She left me. She grew up, and left me. But I suppose from her point of view, I left her.
Dropping your youngest child off to college is both exciting and horrifying at the same time. I’m not ashamed to say, many tears were shed when I began the 6-hour journey back to Owen Sound that August afternoon.
With modern technology, we’re never far from each other, text messaging funny things that happen, emailing assignments for a once over, and big happy dances over great marks. Facebook allows me to see the pictures, and the laugher in her face, with her new friends, in her new world.
My youngest child, my daughter.
But on this day, of all days, the distance will bethe greatest it has ever been.
You see, on December 6 1989, I was still pregnant with this amazing young woman.
She has an older brother, he’s 3 and a half years older, and I felt that a daughter would be nice. Until that day.
Like me, 14 other parents had taken their daughters to college. Dropped them off, tried to impart a few words of lasting advice, worrying that they’d forgotten to tell them that you can get gum out of fabric by freezing it with ice cubes, and other meaningless life skills. Never knowing that they wouldn’t be coming home that Christmas.
Barbara Maria Klucznik
Their average age was 23 and a half.
They died because they were women.
That day, in that moment, I felt I couldn’t raise a daughter. The world was too horrible, too evil for me to protect a girl child. Boys are not immune to horrors, but stats prove out that women always suffer the greatest at the hands of evil.
So I prayed, for the six weeks that followed that day, for a son. I also remember in the fog of anesthetic the nurse telling me I had a girl, and I remember being sad, being afraid, and deciding I just had to try harder.
As this girl child grew into the incredible, creative and award winning woman that friends refer to as my “mini-me’, I continued to pray that she would be safe. That I would be good enough to keep her safe. That she knew enough to keep herself safe.
So in August I left this woman, to begin a new journey, and I began a new journey of my own.
I find it interesting that in the past few weeks of this economic turmoil, that ‘pay equity’ is a burden to our society, a burden to recovery efforts, a ‘perk’ to be clawed back by suits in power. Women will bear the brunt of this economic downturn, they already make only 70 cents to the dollar.
As stress increases in our society, how else will they pay? How many will give their lives?
Many people want to dismiss the massacre as the single actions of a single individual. In Ontario since 1995, 282 women have been killed by their partners. Is that 282 separate actions of single individuals, or do we have a problem in our society where violence against women is an issue of ‘special interest’ groups?
We have a society where government and policy makers make deep cuts on the backs of women, implying that equity is the cause of hard times, that the assertion of equality undermines society. Sounds like the same ranting of a mad man, blaming women, blaming feminists, and we know how that ended.
The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is held each December 6. It marks, the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre. As for the 14 women who died I will always remember them and I will trust that my daughter will come home at Christmas.