I hate it when I get a sick feeling in my stomach and then find out that my tenancy to imagine the worst is true.
When my childhood pal Jeff Mason went missing back in November 2006, the same day that his car was found abandoned and torched on a quiet street and his house was burned down, I felt ill. While I'd prayed and hoped that Jeff had made it out safely and was hiding from the people who were trying to hurt him, I didn't have a good feeling about it.
His body was found by a group of fishermen a few days ago at the Stobie Dam on the Vermillion River not far from where he lived on the highway between Dowling and Chelmsford. The cause of death was confirmed to be from blunt force trauma.
While I no longer live in the Sudbury area, I've been following news updates about Jeff for the past six months and do know that his family also suspected that Jeff was no longer alive -- that they'd been hoping just to be able to find his body so they could properly bury their son and brother. So they could have closure.
I suppose the discovery of Jeff's body will give them that. But it's a cold comfort indeed.
I'm spending a moment, thinking about a friend that I used to giggle insanely with, play endless hours of ice and street hockey with, play tag with, hurl fun and creative insults back and forth with; I'm remembering times when we practically pissed our pants laughing so hard while tobogganing or trying not to giggle in the library.
I also think about the man that Jeff grew up to become. The man I never had the pleasure of knowing. But I've heard about how, when his father died in 2003, he moved back home from Calgary to help his Mom out with the farm, with sorting through all the details and with helping to look after her. A selfless son and brother to the end.
And then I think about how cool online networks like blogging or Facebook have allowed me to re-connect with so many friends from high school and University.
And how I'll never have the chance to re-connect with Jeff.
Goodbye my friend. Though it has been such a long time, I'll always remember the laughs we shared. I'll always remember that flyaway long sandy blond hair that used to stick out from the back of your hockey helmet, that infectious grin, and of course, your unforgettable laugh.
And God be with your family in this tragic and incomprehensibly painful time. Here's hoping that their memories of all the things you were to them will help them through it all.