A letter to Fort McMurray evacuees

Submitted by Julie Brown


Dear Fort McMurray Drivers headed south on the QE2. 

Today is Saturday May 7th.

The highway is packed with vehicles.

I know you're from Fort Mac or the surrounding areas. I can see the evidence of fire and smoke damage all over your vehicles. I can see through your windows that children and people are sleeping, cats and dogs are sharing confined spaces, seats are overflowing with items like blankets, pillows and suitcases.

I see the men and women driving with tired faces. I see their looks of worry, sadness and fear.

I am not from Fort McMurray. I'm from Calgary and now I call Edmonton my home.

My name is Julie Brown (Clark) and I wasn't directly affected by the fire but I can feel your loss as I drive next to you.

I can't even begin to understand how you must feel. I'm sorry that you lost everything. My heart is heavy for you. If we could only go slower, I'd open my windows and extend my hand out the window to hold the hand of the screaming little girl, red-faced in your back seat - if only to comfort her as you try to drive exhausted. I know you are aware that I can see.

Please know that I don’t know you, but I am here for you.
— Julie Brown

I'll likely not see you again but know that I'll be doing what I can to help you. My time and efforts will be used to help you get back on your feet wherever you end up. My love and compassion for you will follow you wherever you go. You will be on my mind for days weeks and months to come and just when you think you cannot go anymore, know that I am here, just like hundreds of thousands of others willing to do anything to help you and your family recover from this tragedy.

#albertastrong #ymm #proudtobecanadian

I don’t know you, but I love you.

There is a chilling silence on this highway as we drive, a cryptic type of silence that I really have no words for. All people just headed somewhere, anywhere but where they were. I can see the broken hearts and dreams lost in the miles. There are so many horse trailers and the horses on board them cramped together, look scared. Bigger trucks towing smaller cars, license plates spanning across every province in Canada. 

Please know that I see you. I see the brokenness you carry and the worry about your future.