You want to interview me? As per habit, I watched the six o’clock news on September 8, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II had passed that afternoon and a Book of Condolence would be set up at Queens Park, starting the next day. Immediately, I said to my husband, “I want to go there to sign the book.”
The next morning I got out of bed earlier than normal, had a shower, and tried on different outfits as if I was going to meet the Queen. Whatever my thoughts I ended up with a sleeveless summer dress and a beach hat. Dressed for the part as respect for the Queen, we checked the Go Train schedule, and headed out. With only seconds to spare, the train arrived, and I was on a mission with my supportive husband by my side.
The 55-minute train ride heightened my expectations as we conversed about the coming experience and the purpose of our day trip. “I’m taking you out on a date,” I told my husband, “So this is special.” Secretly I just wanted to visit downtown Toronto once again, so this was a good reason, plus lunch at some outdoor patio.
We walked to the legislative buildings from Union Station, not realizing the distance! That day we walked over 12 kilometres. Not bad!
Steps to Queens Park
And the extra steps tested my already tired feet as we searched around the buildings to find the front entrance, and when we entered we had to wait. The woman before us had a cap that covered her face but was she writing a book? It seemed like it. Though I’m a writer, I couldn’t think of anything wise, but as soon as I situated myself on the chair and picked up the pen, words appeared on the page. I’ve written many condolences to people who’ve lost their loved ones, and this was no different. The Queen left a grieving family behind. Personally, I recently read a message on a sympathy card addressed to us when my sister passed decades ago. Those words mattered then, and brought me comfort, even years later.
Once we stepped outside of the legislative building we were met with a guy holding a mike and two others with bulky cameras on their shoulders. As soon as I recognized one guy from the news, I blurted out, “I know you. Richard, eh.” I didn’t know the film crew had been inside the building filming me and now they wanted an interview.
You Want To Interview Me?
It’s true that if we recognize someone, even a stranger, we immediately have a connection, and in this case, I smiled when I saw a familiar face. A nervous laughter I’m sure, but obviously they had already stopped us on the way down those long stairs.
Richard peppered me with question after question, the camera guy added more. One of them asked me, “What did you write in the book?” How am I supposed to remember! At this point I must confess, I don’t know what tone of voice I had—squeaky or low—but thankfully they captured it well. I rattled about where I was from and told them more than they needed to know which of course they edited out.
I had forgotten.
When the reporter asked if I had ever seen the queen in person I said, “No.” Oblivious to my negative answer, it wasn’t until the next day I found out from my son who lives in Winnipeg that I had seen the queen there. After searching our thousands of old photos we came up with evidence that we were at an event with the Queen at The Forks on July 3, 2010. Triggered with this memory, I remember her poise as she stood dignified behind the podium, colourful as usual.
Someone commented about an ambassador on my Facebook. Not only for the Queen, but as this event will be in history books, we can recognize Canadians for their quiet participation in the monarchy. On another note and as an ambassador for Jesus Christ, I’m blessed to have taken part in this. My 20 seconds of fame means nothing unless there’s some eternal value. We’re all living out our destiny and purpose in life, but do we miss an opportunity to leave a footprint?
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 NIV
If I have one lesson from this experience, it would be that don’t be afraid to follow the leading of the Spirit, or your intuition. When I heard the plans of a condolence book, I knew I had to write a simple message of encouragement for future generations.