Today marks one year since Michael Zehaf-Bibeau cowardly shot and killed a Canadian soldier, Corp. Nathan Cirillo, and then proceeded to enter the halls of Parliament Hill.
It was a horrific day for Canada.
It was one of my worst nightmares.
I spent the day in shock, confused, in tears, trying to gather information —; it’s my job as a journalist to find the facts, angles and to help my colleagues and newsroom tackle the story.
But this day was personal for me … my mother was inside Parliament Hill, inside the caucus room, just steps away from the Prime Minister.
I could not get a hold of her.
My father was also in Ottawa that day.
He was at the airport, ready to board a plane when my mother called him telling him what was happening, reassuring him she was fine.
They both cried on the phone.
Like a true prince charming he ran off the plane telling my mother he was coming to her —; but by the time he got to Parliament Hill it was in lockdown. The whole area was in lockdown.
He couldn’t get to her —; no contact.
Instead, he managed to get back into his room at the Laurier Hotel, next to Parliament Hill.
All he could do was watch what was unfolding on TV.
I was in Toronto panicked and rushing to work, trying to find out more information, trying to call my mother —; we finally connected briefly —; she told me she was in the caucus room with several other MPs and Senators.
They barricaded the room, the prime minister was hidden in a closet.
They banded together like soldiers ready to take down whoever tried to break through. It was incredible. It was terrifying.
While talking to me she tries to sound calm, but I know she is terrified.
I feel helpless, angry, frustrated, torn —; the shooting on Parliament Hill was one of my stories that day.
The video of the shooting inside played over and over.
I could barely watch it knowing where she was when it was all happening.
My mother and father finally connect. Some relief —; but only some.
It was one of the hardest days of my life.
I thank the police, RCMP, and the incredible Kevin Vickers for taking Zehaf-Bibeau down, for saving everyone in that building, for saving my mother (I actually got a chance to shake his hand and thank him in person).
For 14 hours my mother and father were apart —; I cannot imagine what my father was going through —; it all still hurts.
My mother is an extremely brave woman, but we talk about what happened on Oct. 22, 2014 regularly.
I don’t want the memory to hurt her anymore than it has.
Since that horrific day my mother has retired as a Senator —; she served for 3.5 years doing great things —; we are very proud of her.
Oct. 22, 2014 was one of the worst days of my life.
I have covered a lot of devastation, wars, terrorism, 9/11 (which changed my role as a journalist and as an Indian living in Canada —; but that’s another story), the Air India bombing, but this attack on Canada was more personal —; too close —; to my family.
I don’t know what I would have done if I lost her that day.
The bullet holes —; horrific —; so close to where she was hiding behind barricaded doors.
I love my mother. Prayers for Canada today.