Once in a while we have people come into our world and put life into perspective for us. You hear their story and their struggles and you learn the value of human life. You understand something just a little bit bigger than yourself.
My dear friend Priscilla Blake came into my life in the fall of 2012. I had just left school to take care of my health and focus on healing, when I met Priscilla at an event I helped a friend put together called “Workout For the Fallen” — an event aimed at honouring our war heroes that live and have lived in our own back yard, fighting for our freedom. Priscilla’s husband PO2 Craig Blake was one of the unfortunate ones. Craig was only a few weeks into his first tour of Afghanistan when an IED killed him and injured a fellow soldier. Craig was the first Canadian Sailor to die overseas in the war. His death came on the eve of the Navy’s 100th anniversary, a time of celebration. While the military community gathered for the celebrations in Parade Square in Halifax Nova Scotia, it was with heavy hearts we learned of Blake’s passing.
I distinctly remember hearing this news. This was my first parade with my Navy boyfriend. I had only just begun my journey as a military spouse, learning the lingo and understanding the protocol. But I understood what this meant. This was huge. This was earth shattering. For the first time I second guessed my lifestyle choice. Could I handle that news? Could anyone?
Priscilla Blake and her family are “the strength behind the uniform” personified. She handles life with grace and dignity, protecting and empowering her two brave children. Her entrance into my world has completely changed my outlook on life. Without knowing it, she’s taught me about what it means to be a military wife. I can confidently say Priscilla leaves a foot print on everyone she meet’s heart. I am so honoured to have her in my life and I treasure our friendship.
Saturday afternoon, the community gathered at the former Montebello Park in Dartmouth for the renaming in honour of Craig. The park will forever be known as “PO2 Craig Blake Memorial Park” and as one of the speakers so eloquently put it, children will forever ask their parents who Craig was, when they visit the park. They’ll learn about the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country and they’ll learn about the Blake family who remained the strength behind the uniform.