Debby Skramstad Nickell living ‘a mother’s worst nightmare’

For Debby Skramstad Nickell of Lake Cowichan, life lately has been a combination of worrying and waiting.

She has had no news of her son, Rodney MacKinnon, since he went missing May 2. "It’s a mother’s worst nightmare," she said, adding that sometimes she’s not sure how she actually copes with it.

"You sort of feel like a basketball where you’re thrown up in the air and you’re just about ready to hit the ground and explode when someone catches you. If it wasn’t for family and friends I don’t think I’d be in very good shape," she said.

One of the ways to deal with the pain and tension is to go out and physically look for her 35-year-old son herself.

"Today [Wednesday] we were out. We walked, we four-byed up some pretty incredible roads. We got out and wandered around. I swear to God I’ve lost my voice from calling his name."

Night times are challenging. "At two or three o’clock in the morning, I’ll get up and wander downtown just in case he’s come into town. It’s mind boggling the different things that go through your mind. You just act upon anything, any thought," Skramstad Nickell said.

She said she didn’t know how many people were still out searching but there were lots of them. "Sometimes I just break down and cry because of the support we’ve gotten. And from people I don’t even know, too. Some of those people on Facebook commenting on Rod’s Facebook page [Search for Rod MacKinnon] I’ve never met before. They’ve even taken days off of work to continue looking for any sign of him. Words cannot say how someone feels about that."

She agrees with her friend, Susan Kenyon Lowe, who earlier this week downplayed any idea that MacKinnon has simply gone off somewhere on his own without telling anyone.

"Rod came home to the Lake from Calgary because his grandfather was elderly and having health problems. He said, ‘I can work in Calgary anytime. I have only a limited time with my grandfather and I want to spend it with him.’ That’s why him disappearing is so out of character," Skramstad Nickell said.

"He wouldn’t have walked away. Not when he relocated to be by his grandfather. He dropped in to see him all the time, as well as coming to give me a hand whenever I needed it."

Right now, with MacKinnon still missing, it’s just a case of keeping on keeping on, she said.

"We still have hope. If we haven’t found any clues, it just means we have to look a little harder."

She has been overwhelmed by the way people have stepped up to help out.

They are giving her a little piece of their own hearts every time, she said.

"Food being dropped off. Delivered to the mountain, to the people who were searching. And just the other day a lady I never met in my life showed up at the house and she said, ‘I’m looking for the mother of the lost boy. We’re going hiking and we wanted to get some posters of him so we all knew who were looking for.’ That’s so amazing. That woman didn’t have to spend her day doing that but she chose to. The community is really, really what’s keeping me going."

Family, too, (her step-daughter, son and daughter, as well as the seven-year-old she’s caring for) is there for Skramstad Nickell.

Anyone with information about MacKinnon should call Lake Cowichan RCMP at 250-749-6668. Posters will be taken to all campgrounds for the upcoming long weekend.

Just Posted

Old-growth logging protesters block a road on Monday, June 14. (Facebook photo)
Old-growth logging protesters block RCMP access on road near Honeymoon Bay

Police were on their way to enforcement in Fairy Creek area when they were stopped

DAVID VAN DEVENTER
Cowichan Citizen and Lake Cowichan Gazette announce new publisher

David van Deventer has been with Black Press Media since 2014

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
COVID vaccine clinic coming to Lake Cowichan as area numbers lag

Clinic will operate at arena starting June 23

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New Indigenous treatment centre to be built near Duncan

Centre will help survivors of residential schools

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read