Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Prayers Out To The Gainey Family

(RC-Note: As of midnight tonight the search for Laura Gainey by Canadian and U.S. coast guards C-130's have been futile and efforts have been suspended. This is the saddest of realities and outcomes. There is little hope, if any, left - unless one believes in miracles. This loss is nothing less than a nightmare for the Gainey family. While most families suffering a tragedy in their lifetime tend to bond and strengthen, while never forgetting the void a loved one's loss leaves behind, it is unthinkable that a family should have to deal with it twice. It becomes even tougher when it hits a public family, whose patriarch is a very private man. There really is no way to make sense of such tragedies. Nothing one can say that makes much difference. Thoughts and prayers help some, along with heartfelt condolences and respecting family wishes in such times. Godspeed and strength to Bob Gainey, his daughters Anna and Colleen, and his son Steven.)

From Sun Media columnist Al Strachan, this thoughtful piece appeared in this mornings paper:

In April of 1978 we were starting families. Bob Gainey's eldest child, Anna was born and so was my elder son Andrew.

As new parents, we talked about our hopes and aspirations for our children, and even joked that had this happened centuries earlier, we could have had them betrothed on the spot.

Today, both Anna and Andrew live and work in London, England, but not only were they never betrothed, they have never even met.

Bob and his wife Cathy went on to have three more children, whereas we only had one more. But the numbers don't matter. You love them all without qualification.

As a parent, one can't help but empathize, as any parent would, with Bob Gainey, to sympathize with him and to understand the heartbreak and anguish he and his other children are enduring at this moment.

On Friday night, 25-year-old Laura Gainey was swept overboard from a tall ship about 700km east-southeast of Cape Cod.

Even though the water is warm in that area, personel from the United States Coast Guard, who mounted a massive search, calculated hypothermia would set in after 36 hours. Unfortunately, we are long past that point.

It shouldn't have happened. Laura was in a covered shelter on a rear deck of the ship, and dressed for the storm that was raging. It seems logical to assume that any danger from the sea would have been greater at the bow of the ship than at the stern. However, a rogue wave hit and swept Laura overboard.

A lot of things shouldn't have happened in Laura's life, by far the most important being the loss of her mother.

Cathy Gainey, as the youngest of 19 children, knew the importance of close families. A brain tumour took her life in 1995.

For the Gainey family, but especially for the two youngest daughters, Laura and Colleen, it was devastating.

Cathy was a person who was exceptionally warm, thoughtful and kind. That's not an evaluation clouded by the circumstances. Those who knew her regarded her in that fashion long before she died.

Together, she and Bob formed a salt-of-the-earth couple, small town people who never lost their values, who never aquired the cynical beliefs that so often go to those who owe their livelyhood to professional sports.

For two young girls, at such a formative stage of their life, to lose their mother, especially a mother like Cathy, was a traumatic and debilitating experience.

Bob did everything he could, but a father's love, no matter how deep it might be, does not replace a mother's love. Grief affects us all in different ways, none of them beneficial.

Life had been difficult for Laura but she seemed to have surmounted the most treacherous obstacles and was doing something she loved.

"She was no slouch", said Dan Moreland, the senior captain of the tall ship Picton Castle. "She was passionate about sailing, loved it, and worked very hard."

No parent should have to endure the loss of a child. Unfortunately, some are required to do so, but they are never the same afterwards.

The pain will ease in time, but it never goes away. There will be times when, inexplicably the tears will flow. A previously bright day will become dark.

Bob Gainey is a strong person, known for accepting his lot in life in stoical fashion. But he doesn't deserve this. Nobody does.

At times like this the words are never enough. All we can do is say, as the Montreal Canadiens have said, that our thoughts and prayers are with Bob Gainey and his family.

For a fond remembrance of Laura Gainey read "Childhood Friend Remembers Gainey's Sense of Adventure "-by Catherine Solyom. " Bob Gainey a Quiet Man With Much To Say"-by David Stubbs shows, Gainey's family side.

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