Jeannette Holman-Price lost her daughter Jessica in a tragic accident in 2005. Holman-Price’s beautiful, beloved daughter, then only 21, was crushed by a snowplow on the streets of Quebec after heroically pushing her baby brother out of harm’s way.
While dealing with the unimaginable tragedy, Holman-Price made it her motherly mission in life, through what she heartbreakingly called The Jessica Campaign, to see that no other family would ever be affected.
Bonding over grief
I was one of the first journalists to speak with the mournful though determined mother shortly after she began her advocacy work which sought to see lifesaving side-guards installed on all heavy equipment located throughout North America.
I still recall that first painful, though incredibly moving, conversation we had. Before I turned on my recorder, we were simply two mothers bonding over grief. I had lost a brother-in-law to an accident with a dump truck, and knew loss.
Though certainly nothing compared to the loss she felt after the death of a child, we did have common ground, and being a mother myself, I could only hope I would never, ever, truly comprehend her anguish.
Her words still ring in my ears. ‘‘I want to make sure no one ever has to go through a loss like this. I want to make it my life’s work to make sure everyone gets where they need to go safely.’’
Mandatory truck skirts
Over the years, Holman-Price and I have stayed in touch, doing numerous stories and updates as her campaign achieved milestones, like fighting for by-laws that made it mandatory for city contractors, in this province and beyond, to equip their heavy duty vehicles with truck skirts. Sometimes, I simply listened as she vented about some roadblock or another she encountered along her way. Other times, we simply played catch up with one another’s busy, hectic lives.
Well, I placed another call to Holman-Price two nights ago. My purpose? To thank her, and to honour the memory of her daughter by telling her that a side-guard, installed on a private contractor’s piece of heavy equipment, most likely saved my life. Her response?
Quiet reflection at first followed by a few shared tears, and then these oh so meaningful words; ‘‘She’s working her magic.’’
Jessica’s legacy certainly has worked magic, but only because of one heartbroken yet passionate and very dedicated, devoted and selfless mother. Thank you, Jeannette, from the bottom of my heart, for everything you’ve given and done. My life, for one, most likely depended on it.