When I was in my mid-twenties, an 18-year-old woman died in a horrible automobile accident. She’d been late to work and driving fast down a rural highway.
Somehow her car drifted into the oncoming lane. She struck another vehicle head-on going about 60 miles per hour and died instantly.
A pastor friend asked me about the funeral, which he hadn’t been able to attend. When I said it was packed, he nodded slowly and replied, “They always show up for the young ones.”
The death of a young person can shake a community to its core because it so obviously goes against nature. And the untimely passing of 4-year-old MaCali Cormier has broken the hearts of the tiny community of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
According to The Canadian Press, MaCali had gone with her family to an annual parade on Nov. 24. Dubbed the Christmas Parade of Lights, it is a favorite of adults and kids alike.
— Elizabeth McMillan (@elizmcmillan) November 26, 2018
Yet something different happened this time around. For some reason, the parking situation had shifted — and the resulting crush of vehicles ended up proving fatal for little MaCali.
Local resident Vance Webb told The Canadian Press that cars “were parked all along the parade route, bumper-to-bumper. It created hundreds of spots where kids were running in and out.”
“It reduced the road size. Of course, kids want to see the parade, so there’s a tendency for them to poke out from behind the cars,” he said.
Webb, who has lived in Yarmouth for 14 years, maintained that he’d never seen cars lined up like that before. Yet the Christmas Parade of Lights’ official Facebook page clearly stated that parking would be available on the street.
As the parade began to wind down, Webb and several other adults noticed that one of the floats had begun to buck in an odd manner. Suddenly, it came to a stop, and onlookers noticed an object beneath it on the ground.
That object was MaCali. And when the realization struck, the screaming started.
It’s a very somber night in Yarmouth. Many people at the vigil this evening were also at the parade on Saturday. The whole community really is mourning the tragic death of MaCali Cormier. pic.twitter.com/A29pDfvCJp
— Natasha Pace (@NatashaPace) November 26, 2018
“All the adults were crying,” Webb said. “Everywhere I saw, there were hundreds of people crying.”
Little MaCali had perished, crushed beneath the float. But she left behind a legacy of warm-hearted sweetness.
Family friend Devan Boudreau said, “Even if you were a stranger and you walked by her in the mall, and you looked at her, she’d say hi or give you a hug. … She was so full of joy, and she was so happy.”
Global News reported that hundreds of mourners flooded Yarmouth’s Frost Park to remember MaCali’s life. They clutched teddy bears and wore purple, the little girl’s favorite color.
An organizer of the vigil said, “I just hope that (her family members) all know we, as a community, stand behind them for anything they need.” Indeed, complete strangers are stepping up to help meet the family’s needs.
H.M. Huskilson’s Funeral Homes didn’t charge a single penny for the funeral. It is also facilitating collections for a trust fund that will benefit the family.
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