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Too Close to Home
Jordan and Evan Caldwell were killed in a crash on the sliding track at WinSport on Saturday, February 6, 2016.
Published Thursday, February 11, 2016 2:14PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, February 11, 2016 2:46PM MST
The request from my 18-year-old son, via text, was simple enough. “Want to buy some of our products? Our final sale is today.”
He was selling the body lotion “homemade with organic materials” his Junior Achievement group had put together: “$10 each.”
At $10, it was a bargain. On this particular day, February 6, it was priceless knowing my son and his two siblings were safe.
The power of local news is its immediacy. It may directly affect you. You may have been in the place where it happened. It may involve someone you know. On that day, the news was disarmingly close.
Our family lives near Canada Olympic Park and on Saturday, we awoke to news two teenaged boys had been killed on the bobsleigh track there. Our kids were home safe. We knew they were okay, but my mind immediately began racing through the possibilities of one of my son’s friends being involved. I thought of his hockey playing buddies or the quasi-troublemakers, the teenagers more likely to have taken a risk. We learned later the victims were not the usual suspects.
Twin brothers, 17-year-old Jordan and Evan Caldwell, had died. They were smart, gifted students, kind, compassionate, and outgoing. All three of my kids knew them.
My son, Dylan, was in the same grade as the boys and had been at Westmount Charter School with them for a number of years, or at least until Evan transferred to Ernest Manning High School. Jordan and a small class of less than a hundred grade 12 students would have graduated together this year.
My daughter, Bridget, also transferred from Westmount to Manning and was pleased to hear a familiar voice doing the morning announcements – Evan. It was a privilege his brother had done with great cheer at Westmount, until Jordan became Student Council president.
My youngest son, Griffin, is a grade 6 representative at Westmount. Jordan, six years his senior, would often say hi to him in the hall.
On Saturday night, as we began to digest the loss of these boys, Griffin checked his email, something he rarely does. He found an email from Jordan, sent on Thursday, a little more than 24 hours before his death. Jordan was inviting the grade representatives to meet with him later this month. The tone was cheerful and bright, something I now understand was typical of him.
I think that was the first moment the enormity of this loss hit home with us.
Media are often criticized as circling vultures, too eager to cover tragic news and even capitalize on it. Nothing is further from the truth, especially when something like this happens in our community.
I wish twin brothers were heading to university this fall.
I wish their parents and sister did not have to endure the pain of their loss.
I wish Evan and Jordan’s friends who were with them that night did not have to endure life-altering injuries and memories.
I wish their classmates, teachers and my kids did not have to look at an empty desk, that they could still enjoy the presence in their lives of these exceptional young men.
I wish Saturday, February 6, 2016, had been a slow news day.