It’s been exactly five weeks and two days since the tragic bus accident in northern Saskatchewan that claimed the lives of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. For the families of the victims, there’s no amount of time that could possibly heal their emotional wounds.
Laurie Thomas, whose son Evan tragically died in the horrific accident, has understandably NOT been looking forward to Mother’s Day this year.
"Us moms, with the Broncos, today seems extra hard just because it's fresh. We keep expecting them to walk through the door and hug us and say, 'Hey Mom.'" she said. "For a few of us, that's not going to happen this year."
Thomas, of course, isn’t alone. She’s one of 16 mothers who’ll never see, touch or talk to her child again. Feeling a complete sense of grief and a longing to help their fellow hockey brethren, a group called Team Hockey Moms, with members across the glove, delivered 55 flower bouquets to mothers impacted by the crash.
"When the flowers arrived, it brightened my day," said Thomas through tears, of the unexpected flower delivery she received on Saturday. "I really appreciated the fact that all the hockey moms out there were thinking of us hockey Bronco moms. It was beautiful."
In a truly touching display, the group also made sure to include “billet moms” in addition to the players’ biological moms. As anyone in junior hockey will attest, billet families typically act as a secondary, or sometimes even primary, source of support for young hockey players.
Broncos president Kevin Garinger helped facilitate the Mother's Day surprise by procuring addresses and names for the flower deliveries.
"It absolutely speaks to the fact that people want to reach out and help," he said, calling it "amazing" to see the outpouring of support from moms from around the world.
"This is just another ray of light and a ray of hope for everybody."
On Mother's Day, Thomas shared an extra special hug with her daughter, then went to brunch with her son's billet mother. She also admitted that she sought out support from other Humboldt mothers who are "all going through this together," she said.
“I am heartbroken. A piece of me will always be gone, because he was my boy. He was my boy."