To all whom are involved or hold an interest in Const. Michael Potvin’s inquest:
There are many questions that come to the surface when we talk about an inquest. How did this happen and why? How could this have happened to my husband? Why did it happen to him?
There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t think about what happened to Mike on July 13, 2010 or ask myself questions about it. I will likely be haunted by these thoughts every day for the rest of my life. I know others will as well.
The truth is that I could drive myself crazy by trying to find an answer for “why?” Ultimately, I will never know the reason, no matter how many facts are revealed or how many accounts are told. The truth is that none of this will ever bring my husband back to me.
For myself, it is important not so much to find an answer as to why this happened to Mike. My concern has always been focused more on the question of how? How are we going to learn from this tragedy? How are we going to ensure that this never happens again?
It is so easy to turn towards despair and anger when you lose someone you love more than anything in the world, but I try very actively not to walk down that path. I have struggled emotionally with everything that comes along with this inquest; the questions, the media attention, the judgements and opinions, and of course, all of the memories of the worst day of my life playing on repeat.
I can deal with this. I have dealt with it before and I will deal with it again in the future. This is my reality. However, the predominant thought that enters my mind in light of all this attention is, “what am I going to tell my son when he is older”?
So here is my request and my wish to everyone who is involved or has an interest in what has happened to Michael (and I speak solely for myself and no one else). My wish is that we take as much positivity from this tragedy as possible. My wish is that instead of pointing fingers we find forgiveness. I hope that we learn from our errors and that those who are able to make changes for the better do so.
Most importantly, what I want my son to take away from this chapter of his history is this: I want him to know that friends from the entire territory rallied around his mother in her darkest hours by bringing food, prayers and support for days on end. I want him to know that the entire town of Mayo was by the river that evening, looking for his dad.
I want him to remember that members of our RCMP family (both members and spouses) never left his mom’s side and still continue to support her to this day. I want him to know that there were friends of his dad that didn’t stop searching until they could bring him home to us.
I want him to know how a whole village came together to celebrate his birth with a party like no other. I want him to know that his father was proud to be a Yukoner, that he was a member of a community he truly cared for, that he believed in his work and that he was proud to be a Mountie.
I want my son to know that we did everything in our power to find his daddy, to know the circumstances of his passing and that we have done everything possible to make sure that this never happens to anyone again. I want my son to know that his dad was not just another story about the RCMP to be exploited in the news.
His dad was a young man with the same ambitions and values as many other men his age, but he was ours and ours only. He was unique. He was your daddy and there are many stories and laughs to be shared about him that no one else will ever share. Above all else, I want my son to know how much he was loved by his father even before he was born and I want us all to honour Michael the best way that we can.
I ask that we come together as a community to honour Michael’s life. if you take anything away from this inquest, I ask that above all else, you remember him for who he was as a person, what he stood for in his work, and not simply for the way in which he died.
With deep gratitude to all our Yukon friends, then and now.
Allison Potvin was Michael Potvin’s wife.