The Sunday Magazine

Two Nova Scotians on the pain and grief following the mass shooting in Portapique

All week, Nova Scotians have been struggling to come to grips with last week’s horrors — ricocheting from shock at the gunman’s hateful rampage, to fury and anguish at the terrible aftermath. For two Nova Scotians, Cathy Hinton and Bruce Walsh, the massacre cut very close to home.

'What do you say to someone who is trying to make sense of this?' says Cathy Hinton

Flowers lay in front of the RCMP detachment in Enfield, N.S. Members of the public stop to sign a Canada flag in memory of a fallen officer. (Robert Short/CBC)

All week, Nova Scotians have been struggling to come to grips with what has happened there — ricocheting from horror at the gunman's raw hatred to fury and anguish at the fallout.

Cathy Hinton is a town councillor in Truro, N.S. (Submitted by Cathy Hinton)
Bruce Walsh lives in Halifax. (Submitted by Bruce Walsh)

For Cathy Hinton and Bruce Walsh, the massacre cut close. Hinton grew up in Truro, N.S., where she is a town councillor. 

"People just want to talk. I've had my breaking points and I've cried many tears. Even though you may be breaking inside, you have to be strong. All those souls, those lights dimmed far too soon," said Hinton. 

"What do you say to someone who is trying to make sense of this? You can't. How do you even say the words, 'I'm sorry'? Two words. What else can you say?"

Portapique, where the killer began his rampage, is down the road from Truro, where Walsh graduated from high school. He's the newly named publisher of House of Anansi Press and lives in Halifax.

"That evening, heartbroken, enraged, I wrote these words: In Nova Scotia, everyone knows everyone, so this is personal. He tore at our circle of life. He attacked us in our homes. He shattered lives and inflicted wounds that will never heal," said Walsh.

"He has hurt so many beautiful people. But this is a place of shipwrecks, wars and an explosion that set us back a generation. It is a place of rumoured treasure and many tears. Terrible things have happened here. It is a place with history."

Click 'listen' above to hear Hinton and Walsh's full remarks.

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