Meet an vintage store proprietor offering an area to speak a couple of Nova Scotia tragedy

2021-04-14 14:30:40

An vintage retailer could be like a time capsule.

The floral teapot that sits on the shelf, or a rusty ring close by, as soon as belonged to somebody who handed away and was enormously liked.

Cees van den Hoek sees this day-after-day as proprietor of his store within the picturesque group of Nice Village, N.S.

Coping with individuals who have misplaced family members is the character of his enterprise.

“After I speak to them, it sort of places them comfy just a little bit that any person will get their stuff and like it as soon as once more and that’s fairly satisfying,” Hoek mentioned inside his store on the aspect of a freeway that snakes via a quiet neighbourhood.

Learn extra:
Emotional aftermath — households of victims in Nova Scotia capturing wrestle to heal

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The Nice Village Antiques Group Store has all the time been about preserving recollections in a manner, but it surely additionally grew to become one thing extra after the mass capturing on April 18, 2020.

On that tragic day, a gunman dressed as an RCMP officer terrorized the province throughout a 13-hour rampage throughout rural Nova Scotia that killed 22 folks.

Hoek came upon concerning the capturing the subsequent day after receiving messages from pals, with some who wished to ensure he was secure.

“(I used to be in) disbelief and scared since you didn’t know what was going,” he mentioned. “Provides me shivers even speaking about it now.”

Hoek’s private story is one among three that shall be instructed by World Information this week to indicate how folks residing in the neighborhood are therapeutic virtually a yr after the capturing.


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Jenny Kierstead discusses Nova Scotia capturing memorial run


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In the course of the time of the capturing, the store was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it solely opened a few months later.

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When it did, “everyone was nonetheless speaking about it” and bringing it up after they visited the store.

“All people was in a state of disbelief. There was tears. There have been those who had been nonetheless in shock,” Hoek mentioned.

“I believe persons are nonetheless in shock now… It’s a very long time in the past now in some methods, however in different methods, it’s nonetheless very contemporary.”

However Hoek has discovered a option to cope by largely speaking to different folks in the neighborhood, and located that others wanted to have that very same alternative.

“If I might help any person else get just a little additional (from their grief), then that’s what helps me,” he mentioned.

Learn extra:
‘It’s hurtful’ — Households of Nova Scotia capturing victims say RCMP holding them in the dead of night

So when a few of his prospects come into the shop and produce it up even now, Hoek doesn’t shrink back from the dialog and listens to them as they share their emotions of grief or shock.

“It comes up fairly commonly,” he mentioned.

It’s additionally one thing that individuals from exterior of the city wish to speak about after they arrive on the retailer, which “could be just a little difficult” as a result of they might not have been immediately affected by it.

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“It nonetheless rocked folks from throughout the nation, so it’s one thing that they must take care of as nicely. All people grieves in their very own manner, so speaking about it and asking questions and stuff like that… it usually helps them,” Hoek mentioned.


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Nova Scotia RCMP set surplus gear ablaze practically a yr after mass capturing – Mar 10, 2021

He mentioned he doesn’t carry it up himself and would quite try this inside his shut group.

“If any person brings it up, I do attempt to allow them to… unload just a little bit,” Hoek mentioned. uncertain about whether or not that was the fitting phrase to make use of, particularly since he doesn’t need this to be about himself.

“It’s not about me, it’s concerning the those who had been actually affected by it.”

Hoek moved to Portapique in 2007 and spent numerous his childhood there as nicely. It’s the place he calls dwelling.

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“That is the place I all the time wished to be,” mentioned Hoek, and the tragedy of the mass capturing didn’t change that.

“I like being near the water. I just like the small city…There’s numerous nice folks out right here,” he mentioned.

Learn extra:
‘13 Hours: Contained in the Nova Scotia Bloodbath’ podcast explores Canadian tragedy in-depth

As a father, he additionally sees Portapique as the perfect place to lift his youngsters.

Even when the tragedy struck, it didn’t solely carry the entire group collectively, but additionally the entire province and even components of the nation, Hoek mentioned.

However COVID-19 nonetheless made it troublesome. Since folks couldn’t be collectively in particular person or give one another a hug, Hoek mentioned “numerous additional connections” had been made via social media channels.

“Folks needed to discover methods to take care of it,” he mentioned.


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Throughout that point of tragedy and having to take care of that in a pandemic, he realized that “there’s numerous issues you’ll be able to’t do, so do those which you can.”

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He mentioned simply chatting with folks for a couple of minutes through immediate messaging could make a distinction for anybody concerned.

When Hoek was requested what ‘Nova Scotia Robust’ meant to him, he mentioned it confirmed that “everyone’s sticking collectively,” however that “it’s additionally OK to not be robust.”

“As a result of very often when persons are being robust, they could be overlaying one thing up and I believe it’s higher to succeed in out and get some assist when you want it. There are those who wish to allow you to, so that you don’t must be robust on a regular basis.”




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