A reader remembers his Son…

From our reader, R.

Hello Arnie,

Thank you for your condolences. For quite some time I have been reading Blazingcatfur, and now that I am not working, grieving my dear David, I read more to keep busy and distracted.

David, our only son, was born on March the 14th, 1994, in Vancouver BC. He was just 22 years old when he passed away, on September 27. There is so much S and I could say about him, and without sounding “cliché” I will mention that he was an exceptionally bright young man. His relatively privileged mind was obvious when at the age of four he enjoyed counting with me up to 2000. At the age of seven he mentioned that zero and infinity were “the same thing”. When I asked him what he meant, he replied “none of them are quantities, they are just concepts”.

However, David had a big disadvantage as well. Inherited from me, he also showed at a very young age symptoms of ADD (looking back, I remember that even as a baby, David had trouble falling asleep). Being of a sensitive nature, it made him feel different and even inadequate. I could go on and on, but I will just mention that David also suffered from concurrent depression, and as many other young people, experimented with diverse substances to help him coping. The fatal substance, fentanyl, was found in the post-mortem examination, and was most probably ingested without his knowledge. In other words, he ingested a substance laced with fentanyl.

These days, teens and young adults, regardless of their social, cultural or economic background, as well as their level of intellect or the attention and love their parents provide, are easy prey for unscrupulous criminals. Most youngsters, either by curiosity or through pressure from peers, experiment with substances. In many cases, their curiosity is satisfied right there, and there is no reason for concern. However, in very few cases, a batch is contaminated with a deadly substance, and this only needs to happen once. Tragically, as parents, now that he is not among us and we cannot help him any more in any way, we don’t know if we could have done anything differently during his short life that could have led to a different outcome.

David, like me when I was young, was an introvert. He did not have many very close friends, just a couple of them dating from elementary school, and a handful of acquaintances. Both of his closest friends talked about him after our Rabbi performed a service at our home this past Wednesday and mentioned that David was very relaxed, “chill”, and always made himself available upon request, displaying an uncommon level of generosity.

After finishing high-school, David enrolled in college, attending classes in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, but soon after, he found out that a conventional learning environment was not for him – he probably felt this same way all along since his early education years, but was unable to express his frustration. Eventually he dropped-out of college.

Thankfully, a friend of ours had been employing him frequently in her catering events since he was sixteen, and was very happy with David’s performance. She often mentioned that she found his attitude very professional and that he was at ease with all the guests, with whom he could fluently communicate in either English, French or Spanish. Also, her husband, who owns and operates a compressor manufacturing company, offered him a part-time and then a full-time position. David’s last day of work was on the 26 of September.

S and I left that same day for Beijing China, in a semi-official capacity as representatives of Canada.

As we were enjoying a nice tour of parts of the city, S’s phone rang and we were given the tragic news. We came back to Vancouver immediately, and we are still totally numb.

David was an avid reader, mostly online. His interests were numerous, varying from science to philosophy to cosmology to politics. S and I were very impressed with his vast knowledge in these fields and by the amount of very sophisticated terms and concepts he had at his fingertips.

Interestingly, his views about current events, which had been more left-centrist compared to mine, had been lately slowly migrating towards a more conservative position. This, of course, was a source of delight for me. Who would anyway blame a young man his age to stand for a more liberal position? After all, I was much older than him when I found some commonsense . . .

I am not very observant religiously speaking and, in spite of being scientifically trained, I still view the Universe with some level of skepticism regarding its existence as a pure act or randomness. And perhaps this is where David and I had some disagreement. Again, it was not that long ago that I would have agreed with him. Now that I am older, I do feel that he is in a better place, and that one day, when God will decide, we will be together again.

Arnie, I was deeply touched when you mentioned to post a remembrance for David. Just, as you kindly offered, please pray for him.

We let him to rest at the Beth Israel Cemetery in Burnaby (suburb of Vancouver) this last Sunday. S and I have reserved two plots on both sides of his grave and, when our time is due, will be next to him. May his soul be now in peace.

S and R