|Sean, Blake and Lyndon Arnal pose with a rugby ball in this undated family handout photo. Courtesy Arnal family|
When one of her children was killed six years ago, Anne Arnal never dreamed she would have to go through the same pain again.
Three of her six children – her freckle-faced, youngest boys – have died in separate accidents on the family’s farm.
Arnal says most people can’t fathom the grief she and her family are suffering. “I could never imagine how or why I would be asked to have to do this,” she says.
“You try to figure out whether you’re supposed to gain something or whether you’re supposed to change somehow or what you’re being tested for … and I don’t have the slightest idea.”
Clifford Arnal grew up on the family homestead near the tiny community of Ravenscrag in southwestern Saskatchewan, where flat prairie turns into rolling hills and valleys. He and his wife raised their children there, and it’s where he and his brother and father spent decades harvesting crops and herding cattle.
Now the place is a reminder of his dead boys.
He hasn’t been back to the farm since he buried two of his sons last summer. He took a construction job and his wife, who has stayed at the farm, makes the five-hour drive east to visit him in Estevan.
He doesn’t know if he’ll ever be able to go back home, he says. The loss is too much to bear.
“It destroyed an entire generation that should be running that farm … There’s no future there now that they’re gone.”