A Lament for the Lost

The following lament was written on May 30, 2021 by Lyn Cooper (Hope Bay, BC), in response to the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“What can I say about you? Who has seen such sorrow?…For your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you?” Lamentations 2:13

Last night I built a campfire in our yard. I didn’t think the day should go by without some silence, some prayer, some grieving. I looked up at the stars and I recognized that the indigenous families here before me would have sat by fires and looked at those same stars.
 
I imagined it: children running and playing, mamas cuddling babies, men laughing (as men do) in a loud explosion, heads tilted back to the sky. These families smelled the same things we do: rain on the grass, low tide, ocean breezes, fresh cedar.
 
They worked and played and farmed and paddled and fought and cried. They were imperfect like we are, humans navigating this unpredictable soil.
 
And I pictured these families as their children were taken against their will, some as young as three. I felt the vicious wound of that. What could possibly be worse? Except having them never return.
 
And I sat in all that pain and wept. And the word LAMENT came so strongly to my mind. It’s an old word, rarely used, so I paid attention. I let it sink in. And I lamented.
 
I believe that is what we need to be doing today. We need to stop in our tracks, physically stop, and let the pain soak in. We need to acknowledge what the church did and what the government did and what all those who stood by and did nothing allowed to happen. We need to lament.
 
So for all of my First Nations friends, I stand with you with my heart breaking. I lift you up in prayer. And I pray for healing for you, because your wound is as deep as the sea.