Sara's song: Family of slain officer looks to find good in unimaginable loss
The husband of a police officer killed during a shooting in Fredericton last month is speaking out about how his family is coping with the devastating loss, their hope for the future, and a special song that is helping them through the dark days.
Steven Burns says his community, his friends, and his family have been a source of strength for him and his three boys since the death of his wife, Const. Sara Burns.
Sara was shot and killed outside an apartment complex on Aug. 10, along with fellow officer Const. Robb Costello and civilians Bobbie Lee Wright and Donnie Robichaud.
Steven says he and his boys have been keeping busy and they’re doing the best they can. He also says he’s overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
“People from all over the world have reached out to me and it’s very comforting from that side,” he says. “It just makes you know how important she was and how it gives you that comfort.”
Steven also says he now believes that when it’s your time, it’s your time – a belief that stems from getting to spend the entire day together before Sara died.
“We got up and had breakfast together at a local restaurant,” he recalls fondly. “She always would have a nap in the afternoon before her work, because she was going to be up all night, and we had a nap. We just had a fantastic day.”
In addition to the love, support, and memories, Steven says a special song is also helping them make it through the dark days, and is ensuring his wife’s legacy lives on.
“I listen to it every night and every morning. I just do it because it gives me a lot of comfort.”
Unable to find a song or hymn that would speak to their loss, a long-time friend of the Burns family wrote the song, titled “We’d Rather Have You,” for the regimental funeral.
“On Sunday evening, I think it was probably about 6 p.m. I sat down, and by 8 p.m. I had pretty much the song,” says Steve Patterson. “When I came here Monday morning, played it for Steve with my guitar …it was funny because he said, ‘That really sucked man,’ with tears in his eyes. He really liked it.”
“For him to come up with such a beautiful song that quickly, and really it resonates, I think, not only with, it could be Sara or Robb, anyone, a service member that has passed away, to me that’s why we think that this potentially could have more good from it.”
The Sara Burns Memorial Fund was created last month and one of the first major steps to raising money is through the song.
“We’d Rather Have You” will be released Friday on iTunes. It will cost $1 to download the song, with all proceeds going towards causes in the Fredericton area. Steven says that’s what Sara would have wanted.
“She would call this showy, and I don’t want it to seem like that. For me it’s about, how do we help people based on what happened? It was a tragedy, and this community will grow from it, but some good has to come from it,” he says. “I don’t know how we’re going to do that, but this is part of it, this song is part of it.”
He says mental health and violence against women are two of the causes on his mind, because they were always on Sara’s mind.
The memorial fund will eventually have an advisory board, but right now the focus is on raising money. The parent company Steven works with is offering to match the first $50,000 raised and his goal is to reach $100,000 by the end of September.
He says the song is the first step to reaching that goal.
“I hope that people that are out there, and maybe they’re going through a tragedy or even a loss, that that can comfort them in some way, because you know, if you listen to the words … it’s what everybody would want. If you could have the person back, you certainly would want them back.”
In addition to iTunes, the song will soon be available on Spotify and Apple Music. CTV Morning Live will also air the song in its entirety Friday morning.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown