Today, as I was checking my email, I received an invite to join a Facebook group--Canada lights a candle for Tim McLean.
I had already joined R.I.P Tim McLean on Facebook, which is now up to over 74,000 members.
Most people have already heard of the horrific bus slaying, but what many may not have heard of are all the stories people are sharing about what a wonderful young man Tim McLean was.
Yes, there are questions--so many of them--about why him, why that way, what instigated it, did he know his killer. Those questions may, sadly, never be answered fully, or at all. Everyone will be looking for answers for a long time to come. That is the harsh reality of murder.
And I know this firsthand. I am also a survivor. My brother Jason Kaye was brutally murdered in Edmonton on January 23, 2006. His case is still open; his killer never found.
What makes deaths like Tim's and Jason's so hard is the knowledge that they had their whole lives ahead of them. They were too young to go. And they never should have left this earth in such a violent manner.
Tim's family and friends are now traveling the path that my family and my brother's friends traveled in 2006. It is a bumpy road that lies ahead, and one way that we got through it was to remember Jason for who he was and meant to each of us. To remember all the good things about him.
I pray that Tim's family and friends will keep focused on that. Remember Tim's smiling face and all the things about him that made him unique and special. Remember Tim.
When my brother died, we were amazed at the support of friends, old and new, and that support helped keep us afloat at times. Tim's brutal death has sparked shock, outrage and disbelief in so many people worldwide, and the support is showing through groups on Facebook and through pages on MySpace. I pray that Tim's family finds comfort in this show of support.
Today, I lit a candle for Tim. I thought about him, this young man I've never met, but feel connected to. I thought about his family, his sister. I can feel her pain especially. I know what they're going through in many ways. I know they will need strength to walk this path together.
After I posted a message to Tim's family on the 'Light a candle...' site, I received a phone call from Kevin Crush, a reporter for the Edmonton Journal. He'd read my Facebook post and my reference to being a survivor. He asked me a few questions about my own journey and how I feel regarding Tim and his family.
The one thing I never said, but should have is this:
No matter how hard this journey may feel, no matter how impossible it may seem, Tim's family can survive this. I think there will always be questions, always the 'what-ifs', but the key is to focus only on Tim's life, on everything he accomplished, everything he did that was good, funny, helpful etc. The regrets are the hardest things to deal with, but it may help to remember that we all have regrets--always. It's part of life. We cannot focus on what we did not do (that's in the past, which we cannot change); we can only focus on what we will do now.
Today I will think of Tim McLean. I am sure I would have been blessed to have known him. I know his family and friends are.
The most important thing I've learned after dealing with the murder of my brother Jason is this:
There is always light at the end of even the darkest tunnel.
I am sure that Tim is in that light.
So today please take a few minutes out of your day and light a candle for Tim. And pray for his family.
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif