Ida Scott placed a wreath in memory of her son Paul at the Bridgewater Fire Station on November 18, the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims. It's the third time families in Lunenburg County have gathered to remember loved ones they've lost to motor vehicle accidents.
Ida and her husband Robin lost their son in 2004 when he collided with a transport truck on Highway 103 on his way home from a music festival. An investigation found it was most likely that Paul fell asleep at the wheel. He was 22 years old.
"The death of our precious son Paul left me grieving over these past 11 years. There was a time when I thought I couldn't go on living without Paul. There was, and still is, disbelief and recurring nightmares about how the accident played out, and a feeling that Paul had been robbed of his life," Ida Scott said to the families, police and firefighters in attendance.
About 1,900 people die in motor vehicle accidents in Canada each year. A 2012 federal report placed Nova Scotia second in the country, behind only Saskatchewan, in motor vehicle related fatalities.
"One second of inattention can and does kill. How many times when we're driving do we take our eyes off the road for a split second and find ourselves in a dangerous place?" asked Scott. "I would say we have all been fortunate not to meet an oncoming vehicle."
Alcohol, drugs, speeding, driver distraction, fatigue and failure to wear seat belts are listed as the key factors which lead to car accidents, which Scott notes, "are all preventable causes." She says rumble strips have been added to the highway since her son's accident, but that twinning the highway is the best way to prevent fatal accidents from happening.
When Bridgewater fire chief Michael Nauss addressed the crowd, he gave his support not only to motor vehicle victims, but also to family members and emergency responders who often struggle with trauma after working at accident scenes.
"Not only do we remember those people [whom we've lost], but we remember those people it affects along the way," said Nauss. "There's issues that we have to deal with as well, and this is another way for us to do the healing there."
Ida says that after a certain amount of time, people feel it's inappropriate to ever mention the deceased's name again.
It discouraged her from admitting she still struggled with her loss, and kept her from making it through the grieving process.
She told those in the crowd that it's never too late to check in with someone after the loss of a loved one - to call them and share a meal, or even just an old story.
"In our society, people don't like to mention the name of the loved one who died, yet hearing the name of the loved one is music to the bereaved ears and hearts," said Scott. "Trust me on this one, we do not forget our loved ones. We don't get over the love of a child."