In the minutes and hours and weeks following the tragedy, they huddled together on the corner of the street where it happened, in coffee shops and living rooms, and any other place where one or two or more were gathered.
They cried together, leaned on each other, held each other up and caught each other in those moments when their grief overcame them. They shared stories of their friends, laughed at their remembered antics, shook their heads at some of their escapades. They honoured their names, their memories, their lives intersecting.
And time moved on as they struggled to make sense of what they could not make sense of. How could five of their own, five lives whose promise was just beginning to unfold as they travelled through University classes, art college, band practices and sporting events and the plethora of minutiae that make a life, that made these five lives so precious, how could they be gone? How could they be killed in such a brutal fashion?
It was if a giant unseen hand swept down from the north and wiped away the space these five young friends held on earth. One moment, they were laughing and celebrating the end of another school year, the next, they were gone.
Last night, C.C. and I along with hundreds of others came out in support of the efforts of two surviving members of the Zackariah and The Prophets band. Organized by Kyle Tenove and Barry Mason, the evening featured The Fox Who Slept the Day Away, The Ashley Hundred, Windigo and Jesse and the Dandelions, as well as a moving and emotional tribute performance of Zackariah and The Prophets.
And while nothing can make sense of such a horrible loss, the evening, called, High Hopes, did just that. It reminded all of us that no matter what happens in the world around us, we cannot let go of hope for a better future, hope for a kinder world, hope for peace. And we must take action to keep hope alive in all our hearts.
As C.C. and I sat and listened, tapping our feet to the rocking beat of the Prophets, the many young people in the crowd leapt up and hurried en masse to the front of the performance hall to stand as one body, shoulder to shoulder, arms around each other, singing and waving their arms and moving their bodies to the music.
And as they did in the moments following the events of April 15, they held each other up, they supported one another and moved as one body united in memory of Josh and Zacharia and Kaiti Perras, Jordan Segura, and Lawrence Hong, all of whom lost their lives on that fateful day.
And when it was over, when the music quietened and the last thank-you spoken, there was one thing remaining that carried each of us out into the night — the High Hopes that we can make a difference that Barry and Kyle so desperately wanted to instill in everyone.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Zackariah and the Non-Profits (ZATNP) established by the two young men which will then be distributed among the five scholarships and/or trust funds established for Joshua Hunter, Zackariah Rathwell, Lawrence Hong, Jordan Segura and Kaiti Perras.
Their dream is to make a difference in the world. To ensure that the lives of their friends continue to make a difference in the world.
And they are.
I’m sure their friends would have approved and while it doesn’t make sense of what happened, it does create better in the world from a tragedy that has impacted so many.
We can learn much from these young people about what it means to honour and celebrate the lives of those we love — no matter where in time their stories end.