I was at work at Yonge and Eglinton when a white van careened up the sidewalks on a sunny day, the first real taste of spring, not that far to the north of me. People gathered around cellphone screens and hit refresh on websites and twitter, trying to get the latest news and to somehow make sense of the horror.
Not that long ago, I would have been arranging interviews with experts on these all too familiar attacks; about incel; about how to talk to your kids about this. Not that long ago, I would have been putting aside the twisting in my guts and forensically examining the facts in order to share the latest information with an audience.
But not now. And for that, I am grateful. I’m grateful not to have to write another story involving the phrase “our thoughts and prayers”. To not to have to find the delicate balance between describing the horror of a crime scene while respecting the dignity of the victims.
I found, on that sunny, spring-ish day, I have no more words. Not after Columbine and Sandy Hook and Marc Lepine and Parkland and 9-11 and…and….and…..the list is endless and numbing.
I spoke with an ex-journ friend of mine who would have been on the air when the van attack happened. About the need to focus on the job, to harness the adrenaline and ignore the anger, and then go home that night, crashing emotionally, often standing in the shower crying. She thinks many journalists suffer from a form of PTSD and carry the scars of what we’ve been forced to witness in order to do our jobs on our souls.
She’s right. We don’t pretend to feel the pain the way the victims and their families or the police or the paramedics or the coroners do. But we feel them and we carry the ghosts of those victims with us forever.
That is why I have no more words.