You’re not alone, Nova Scotia.

The song she was playing sounded like “Saltwater Joys.” A fiddle version played by a young teen for her parents in a living room that could’ve been anywhere on the east coast. Just proud parents getting their daughter to play a tune for what the dad called “the COVID Kitchen Party.” Last night, this was the most moving and poignant moment during the virtual vigil for the victims of the tragedy that occurred in Nova Scotia almost a week ago today. What made it more moving was that this teen and her parents were among those who lost their lives in a senseless, brutal act of violence.

Natalie MacMaster joined Emily Tuck for the performance, and it was just such a beautiful moment. It brought everything to the surface, and we all felt the tragedy a little deeper, a little harder. People are fragile right now during the pandemic, more than perhaps ever before, and they need signs of calm, signals that things will return to something close to normal. That we will hold each other again. Not this. My God, not this.

To mourn in isolation would have to be the most isolating feeling of all. In the lockdown of this pandemic, we must stay at home and keep away from everyone else in a time when we want to reach out the most. I can’t imagine how hard this will be on the families and friends, on everyone who wants to let the mourners know they are not alone when they are alone. Such an unbelievable time. Last night’s vigil was what a lot of people needed.

Many of my friends and family live in Nova Scotia, most of whom work in health care and are first responders through Team Broken Earth. I’ve spent a lot of time in the province and there’s something that just bonds everyone from the east coast. A shared culture and humour that unites us. So, what happens to one happens to us all. The lives of so many have been forever altered and changed. It may be hard to see right now, but there are brighter days ahead. We may not be able to hug you, but we are with you. Stay strong, Nova Scotia.

Love and hope,