Nfld. & Labrador

'I feel a lot lighter': MMIWG inquiry heads into 2nd day in Labrador after emotional start

Gordon and Silpa Obed felt like a huge weight was lifted off their shoulders on the first day of testimony at the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Gordon and Silpa Obed were feeling better after sharing story of devastating losses

RAW: Emotional memories at MMIWG inquiry

5 years ago
Duration 3:17
Gordon and Silpa Obed recount the day their grandson found his mother dead in her bed

Gordon and Silpa Obed walked out of the first day of the inquiry with a traumatic weight lifted off their shoulders.

Standing outside Hotel North Two after they testified before the federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Silpa had a smile on her face.

"I feel light," she said. "I feel a lot lighter, and uplifting, and my daughter-in-law is now smiling down at me and Gordon and her sons."

The couple told the inquiry commissioners how their son died of tuberculosis, and their daughter-in-law was killed in a murder-suicide.

The inquiry continues today at 8:30 a.m., with four more public hearings on the scheduled — which means four more chances for families like the Obeds to share their stories.

The couple broke down during their testimony Wednesday, crying as they spoke about their family's struggles.

The trauma has weighed especially heavy on them since the pre-inquiry consultations last year, when they were invited to share their story informally along with other members of the Indigenous community in Labrador.

Gordon said he didn't get it all off his chest that day, and it remained with him, lingering as he waited for his turn to speak before the inquiry.

"I'm glad I did it now, but I was kind of apprehensive at first," he said. "I didn't know what to expect with the commissioners, but I'm glad we were able to share what we wanted to share."

Gordon and Silpa Obed travelled from Nain to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to testify about their daughter-in-law, Katie Obed, who was killed just before Christmas in 2015. (Bailey White/CBC)

Hanging around Silpa's neck was a white, heart-shaped necklace. Her hand moved past it several times to wipe her cheeks as she wept openly during their testimony on Wednesday.

Outside the venue afterwards, she explained the significance of the piece of jewelry.

In the days following her daughter-in-law's tragic death, Silpa was the one who went into her bedroom — where her grandson found his mother's body with a knife in her chest — and packed her belongings.

Gordon Jr. and Katie Obed were married for seven years before he died in April 2015. She was killed several months later in a murder-suicide.

In a jewelry case in the room, Silpa found the necklace. She's had it in her possession ever since.

The memories and grief have been hard to deal with, but Silpa is hopeful after sharing her story.

"It was very heavy on me. I couldn't sleep. But hopefully now I'll sleep a lot better after being here."

With files from Bailey White