Tragedy has struck the family again. They have now lost their older brother David.
It is said that God will only throw at you what you can handle. When you hear of things like this, it makes that very hard to believe.
My deepest and most sincere of condolences goes out once again to the MacDonald brothers and their family. I hope they can get through this and hope they can stay as strong as possible. This is truly a heartbreaking tale.
OTTAWA — The MacDonald brothers have been forced to grow up quickly. Matthew was 17, Jonathan 16, and David 20 when their mother died a year ago. Their father had died four years earlier.
With help from their aunts, the boys have been able to stay in the family home, their physical surroundings remaining constant, at least, even if their emotional reality was completely redrawn.
On Sunday night, Matthew and Jonathan had to face yet another enormous challenge: the death of their older brother. David MacDonald, five months short of his 22nd birthday, died suddenly at the Ottawa Heart Institute, according to family, the result of a septic shock due to bacterial infection.
“Sometimes prayers don’t get answered,” said former NHLer Garry Galley, a longtime friend of the family and former coach with their father.
Once again, a legion of relatives and friends, and sports communities in Ottawa West and Nepean, find themselves in an incomprehensible state of mourning for the MacDonald family.
Friends said David experienced flu-like symptoms last week, and he was taken to the Queensway-Carleton Hospital when his condition worsened on Saturday. Doctors there quickly dispatched him to the heart institute, where he deteriorated quickly.
David was barely old enough to get his driver’s license when his father, Allen, suffered a massive heart attack and died while jogging at noonhour along the Rideau Canal in May 2004.
In the fall of 2008, he had only months earlier reached his 20th birthday when his mother, Lori, succumbed to a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
Although backed by a lot of love and support from family and friends, David, as the oldest had to shoulder a new level of responsibility.
“David would like to be remembered as a good brother,” said Sharon Hyland, an aunt to the boys.
Hyland said she and the extended family tried to keep David from feeling he had to become a parent to his younger brothers, but he knew he did have an important role to play.
“He was their big brother. He respected the role he was thrust into and respected the advice he got from family,” she said.
“He took his responsibility in life quite seriously … David tried very hard for everybody.”
David had endured a life-long heart condition, requiring surgery both as an infant and young adult, though the family said his heart troubles apparently had nothing to do with what days ago he thought was merely a bout with the flu.
Just Tuesday, David drove to Montreal to attend the funeral of a cousin and told relatives he wasn’t feeling well. By Saturday, brother Matthew was driving him to hospital.
“Despite the circumstances, the sense of regularity in their lives was quite remarkable and I believe part of that was from being part of, and coming from, a good family,” Hyland said, explaining that the boys’ parents managed to transmit key life lessons in their short time together.
In the last year, the MacDonald boys may have been without parents, but they were never without family.
Lori’s sister, Debbie, took a leave of absence from her job in the Montreal area to spend Monday to Friday with the boys in Nepean, then took weekends off to be with her own family in Montreal, while a series of relatives rotate through for guidance on the weekends.
The relatives took it upon themselves to ensure life for the boys was as close to normal as possible and part of their life always seemed to involve hockey in some sort or another, through the good times and the bad.
All three were proficient enough to play at the most competitive levels, and this year Jonathan is captain of the Nepean Raiders midget Bs, while Matthew is back for another year with the Ottawa West Golden Knights.
Last March, the Golden Knights ran a benefit night for the Lori MacDonald Scholarship Fund and raised more than $4,000 in memory of the boys’ mother, a former school teacher.
Financially, the boys’ needs have been provided for; friends simply wanted to see Lori MacDonald’s name carried on.
David, as a hockey player, peaked at the junior-B level and was following his father’s footsteps into coaching at the initiation level with the Nepean Minor Hockey Association.
Galley, the former NHL player, said he had always been impressed with the MacDonalds.
“The MacDonald family, who are the envy of what every family hopes to achieve, has lost another teammate. David was so much his mom and dad. His love for family and community and hockey was second to none.
“At the age of 21, he had already helped to raise his two brothers as well as teach many young hockey players at the initiation level how to learn to play the game. He also coached as well.
“He was often painted in black and red at Sens games and was a gigantic Sens fans as was the entire family. This is unfair and sad.”
A funeral mass will be held at St. Patrick Basilica, 281 Nepean St., on Friday at 10 a.m. Visitation will be held at the Garden Chapel of Tubman Funeral Homes, 3440 Richmond Rd. on Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m.
Last edited by SensGirl11 on Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:17 pm; edited 1 time in total