One by one, Oliver Martin’s three sisters pulled free from a group embrace yesterday, each lifting her head as if to shake off the pain before rising to the podium to bid a last farewell to her brother.
Ally, Georgie and Syd Martin each tried valiantly to compose herself in front of a crowd of about 500 mourners. Weary from grief, they filled the stark, modest pews at Rosedale Presbyterian Church and spilled out into the foyer and courtyard.
Each sister succeeded for a moment to talk about Martin without crying. But, as they neared the end of their speeches, referring to their brother as someone who wouldn’t dwell on sorrow, but push past it, they lost their emotional foothold and broke into choking sobs.
“I just want you to know that I love you so much,” said Ally. “I’m so proud of you.”
A day earlier, many of the same people came to Rosedale United Church, a short distance away, to pay their last respects to Martin’s lifelong friend, Dylan Ellis. The two men, both 25, were gunned down last week in a shocking and seemingly unprovoked attack.