I was 10 years old the first time I saw someone die.
My folks had just moved the family to Calgary and I had no friends, so they signed me up for a summer day camp. The camp had 30 or so kids and we were supervised by three teen agers. Two fifteen year old girls and a sixteen year old boy.
The day it happened, we were marched down to the pool, but it was a hot august day and the pool was at capacity, so our teen supervisors took us to the river.
I had a phobia of water from the age of five because my mother once pushed me into a pool, almost drowning me. So, as I couldn’t swim, I sat on the banks and watched the kids play.
While our teenaged minders were busy trying to fuck each other, I saw a boy go under. He screamed for help. His hands flapped wildly as he gasped for air and tried to keep his head above water. I was the only one who saw him drown.
When I ran to call our watchers, I found the older boy with his hand down one of the girls pants.
I remember stuttering and pointing. The boy scrambled to his feet and ran into the water.
There was screaming and frantic activity that is a blur in my mind. What isn’t a blur is the clear memory I have of a cold dead blue boy laying on the pebbles of the bank. CPR was tried. The ambulance came but it was all too late. He was gone.
I wish I remember his name.
In 2007, I saw man get murdered. It was a late summer night and I was walking with Brant Matthews the FireGuy.
We were on our way back towards the theatre when a man stumbled out of the Lebanese restaurant across the street. He had been stabbed in the neck by his own brother. They had been arguing over money. He collapsed on the ground two steps from the door of the restaurant.
The police and ambulance arrived quickly but it was too late. He was gone. I’ve never seen so much blood.
I watched from the door well of the theatre as people tried to save him. The paramedic furiously pumped his heart
Then, something happened. I will never know for sure if what I experienced was real but somehow, I felt as if a light rose up and out of the body. My eyes opened wide as I felt a tingle and heard a faint sound of some kind. Like chimes in the wind.
I looked up into the night sky in search of its source and was over come with the sense that the mans spirit had risen to heaven. When I looked back at his body, the paramedics were shaking their heads. He was dead. He had bled to death.
He was from Lebanon, had a young family and had lived in Canada for only 6 weeks. His name was Mohamed.