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LETTER: Grateful to our community after our young daughter's death

"We are ever so grateful to all of Shea-Lynn's friends who have shared hugs, stories, pictures, and created a special memorial place for us to visit."
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Our family has been turned upside down by the recent loss of our young daughter, Shea-Lynn McGaw. It is an experience that we never would have imagined but find ourselves deep in. Yet, in spite of the emptiness we feel, and the dreams we had for her, our hearts are full of gratitude for the community that surrounds us with kindness and sympathy. Your love and support have been truly amazing.

While we can't possibly thank and acknowledge everyone individually, as we were blinded by grief in the early days, or simply don't know all who have helped, we want to at least try, in some small way. Please accept this letter as a token of our appreciation.

We offer our heartfelt thanks to the people who were first to the accident scene and who provided assistance before the first responders could arrive. We can't imagine what that was like for you and the burden you will carry, but you stopped to help anyway.

Thank you to all the first responders – police, fire, ambulance, STARS, and victim services. We've heard you say, "It’s the job," but we know this weighs heavy in your hearts and without you there would be chaos. We want you to know that you make a tremendous impact.

Thank you to all of our family members, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and anonymous supporters for being so supportive. All acts of kindness and sympathy (phone calls, visits, food, flowers, gifts, cards, hugs, tears, and donations in Shea-Lynn’s name) surround us with love and comfort. We would be completely lost without you.

We are ever so grateful to all of Shea-Lynn's friends who have shared hugs, stories, pictures, and created a special memorial place for us to visit. These acts of caring and generosity are cherished. The kind heart of our daughter lives on in each of you. Please continue to be there for each other and stay safe.

To Lorne Akins and Bellerose Composite staff, we thank you for the time it took to create a tribute for our daughter within your schools and for the ongoing support you will continue to provide her fellow students and friends. We are hearing first-hand that you are making a difference.

And finally, thank you to those who helped lay her to rest and helped to bring us some peace; we will always remember those moments.

During a time that feels unbearable, the community has shown up and been there for us. We are truly grateful to live in such a great community. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Take care and stay safe.

Todd, Brenda and Aiden McGaw, St. Albert