Aaron Paquette is an incredible First Nations artist whose gorgeous work you really should see if you haven’t already. Unfortunately, I am not writing this merely to praise his work. Last week his wife was hit by a car while she was out jogging, and the short piece he wrote about this is something I think people need to read.
In his own words
On Wednesday May 30, 9:10pm a body was shattered.
The body was that of my dear wife. She was just finishing up an evening jog with a friend when she was struck by a vehicle. It hit her and then ran over her, pinning her body beneath one of the tires.
Her friend was screaming at the driver but he was unaware there was anybody beneath the car.
Police and Emergency Medical personnel lifted the car from off her.
I was not yet aware of any of this as I was at home. Our 1 year old baby asleep in his crib.
Backtracking events leads us to the road snaking through our neighbourhood (she was only a few blocks from home), and a yield sign that was mostly ignored.
A car and an SUV had a contest of who could be more impatient, or who could text best while driving. Exactly what was going on in the two drivers’ minds I doubt we’ll ever know. But lack of concern, lack of precaution led to the accident. That we do know.
When I arrived on the scene there were dozens of people who had poured from their houses to see what was the matter. Emergency vehicles were on scene and my wife was in an ambulance.
She was alive. I asked her if she knew me and where she was. She looked into my eyes and blinked twice. Her whole body was shaking from the shock.
That’s when I noticed her wrist was snapped in half.
Her face was bloody and beginning to swell.
A couple of hours ago, after a long night of tears and waiting, we found out the rest. And there will be more to come.
Deep cuts, contusions and road rash all over her body and across her stomach.
All her ribs are broken.
There are tubes draining the blood that is gathering between her ribcage and her lungs.
Her liver and pancreas are lacerated.
Along with her wrist are broken fingers. This is her left arm. She is left handed.
She has fractured vertebrae. The worst is the T11. It’s obliterated. They will fuse the vertebrae around it with metal plates. There will metal plates holding her wrist together.
She will live.
She has many surgeries ahead and a long road to recovery. It’s uncertain yet if there will be any loss of limb function or if there will be any long term effects from concussion.
She will not be snuggling with our baby for a very long time. She won’t be doing any of the things she loves.
She loves to teach. She has a grade 3/4 split class. She was so excited to get back to them after her maternity leave and now she won’t be back for a very long time.
She loves to run. She was going to run a half marathon in two weeks.
She loves yoga.
She loves dancing.
She loves playing with the baby.
Right now she has tubes all over her, keeping her still, sedated, and alive.
Because someone couldn’t wait three seconds at a yield sign.
Because someone wasn’t paying attention as they drove a 1500 pound weapon.
I’m writing this to let everyone who is going to ask know what happened.
But I am also writing it to ask everyone who reads this to realize that as you scan these words someone is performing surgery on my beautiful darling.
Please slow down.
Please don’t text.
Please be patient.
And please remember that every time you sit in that car you take responsibility for lives you will never know except in passing. Literally.
Pass by. Pass by. Be aware and pass by.
And please, pray for my wife and especially for our little one who already misses his mommy.
We are blessed.
She is alive.
Her name is Clarice Cardinal-Anderson
Clarice has a long, hard road ahead of her, and she and her family will face some serious expenses even in a country that has publicly-funded healthcare. Aaron was unwilling to accept donations at first, but says that he’s had to swallow his pride for the sake of his young son and his wife.
A site has been set up to accept donations of any amount, in return for which, Aaron is providing a high-resolution reproduction of one of his paintings, “Returning Home”. It can be printed for framing, for use as a poster or what have you. This is a very, very beautiful work.
If you wish to help Aaron and Clarice, please feel free to do so. If you are unable to, that is fine as well. I think more than anything, Aaron is hoping that no one else will have to look on the shattered body of their beloved and know that there was no reason for this to have happened. Please, drive safely.