper because I don’t celebrate my birthday any more.  I stopped 3 years ago.  Who says that I have to “celebrate” a birthday?  I realized that when I was getting “Happy Birthday” wishes on my Blackberry while sitting (I was still in a wheelchair then) in a funeral home holding visitations for my 11 year old daughter.  Now, I don’t celebrate it.  I take a book and a tea and go spend the day sitting at the cemetery with my Gracie.