As posted in the Halifax Herald on June 23, 2012
We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the many hundreds of people who have supported us since James’s death six months ago. It has been the most difficult six months of our lives. From the first moments of being thrust into that nightmare, our calls for help were answered. We have been surrounded and supported by James’s many close friends, their parents, James’s girlfriend Morgan and her parents, and so many others who showed us compassion and incredible strength. We are grateful to all of you.
Our call for spiritual help was answered by Rev. Dr. P.A. Sandy McDonald; we will never forget your kindness. We also extend our sincere thanks to the expert medical staff of the Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit of the QEII Hospital who provided excellent care to James and also showed a deep concern for our welfare in the last hours of his life. We would also like to thank Mark Bonin RN, Organ Donation Coordinator, for his kindness and understanding as we planned James’s legacy of life in the midst of sorrow and grief.
We will be forever grateful to the close friend who drove us to the homes of our parents and stayed with us while we delivered the heartbreaking news to James’s grandparents. To the family and friends who stayed with them and supported them in their grief, we are all grateful.
We will never forget the kindness we were shown and the help we received from friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, and community members in the days leading up to James’s memorial service and burial.
Over six hundred of you waited patiently to speak to us directly during visitation at the funeral home. We are grateful to each and every one of you. Over five hundred of you took the time to share our grief during the memorial service; and to the family and friends who created such beautiful music, we thank you.
We have read with care over 600 cards and messages from seven countries – messages filled with love and prayers. We are grateful to each and every one of you.
In the weeks following James’s death, over 100 food donations arrived at our home and the homes of our parents. An army of friends managed our kitchen and fed many people over countless days. We were literally being held up with the love and support from friends and family filling our home.
As we journey down the long winding road of grief, many very dear friends and family have helped us place one foot in front of the other. They have been there when we have faltered and fallen back. Grief counsellors, books and good listeners have helped us on this painful journey. A special thanks to those who have been willing to share their own personal stories of loss. They risked opening their wounds to help us heal.
To each and every individual who has helped us in any way, we will always remember and be thankful. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by a huge caring community of people. Some of you continue to take the time to check in with us or drop off gifts of food. We thank you so very much.
One very dear friend has created a loving memorial to James in the form of a website (www.jamesmattatall.ca). We thank her from the bottom of our hearts. It is a lasting tribute to James’s personality and the way he led his life… with kindness, joy, love, caring and consideration for others.
James loved to laugh and make others laugh. He had an innate sense of fairness and justice… he would advocate for those less fortunate and stand up for the rights of others. He exhibited these traits from his earliest days in school. He worked hard and enjoyed adventure. James would be writing his Journeyman papers right about now on his way to becoming a journeyman electrician and continuing his career with Black and McDonald.
On the memorial website you can read what others have had to say about James, the effect he had on his work colleagues, his touch football team, the status of the NSCC Memorial Fund in his name… now close to $10,000 thanks to the over 100 donations made. Our thanks go to all of you who donated to this fund, and other causes, in his memory. A memorial bench will soon be placed in Bissett Park, you can view photos of the location on the web site. You can also send in your own memories of James, a story or photograph and have it posted on the website for all to see.
We believe James’s spirit is soaring high upon the joy, love, kindness and laughter that he sowed during his time on earth.
From the bottom of our broken hearts, we thank all of you for everything you have done and continue to do for us.
Elaine, David, Daniel, Jaycie, Morgan, Helen and Skit, Lorraine and Harold and families.