On Monday February 6th, 2012 Katelyn Traverso was killed on the Gardiner going east into Toronto. She was only 19 years old. I had the pleasure of meeting her back in November; she was the actress in a music video my husband shot for country singer Marshall Dane. Her mother attended the shoot, which took place in my house in Caledon. Not three weeks ago, she again worked as the actress in a second Marshall Dane music video. After the shoot, the crew went out to dinner together. I had a chance to chat with Katelyn over sushi, a first for her. She told me how much she loved kids and hoped to have her own children one day. The second video was released to the public through youtube.com and other social media sites on Monday February 6th, 2012. Shortly after it was released, my husband received the tragic news that Katelyn had passed away. On Friday we attended her viewing, along with many other friends and family members of the Traverso family. My thoughts continue to be with Katelyn’s family and the friends who knew her best. Her death was so sudden and tragic.
On September 10th, 2011 Gavin and Zachery Marengeur, two brothers from Alliston, both passed away after being caught in an undertow while swimming in Georgian Bay. Gavin was only 18 years old and his brother was only 20 years old. In May 2011 I was hired for a long-term occasional position to teach drama at Banting Memorial High School in Alliston. Gavin was one of my students; he had a unique role in my class as a student support. He was completing a drama credit as a classroom room support in one of the grade eleven drama courses I was teaching. Gavin was one of the nicest and most enthusiastic students I have worked with. He was a great help to me as a new teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed his spirit and positive energy. When I learned of Gavin’s tragic passing, I sent the following letter to the drama students who knew him through my drama classes.
Even though we knew each other for such a short time, I felt I should write to you all with my regards concerning the recent tragic loss of the Marengeur brothers. You are all such wonderful kids, and it’s not fair that you have experienced such tragic loss at such a young age. Sometimes life isn’t fair.
Gavin was one of the friendliest students I’ve met. I enjoyed working with him immensely as I know many of you did as well. His big smile and sense of humour will be missed, there is no doubt. My thoughts are with you and his family at this time.
If there is any lesson to be had (none of which can ease the pain, only time will do that), we can reflect on how each and every person, including you, affects the lives of everyone they come into contact with. You have today, with no other guarantee, and today needs to be lived to its fullest. Today is the day to make a change for the better, today is the day to chose to be happy and to chose to make the day of those around you a little better. Life is too short for negativity, doubt, worry, anger or sadness.
Please find comfort in each other and do something small to make each other’s day a little bit better.
It wasn’t easy coming in so late in the year, but we managed and came out stronger in the end. Please feel to write to me through email, I’d be honoured to be an adult you can turn to now and in the future. I’m so proud of you all and know that whatever it is you want to achieve, you will.
Life does not make much sense. These young people died too soon. For a brief moment, I did ask myself what is the point? Katelyn and Gavin have proven to be a reminder to myself of the importance of gratitude. There really are no guarantees which means I need to grateful for all of the wonderful people in my life because they make me who I am. I need to be grateful for the life I live and I should live a life that makes others grateful for what they have as well. The point is we are all in this together, our lives are tangled and our experiences are shared through the connections we have to one another. The point is to stop waiting and start living life.
Katelyn and the Marengeur Brothers are missed and their memory will live on through our shared experiences with them.