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Tornado victim's widow says grief still fresh


The Canadian Press
August 21, 2012 — Residents of Goderich, Ontario are remembering the deadly tornado that swept through their town a year ago and destroyed much of its historic downtown. The widow of the only fatality says her grief is still sharp.


Brenda Turcotte Laberge placed white roses by a monument honouring her husband Tuesday
Brenda Turcotte Laberge placed white roses by a monument honouring her husband Tuesday

Time has brought a measure of hope and relief to a southwestern Ontario town pummelled by a deadly tornado last summer, but the woman whose husband died in the powerful storm said Tuesday her grief remains just as raw a year later.

Brenda Turcotte Laberge shook with anguish as she put white roses by a monument honouring her husband, the only person killed in the savage twister that laid waste to much of downtown Goderich in a matter of minutes.

Normand Laberge, 61, was working at the Sifto salt mine when the Lake Huron community was battered by the most powerful tornado to hit the province in years.

Residents of the picturesque community paid tribute Tuesday to the veteran salt mine worker in a solemn ceremony, one of several events commemorating the disaster that has irreversibly transformed their town.

Her voice breaking, Turcotte Laberge said she was moved by the gesture but found the anniversary itself almost too painful to bear.

"I'm sad, I'm lonesome, I miss my Normie," she said. "It's hard to be here. It's nice that they've done all this but this is the last year for me."

Her husband's absence only recently started to sink in, she said.

"When Normie was gone last year, I went on pretending he was at work and I could get through the days. But when I sold the house and moved, I couldn't pretend no more," she said. "It finally hit me that he was gone." 

Tuesday, August 21 marked the one-year anniversary of the F3 tornado in Goderich.

The Canadian Press

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