Someone should be ashamed of themselves.
It’s a hard thing to lose someone you love. They leave a hole in your life that can take a long time to heal. Everyone has or will experience this at some point in their lives. It’s the inevitable downside of humans being social creatures who form relationships with one another. These relationships are incredibly important to our well-being, and so, when we lose one of them, it leaves us hurt, a little bewildered, and bereft.
To tackle these feelings and successfully navigate this experience we humans have come up with a series of rituals to help us understand, accept, and live with loss.
It’s even more difficult for people when a loss is unexpected or, as Darreld Rayner’s family and friends experienced for 10 years before his remains were finally found late in 2017, someone’s fate remains unresolved. All the family knew for a decade was that he went for a walk one day and never came home.
Here in western society we have funerals and memorial services, and oftentimes we invest in grave markers or plaques on a columbarium.
Sometimes people also put up small memorials elsewhere. Sometimes they are plaques on benches in public places remembering loved ones. Other times they are less formal. Such was the one that the Rayner family had at Lake Cowichan. It consisted of, among other things, a custom fire pit with Darreld Rayner’s name on it. It has provided comfort to family members who have gone there to remember him.
But now, someone has stolen it. It’s not worth a whole pile of money. It’s not made of gold, or silver or copper or any other precious metal. Whoever took it isn’t going to make much, if any, cash off of it, if that was indeed the goal of the theft. Its true worth is what it represents to the Rayner family and Darreld Rayner’s friends.
These kinds of actions strike at the heart of a community. It’s similar to when vandals damage graveyards, toppling and breaking tombstones in an act of senseless destruction. It goes beyond the property damage. It hurts those who have been left behind, who have taken comfort in these lovingly placed markers. Often they are a place where people can once again feel close to the loved ones they’ve lost.
So thieves and vandals, ask yourselves before you act in such a manner again: how would you feel if someone did it to the memorial for someone you love?
And please return Darreld Rayner’s memorial fire pit.