Symphony of sympathy brings relief to mother of Tasered Dziekanski
rafe arnott/metro vancouver
« I feel better because I know somebody thinks about me. I got 400 letters before Christmas and we sent (replies) to every one. »
Every letter, poem and painting Zofia Cisowski receives from strangers offering condolence over the death of her son, Robert Dziekanski, she reads, replies to and keeps.
Yesterday, she was sent a third and final notebook signed by Vancouver airport staff and travellers.
"It was very emotional because lots of (Canadians) say they’re with me all the time," Cisowski said yesterday from her home in Kamloops.
"I feel better because I know somebody thinks about me," she said. "I got 400 letters before Christmas and we sent (replies) to every one.
"I got a letter from a 14-year-old girl, she painted a very beautiful picture of a Canadian flag holding the Polish (coat of arms)," she said.
"I don’t know this girl and I had to answer because it was so beautiful."
Dziekanski, 40, died on Oct. 14, handcuffed on the floor at Vancouver International Airport after being Tasered by RCMP.
He had arrived 10 hours earlier on a flight from Poland and was going to live with his mother in Kamloops.
He didn’t speak English and witnesses to the incident said he’d been behaving erratically.
Layne Daggett, airport chaplain, said he was with Cisowski while she perused one of the airport’s memorial books on Tuesday after arriving in Vancouver from Poland.
"I met her the day of the tragedy. Then I met her on Tuesday," he said. "I walked her down the escalator and told her it must be very difficult for her, and she snuggled in close and braced herself. But she’s pretty stoic."
The books are filled cover-to-cover with thousands of condolence messages, many in other languages.
"Memorial books are a wonderful thing," Daggett said, adding that some people came to the airport explicitly to sign the book.
"People from all over the world stopped in. Some just wrote their name and (some) filled a paragraph or two," he said.
"I think (Cisowski) was very pleased that people were taking the time to do that."