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

Langley East MLA could testify in logging lawsuit

Rich Coleman has been put on the witness list for a lawsuit against TimberWest.

WATCH: Kwantlen artist paints and installs Indigenous mural in Fort Langley

First Nations painter Brandon Gabriel created a piece of art for Cranberries Naturally.

Surrey woman plans to travel after winning $500,000

Frances Jarvos bought her winning ticket at Willowbrook Mall in Langley

New Langley resident takes to the stage in upcoming musical

Leah Newson is performing in Annie: The Musical in Burnaby starting Feb. 1.

Day 3 brings fourth win for the Langley-based Team BC

Tyler Tardi and squad plays two games Tuesday at the junior curling nationals in Saskatchewan.

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

South Surrey mother didn’t have the intent to kill her daughter: defence

Closing submissions in case of Lisa Batstone underway

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Aldergrove soccer tournament set for March 30-31

2019 edition of the Barry Bauder Memorial Soccer Tournament taking registrations

Most Read