Sunday, June 14, 2009


Our small community has been hit with a spate of very sad deaths over the last couple of weeks. Four people have died, including two tragically, and people are starting to feel very besieged. There are few long time islanders who will not have been touched by the deaths of these four.

Caroline O'Neil was a long time islander, a familiar face in many places including at the Ruddy Potato and at Nancy's Taco Shop on the Pier. She died suddenly last week. Also passing soon after her was George Proudlock, another long time islander. When people like this die, a part of the community dies with them. They are such a part of the fabric of the place, that we change when they are no longer among us.

And hard as those passings have been, nothing has been harder than the deaths of two young people in road accidents. Lance Mulligan, a new islander but one who made himself friends in the fastpitch league, and amongst his colleagues in the tree business died doing what he loved, which was skateboarding. Bowen's roads are just not safe enough for boards of any type, and Lance's accident near the school has given many pause for thought on road safety.

And then last night, a tragedy down the road from us when a car with three young people in it went off the Miller Road by the bend at Kilarney Creek. Speed was certainly a factor in this accident in which one of Bowen's 19 year old youth lost his life. There has been a vigil of young people at the accident site all day grieving and comforting one another. On another beautiful summer day, folks have been out and about and enjoying the sunshine but the death of this young man has been spoken of in whispers and shared silences.

Too many roadside memorials now, too many funerals. A keen awareness of the fine line between living on and dying, even in the generous beauty of the early summer weather. Please, for the sake of all of us, slow down, be careful and use prudence and good judgement.