OPINION: Hope remains even in the darkest moments

OPINION: Hope remains even in the darkest moments

A brief look back at the challenging moments of 2019 and why the cup is half full

As I flip over the pages of the 105 print editions of The Progress we’ve produced so far in 2019, I’m reminded of names I had almost forgotten, stories I barely remember writing, and a few things to look forward to in the coming months.

There was controversy and conflict, joy and sorrow, dollars spent well and money squandered, crime and grief, beauty and relief.

And as a reporter, there are all the stories I didn’t write, either for a lack of time or resources, or because someone didn’t want it told or wouldn’t co-operate.

There was the mother who first wanted me to, then decided she didn’t want me to, write about her 12-year-old son’s e-cigarette purchases after he was bullied at school when kids found out. I never got to my detailed 10-year look back at every homicide since 2019, or my feature on a local top-level Scientology dissident interviewed by Russian media.

But I promise, vaping, murder and Scientology is all coming in 2020. Now I have to make time.

What I wrote a lot about this year was, I admit, crime, death, misery, loss, and conflict. A lot of negativity came out whether from, for example, people with bigoted opinions who fought to have them heard, misinformation campaigns, or from the many personal tragedies we saw.

Cases of missing young people or elderly folk with dementia rocked Chilliwack in 2019. The families of Tim Delahaye and Kristofer Couture were desperate to find word of the young men who (unrelatedly) went missing, Couture’s vehicle spotted by the Elk Mountain trail head in January, Delahaye was last seen in the Columbia Valley in April.

• READ MORE: Mother of man missing in Chilliwack area offers $10,000 reward

• READ MORE: Mother of man missing south of Chilliwack pleads for help finding him

There was 82-year-old Valentina Kushnareva missing while out mushroom picking near her home in the Columbia Valley and never found.

• READ MORE: SAR crews looking for 82-year-old mushroom picker south of Cultus Lake

What happened to them?

And the tragic story of John Pop, the 79-year-old with dementia who walked away from his Promontory home in October and was found dead on a walking trail nearby four days later.

But it was the tragic story of Grace that captivated the community for weeks – the tragedy of it but also the way it brought the community together. Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk had severe dementia. She walked away from her home on July 13 and was not found until August 21, sadly deceased.

In that time, people who didn’t know her combed the streets, alleys, backyards, the forests, parks, trails and waterways, everywhere imaginable in a desperate and mostly informal search for the 86-year-old. While obviously tragic, the search of Grace brought people together who may now become lifelong friends. It gave purpose to people obviously looking for one. It showed that hope exists even when that hope is faint.

There is another story I didn’t write in 2019, and that’s the story of Cylena. A beam of sunshine with an angelic smile, she told me details of the horrors she endured on the streets using drugs, forced into prostitution, a life from which many never escape.

But she did escape. She’s better, she’s thriving, and she wants people to know it’s possible. I promise I’ll tell her story in 2020, too.

This year locally and across the globe we’ve been reminded there are negative forces out there, and they don’t seem to be going away.

There is despair. There is pain. Yet I maintain there is hope.

There has to be.

With much loss this year, came charity. With fear came comfort. Bigotry was, mostly, put in its place. And with tragedy came community.

The year is at its end, and there have been ups and downs, spills and overflowing, but the cup is half full, really, it is.

Happy New Year.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

A black sedan, white SUV, red pickup truck and black hatchback were all involved in a four-vehicle collision at Hodgins Avenue and Yale Road on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack’s top 10 worst intersections for crashes in 2020

Overall collisions down by huge numbers with fewer drivers in pandemic year

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read