Loved ones of helicopter crash victims say time doesn't heal all wounds
For Karen and Joe Delaney, time doesn't heal all wounds.
They say it feels like just yesterday that they learned their nephew, Corey Eddy, died in a helicopter crash.
The Delaneys say they remember everything about the day Corey died. Although they have learned how to live without seeing their nephew's smile or hearing his laugh, they say the crash is always at the front of their minds.
"There's a lot of ways to remember Corey. Fun loving, laughter, never a dull moment. Always a smile on his face when he entered the room... We often wonder what life would be like, if things never had to happen," said Karen. "It don't get easier. It never goes away. It's always there. Always."
"I know exactly where I was to, what I was doing, how the day unfolded," added Joe. "Right to the minutes."
Sunday marked 14 years since Cougar Flight 491 crashed while travelling offshore to oil fields off the coast of St. John's. Of the 18 crew members on board, 17 died in the March 12, 2009 tragedy.
Family members and loved ones visited the Quidi Vidi lake memorial Sunday to pay respects to those lost in the crash. The memorial also pays tribute to those who died in the Universal helicopter crash off the coast of Placentia on March 13, 1985, which killed six people.
Heather Warren and Marie Morris also say time isn't a healer.
Gregory Morris — Warren's husband and Morris's son — died in the Cougar crash. The two remember Greg as someone who had a contagious sense of humour and who was quick at making friends.
He also rowed in the St. John's Regatta, says Warren, so visiting the Quidi Vidi lake memorial in his honour sparks emotions of nostalgia.
"Everybody loved him, he was well liked," said Warren. "Even to this day, people will talk about him and how he was, and how kind and generous."
Morris says the day of the anniversary is always a difficult one. She says the family has learned how to cope with their grief, but that it's difficult to remember and reflect on what happened the day of the crash.
"When you wake up in the morning on the anniversary it's almost like, you try not to, but you think about the day that it happened and everything that went on," said Morris.
Sheldon Reid is an offshore chaplain with Eastern Chaplaincy, and currently serves on the Hibernia and Hebron platforms. He says it's important to remember and reflect on tragedies like the Cougar crash because the province can learn how to prevent similar accidents from occurring and how to ensure lives are safer on the offshore.
Above all else, he says, this day is about remembering those whose lives were cut short.
"It's not just something you read about in history or something that's passed," said Reid while looking at the Quidi Vidi lake memorial.
"These are real people, real families. Every year you can still see the emotions on people's faces and in their words."
An annual memorial service is being held at the Elim Pentecostal Tabernacle in St. John's at 7 p.m. Sunday.