By Emily Stonehouse
It’s felt like the closing of a chapter lately. The season of goodbyes. The nearing of the end.
We are getting emails preparing us for graduations, end-of-year dance recitals, and retirement parties. Last week, I watched as my own mother wrapped up her teaching career; walking across a stage to shake hands with school trustees as the audience applauded. I watched as my step-daughter performed in a piano recital to conclude her year of practicing, and celebrate how she’s falling in love with music. I watched as the photos rolled in from the school track meet; that one sweltering day of the year that all the schools join together to race their little hearts out as they head into summer.
And I watched as candles were lit along the driveway of the Minden Emergency Room the evening of May 31 to honour the work of the staff at the facility. Singing songs and gathering around the big H sign off Deep Bay Road, the emotions were complex that evening. There was laughter and joy surrounding the fight and resilience so many people demonstrated over the past six weeks. There were tears and frustrations bubbling to the surface as folks wondered about next steps.
But above all, there was a sense of community. Of unity. Of passion. Of pride. All culminating on one night when the moon cast shadows around the candles.
Many locals stayed up until midnight to watch the Minden ER doors slide together one last time. The closing of a chapter. A goodbye. The end.
So is it over? Many things in small towns blow over eventually. After days, weeks, months, the interests of the community are found elsewhere; focusing on new passions, new needs, new problems.
But I don’t think this will be one of those things. While the candles were lit on the eve of May 31, so was the fire that burned inside so many.
Because in the big picture, it’s not just about the ER. I understand the questions and concerns that have arisen as a result of the closure, but on the grand scale, it’s not just the brick and mortar building.
It’s more than that. And while I perhaps didn’t understand every tactic or initiative that was made along the way to save the ER, I recognized the passion behind it.
The heart, the soul, the exhaustion, the anger. By the end, it wasn’t about the politics or the rules or the legal jargon or the council meetings.
It was about the people.
And maybe we will watch this benefit our community in the long run. Maybe we will receive more funding, better access, and fuller support. I hope so.
As I watched the groups of people hug one another outside the Minden ER at midnight on June 1, I saw them for who they are. Not politicians or professionals. But people who had memories, experiences, and life-changing moments right on that property. Closing a chapter, saying goodbye, and recognizing the end.
The only good thing about an end, is that it so often ushers in a beginning. A fresh start. A new perspective. A different opportunity. May we as a community embrace this new beginning, stoke the fire in our hearts that’s been lit, and carry forward with kindness, compassion, and grace.
So as we close the chapter, as we say goodbye, maybe we can hope that this isn’t the end after all.