The wreckage of a fatal crash north of Tisdale, Sask., is seen on Saturday, April, 7, 2018. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Mary-Jane Wilkinson is worried about what will happen to families and a community grieving the dead and the injured in a tragic hockey bus crash earlier this month in Saskatchewan.

Funerals have been held and residents of Humboldt where the junior league Broncos are based face the return to their daily routines.

Wilkinson, the manager of the Canalta Hotel, experienced grief herself when she lost her husband at a young age. She was left to raise her son Richard by herself.

READ: ‘Heroes to many:’ Support offered to Humboldt students after bus crash kills 15

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss, she said.

“When everybody leaves, which eventually everybody does, then you’re starting your new normal and it’s very tough. The community is going to really have to keep working to make sure the people heal … with the support from the community,” said Wilkinson.

“Once everybody goes away, they’re actually dealing with it for the first time alone, and I know what that feels like.”

The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask., on April 6 when their bus and a semi-trailer collided at a rural intersection. Sixteen people, including 10 players, died and 13 were injured. The driver of the truck wasn’t hurt.

READ: Trucking company suspended after Humboldt bus crash

The deputy reeve of the Rural Municipality of Connaught where the crash occurred said the immediate aftermath has been hard for many people.

“One of our councillors that sits at this table with us was one of the first on scene. He’s struggling,” said Ian Boxall. “The biggest thing right now (is) making sure that these people have what they need to get through this.”

Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy was part of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos crash in which four of his Western Hockey League teammates died.

“There’s the shock, and then there’s the grief, and then … part of healing with anything is acceptance,” said Kennedy.

“We’ve got to find ways to manage those negative thoughts, or those images … or the guilt. We know a lot of guilt comes with people who have come through these types of tragedies.”

The Psychology Association of Saskatchewan is urging people to reach out for help. Dr. Regan Hart, with the association, said the first thought is with the friends and family of the victims. But she said a tragedy like this is far-reaching.

“It could be quite wide-ranging in that sense because a lot of these kids were quite active members of their school groups and their communities,” she said.

“When it’s someone you know in such a tragic kind of accident, I think it kind of hits close to home for a lot of people especially in a small province and smaller communities that we have here in Saskatchewan.”

The association compiled a list of mental-health resources for the general public: http://bit.ly/2HjoZIX

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Blue Angels help drive attendance increase at Abbotsford Airshow

Around 90,000 people attended this year’s event; officials to re-evaluate traffic plans for next year

Mayor calls favouritism allegations by Coun. Moe Gill ‘an absolute fabrication’

Gill has been silent since claiming Henry Braun’s friends had unique access to Abbotsford city hall

Sumas Mountain Regional Park closed; air quality warning issued

Dry conditions prompt closure of park, as smoke rolls in across the Lower Mainland.

Wildfire smoke brings in air quality advisory for Lower Mainland

People with health conditions are urged to avoid the outdoors

VIDEO: House fire on McCallum Road in Abbotsford

Abbotsford Fire Rescue Services battle large blaze on Monday morning

VIDEO: Abbotsford International Airshow Sunday

Highlights from day three of the 2018 event

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Drug-checking started as pilot in four B.C. communities to test for fentanyl

Substance is mixed with water on test strip, and result is revealed in minutes

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Most Read