The smaller the town, the bigger the impact a sudden death has on its residents. The tragic effects are made worse when more than one person is claimed, and magnified once again when the victims are young, vibrant contributors, as Clearwater's Skye and Courtney Buck both were.
The high school sweethearts were both teachers -he at Clearwater secondary and she at Raft River Elementary. They are missing and considered dead after their vehicle left the snowy, icy Yellowhead Highway
Sunday night and tumbled down a 30-metre embankment into the North Thompson River.
It's a terrible loss for both the community of 5,000 and the greater region. Both graduated from high school in Clearwater and went on to Thompson River University, where Skye was a star basketball player.
If the deaths were not heart-breaking enough, she was pregnant, and today would have been his 31st birthday.
Grief counselors and victim services were in Clearwater Monday to help students and staff at the schools cope with the incident but even the RCMP - people used to dealing with tragedy - have said this tragedy is more difficult. There is simply no way to comprehend the grief their families and loved ones and all who knew them are going through.
There will be many tears shed in the days and weeks ahead, but one of the strengths of a small community is the strong bonds of support that its residents provide each other. It's an important part of the grieving process to be able to share memories and talk about who these wonderful young people were.
Skye and Courtney will be remembered for what inspirations they were to countless young people and for the energy and enthusiasm they wove into the community.
Our hearts go out to everyone who knew them.
© Kamloops Daily News