Memorial held at students’ request
Tim Wieclawski/metro ottawa
The best way to honour the memories of three Carleton University students who died in a crash late last month is for their friends to work toward achieving their dreams, the families of the trio said yesterday.
At a memorial for Mark MacDonald, 20, Brianne Deschamps and Vanessa Crawford, both 19, at the university, students were told their friends would have been happy to see them succeed.
"Study hard and remember to tell your parents you love them," Stephen Deschamps, the father of Brianne, told the 125 people gathered at Fenn Lounge. "She would have wanted to see everyone do well."
Students had requested a formal ceremony to grieve the loss of the students, who died early Jan. 23 when a Toyota 4-Runner driven by MacDonald struck a city bus at Heron Road and Riverside Drive. Students prayed and lit candles during the memorial.
Recalling the morning last month when two police officers knocked on his door, Vanessa Crawford’s father, Lee, urged students to express their love to their parents often, "to make a point of it, because life is too damn short," he said.
"If a wave of kindness and loves starts here at Carleton, then Vanessa’s life would not have been in vain," he said.
Mark’s uncle, Eric MacDonald, reminded people to pray for the surviving two passengers of the SUV. Ben Gardiner, Mark’s roommate, is still recovering in hospital while Monica Neascsu, Mark’s girlfriend, suffered injuries in the crash.
"Mark undoubtedly loved life and lived it to the fullest. Yes, it could a reason he is not here with us today," said MacDonald.
Rev. Dr. Tom Sherwood said the memorial was the first chance for many students to grieve together following the collision. For many of the youth, it was their first experience with bereavement.
"My hope for this event is that they find the support they need from each other," he said.
The investigation into the crash is continuing.