It is time for light

People came from near and far

One goal in mind, we got in the car

Many were skilled, some were green

But for most of us, we’ve never seen,


We battled through and fought the weather

Mother Nature was tough as leather

Downed trees covered in ice

Muscles ached we paid the price,


After we awake when things fall

With pain severe beyond anything at all

The day is dark as broadly as the night

And despite our search, still not in sight,


The next day arrives we begin anew

Hope is high amongst the crew

With vigour as strong as a UFC champ

Assembled together to embark from base camp,


Breakfast is served, coffee is hot

Some Gatorade and later soup in a pot

Even provided each hand with a warm glove

Driven by one simple thought – that is love,


After we awake when things fall

With pain severe beyond anything at all

The day is dark as broadly as the night

And despite our search, still not in sight,


We confronted fear, and felt your pain

As hard as it was, we’d do it all again

Parents in distress, we want to help end it

Tough to watch but did not break our spirit


Boots on the ground, boots on the ground

The call went out and more came around

We dug, used hoses, together we responded

And then something happened, people bonded


After we awake when things fall

With pain severe beyond anything at all

The day is dark as broadly as the night

And despite our search, still not in sight,


Two months is too long too painful and unfair

We could never give up, please God answer our prayer

This day was hard, many swinging an axe

Much clearing to be done, no time to relax,


We were dirty, wounded and energy spent

A day like that day was no laid-back event

It is getting late, where do we go now

Any negative feelings we must disavow,


After we awake when things fall

With pain severe beyond anything at all

The day is dark as broadly as the night

And despite our search, still not in sight,


Back to base camp, you know this sound

The word went out, Kaden was found,


We gathered together, first time post search

On Belwood Bridge next time will be church

We hugged and hugged, cried but relieved

Finally, Kaden could be properly grieved


Yet something changed, the mood had shifted

It appeared dear friends a great weight lifted

The common experience that we shared

Is our binding ingredient, nothing spared


After we awake when things fall

With pain severe beyond anything at all

The day is dark as broadly as the night

But with our search now ended, it is time for light.

Finally – the funeral awaits.

Driving back to base (Kaden’s home) from the search on Saturday with the teacher from Mississauga, we talked about our day and the frustration that all the searchers felt at the end of these days – Kaden was still not found.  That poor little boy was still out there somewhere, his parents, family and dear friends of the family, grief-stricken, heartbroken and have to endure yet another night alone with their private thoughts of which few can even possibly imagine.

We spoke of a funeral we could not wait to finally take place. We yearn for it and all that it would represent.  Our faces lit up at the thought. Yes, at this stage and this day, two months to the day that Kaden went missing – that would be a wonderful and blessed outcome indeed.

The teacher pulled up to the side of the road. We slowly exited the car to walk the 30 metres up to the house to gather with the rest of the group.  Another day of searching completed.

We could see Jim (a superb team lead) coming towards us along the road with a surprising look of joy, a fast paced gait and “high fiving”, not the norm after a difficult day of intense physicality not to mention the emotional strain of it all.  At first I thought he was thanking us for another day of hard, exhaustive work, something great leaders do.

“WE GOT HIM, WE GOT HIM, WE GOT HIM”, Jim ecstatically proclaimed over and over again.

WHAT? It didn’t register at first. What did he mean, “we got him”?

Overflowing tears and hugs exploded amongst all present. I don’t even know half the people whose arms I collapsed into and they into mine.  From family members and family friends to chiseled and hardened outdoorsmen – we were all a sobbing, hugging mess. Later I turned to the British woman standing alone and off to the side and asked how she was. “I am numb. Just numb”.

As the news sunk in, while many were constantly hugging and needing to be close to the others, I could see a few people who chose to be alone, who either sat on the porch, on a rock in the garden, or like the British woman, standing and numb.

Unexpectedly, to me, Kaden’s mother came out to speak to us. I can’t write about that.

I do feel sorry for the hundreds of other searchers who could not be there yesterday.  I was out only five times, yet why did I merit to be there on this magical fifth day? You could not all be there, but trust me – you were in soul. Every one of you, whether you came out but one time like Lindsay who I met yesterday, to the almost daily searchers, your presence was there with us on Saturday April 21st. What you all did will stay with you and Kaden’s family for a lifetime.

I met many special people over these past number of weeks, the names I can recall are; Brian, Paula, Cara, Paul, Kim, Wawa, Jim, Cindy and our awesome leader Richard. It was Richard’s radio interview I heard that brought me out the first time. There are many more of you to be sure like that strapping and soulful 32 year old man breaking ice beside me on Saturday. He truly helped me dig as thoroughly as I could.

I was waiting for Wawa and Shawn to return, these two dynamic, dedicated and resolute leaders were coming back to the house together – I could not leave until I could spend a few private moments with Shawn who I became very close with.  I think many of you reading this know what Shawn and Wawa meant to all of us.

Shawn was my last goodbye on Saturday before heading to the car and back home.

I can’t wait to see many of you again very soon, at the funeral.


What brought you out?

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.


This week marked the 50th anniversary of the slaying of one of the most impactful human beings of the twentieth century. As I began to write this piece and searched for the most apropos quote to begin it with, it was no coincidence that I stumbled upon this quote by #MLK.   I don’t believe in coincidences. While I have no intention to mention Dr. King again here, yet in our sacred search for Kaden Young, #bringKadenhome, I have met so many great and inspirational human beings. People who are serving. People with a heart full of grace. Souls complete with compassion and love. And an imbued resolve by so many that in my experience – is unsurpassed.

Last Sunday was a tough day. They are all tough days when they end and Kaden isn’t found. The countless volunteers are heartbroken at the day’s conclusion, but also endure many heart stopping moments throughout the search.

I had several on Sunday.

There was extensive dense brush, fallen trees, broken branches, vines and bark all strewn about among the once flooded land of last February. If one is not dodging the ricochet of live branches in your face while trudging between trees you are tripping on the multitude of loose and not so loose vegetation upon the uneven ground. There are potential hiding places everywhere. Maybe Kaden is beneath one of them. And on a couple of occasions last Sunday, just as I had feared the week prior, I had an eerie feeling that I was going to find Kaden perhaps between those two fallen trees that had formed a little wooden tunnel or amongst the pile of an extraordinarily dense thicket of deadwood. Many of those with whom I spoke on my first couple of trips there proclaimed their preference to NOT BE the one to find Kaden – my sentiment as well. I should say, that WAS my sentiment. As the days pass and Kaden is yet to be found, more of us want to be the one to find him. And we are ready to find him and deal with it.

But in that thicket, I was working alongside a young man. And in those contemplative moments between the volunteers, the vast majority who have never before met one another, we often ask the other one, “What brought you out?”

He told me, that several years earlier, a friend of his died in a river accident. When he heard of Kaden, he just had to come out and help. But he wasn’t finished. He became choked up, turned towards me and said, “My brother was supposed to join him.”

One man, around my age has a knee that isn’t what it used to be. No kidding! A visit to my Chiropractor today proved that my body is not what it used to be either! He has to stop after so many steps to give his knee just that little bit of rest to allow him to keep carrying one. And he does – admirably and as fixated as anyone on finding Kaden. He is one of the many past and current firefighters I have met who just need to add their expertise to the search. I love all First Responders and have the utmost respect for them.

The mothers of young children … oh there are so many of them out there searching.   I needn’t tell you what brought them out.

The volunteers talk about many things out there and not all of it is about our sacred task. But I personally value the opportunity to get to know you and to learn of what drives you. It is an honour to be working along side you. And you don’t have to tell me why you are there if you choose not to. You simply are and that is what makes you great.