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.