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This story contains scenes of violence and coarse language.
The entire city of Winnipeg is affected by the death of Constable David McBain. The kids who praised him for influencing their lives are all sad and upset. The teachers and principals who hear of the tragedy are emotional. They know he can no longer go to their schools to speak about youth issues.
The whole Winnipeg Police Service is forced to change the way they look at young offenders. Maybe some of them can be helped after all. They are all convinced when the newspapers mention how Kieran left the Fire Soldiers after David’s killing.
“It’s true that David McBain helped me stand up against that gang," he says in an interview with journalists. “But his death actually gave me the strength to leave forever. It was tragic for me to lose him, but in the end, it made me better.”
A lot of things happen to Kieran over the next few days. His mother enrols him to go back to school on the second Monday in May, when she’s sure he’ll recover from his loss. Chief Markham goes to see Kieran and apologise. He regrets all the harsh judgements he ever made towards him.
“For my whole career, all I ever thought about was how I did things as a cop,” he explains. “I admit, I was a bit corrupt, always judging minorities, and especially young children. I was like God, deciding which ones were good and which were bad. And when I became chief, I put that kind of thinking into my officers. I’ve realised now how selfish that is. I never thought of the kids who look to police for help.”
“There’s a lot more to being a cop than just putting the bad guys in their place,” Kieran says. “It’s also about helping those who care enough to want it. That’s what David was trying to tell you all this time, I’m sure.”
“I understand that now,” Markham says. “Can you ever forgive me for the way I’ve treated you?”
“Sure.” Kieran gives him a heart-felt grin. “After all, I am an ex-Fire Soldier. You don’t have to worry about putting me in jail anymore.”
Markham is so grateful, he informs Kieran, “David’s funeral is going to be held this Saturday at Kildonan United Church. Can you please write a special eulogy all your own for that? Focus mainly on your relationship with David, and how it affected and changed you.”
“Sir, it would be an honour,” he replies, shaking Markham’s hand
And all of Kieran’s friends from school either call or come by to congratulate him. Friends of the family also give him their congratulations.
Although Kieran is still saddened over his beloved David’s death, he feels that his life is already changing for better things. He’s looking forward to going back to school, though he understands he’ll have to repeat eighth grade. And he never has to worry about a criminal record, because the law already dealt with his so-called “peers”.
Kieran also reflects on his relationship with David as he’s writing his eulogy. He writes about the special bonding they shared, and the terrible fates they faced. He knows he will never forget him, the things they did together, and all the times they’ve been there for each other. Because of this, he already knows what he wants to do with his life. He wants to become a counsellor for troubled children, and help others like himself. He would donate some time to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and one day form his own organisation. He wonders if there is a program called, “Kops for Kids.” If there is, he’ll look after that part of the organisation; if not, he’ll create it. He’ll encourage more police officers nation-wide to take part in children’s lives.
The night before David’s funeral, Kieran has a dream. He dreams that he is standing on a bridge over the Assiniboine River, dropping rocks in the water. He is smiling as he watches the water ripple with each rock he drops. When he gets to his final rock, a rock much larger than the others, he drops it. He is amused by the big splash it makes, and the ripples go as far as he can see them.
But as these ripples form, he sees a familiar figure appearing on the surface of the water. This figure has a full head of raven-coloured hair and machoistic facial features, and he is wearing a police uniform with his badge. Kieran is surprised to identify the figure.
“David?” he cries happily, smiling. “David, is that you? Oh, David, please come to me if that’s you!”
The figure smiles back at Kieran, and bursts out of the water as if he is performing magic. Kieran sees that it is David. He rises up a few feet above the bridge, like an angel, and then comes back down to stand next to Kieran.
They embrace for only a few moments, then Kieran turns to see if there are any passers-by. There are none, so Kieran, “Oh, David, you don’t know how wonderful it is to see you again! Oh, and you feel so real. I could wrap myself around you, and I never went through. Oh, please tell me that you are real.”
“No, my sweet boy,” David tells him. “I died when Jasper shot me, remember? I am not here as my living self, but as a spirit. Nobody can see or hear me but you.”
He puts his arm around Kieran, and they start walking across the bridge.
“I am very proud of you, my son,” David says. “On the day I died, you found the courage to lose your colours, and to tell the Fire Soldiers that you were leaving forever, and you did it. I know it took your sorrow over my death to do so. But also I know that you loved me enough to fight them to get what you wanted.”
“I wish that you could have been here to see it,” Kieran replies, “and I wish you could still be here now.”
“I know that,” David says. “You could only dream of the things we could’ve done together when you were free from the Fire Soldiers, couldn’t you?”
“We could’ve had so many good times.” Kieran stops to kick a soda can as far as he can. “I actually thought that we would have a picnic, watch the sunset, and stay out late enough to look at the stars, just you and me. I thought that we would watch the fireworks on Canada’s birthday. Oh, David, I thought the two of us would really go far.” Kieran lowers his head and sniffles, ready to cry.
“We still can.” They stop, and David holds Kieran, patting him on his head. “Whenever you feel alone, just look within your heart, and use your imagination when you look in front of you. I will always be with you, no matter where you are.”
This message moves Kieran, and he really starts to cry. “Oh, David, thank you for saying that.” He wraps himself around David again, and they embrace a second time.
“Oh, David,” Kieran says again, “I just can’t go a day without thinking of you. One day!”
“I think about you in heaven, too, Kieran,” David replies. “You, Debbie, Dylan, my parents, my siblings and their families. You’re all I think about.”
They let go after a while, and Kieran stops crying as David wipes his tears. “Kieran,” David says, “I want you to do me a favour.”
“What is it?” Kieran asks.
“The next time you see my wife and son,” David says, “please tell them that I love them very much, and that I’ll never stop loving them, ever. Tell Dylan that I’m very proud of him, and that I’ll stand by him if he doesn’t want to be policeman anymore. I doubt he would after what happened to me.”
Kieran nods and replies, “Yes, I will, David. I promise.” He pauses. “Oh, David, I love you so much.”
“As I love you,” David replies. “Remember, wherever you are, wherever you may be, I will always be in your heart. Always have that special place for me. And no matter what happens, never forget me, ever.”
Kieran watches David fade away from him, and he starts crying, “No! David, please stay with me a little while longer.” When he is gone, Kieran continues crying. “David! David, come back! David, please come back.”
Kieran is still sleeping as he is whispering for David’s return over and over. He wakes up suddenly, and looks around his dark, serene bedroom. He realises that he is alone, and sadly lays his chin on his pillow. He turns on his ghetto blaster. The radio is on an “easy listening” station, just starting to play Gary Wright’s hit song, Dream Weaver. As he listens, he realises that David is not here to, “get him through the night,” as the song goes. He understands that all he had was just a dream.
“Oh, David,” he whispers when the song ends, “I’ll never forget you. I promise.” He puts his face into the pillow and cries softly.
On Saturday morning, the twenty-ninth of April, both Kieran and his mother are going to their second service in a month. Mrs. Camp is wearing the same black dress she wore to Brock’s funeral, while Kieran wears something more formal – white shirt, black tie, black dress pants and his fanciest pair of shoes. He isn’t wearing a sport jacket.
They arrive at Debbie’s house at ten o’clock that morning. She answers the door while dabbing her eyes with a tissue, and Kieran holds her. “How have you been holding up?” he asks.
“Not so good, I’m afraid,” she says. “These past few days, I had to force myself out of bed in the morning. Dylan just stays in his bedroom for hours on end during the day. I have to carry him just to get him to the table to eat. He keeps crying for his father. I’m still trying to get him out of bed and dressed. He’s not looking forward to the service.”
“I understand,” Kieran replies. He introduces her to his mother, and they shake hands.
“I was sorry to hear about David, Debbie,” Mrs. Camp says.
They walk into the house and to the living room, as Debbie goes to get Dylan. It is filled with members of both David and Debbie’s families. Virgil and Mary Lynne spot Kieran easily, and they call his name. Kieran waves at them, and he and Mrs. Camp go towards them.
“How have you been doing?” Virgil asks him.
“I’m doing all right,” Kieran says. “Still a little down, though. But I haven’t been crying much. And I’m looking forward to going back to school in a week.”
“That’s great to hear.” Virgil turns to his children. “You remember our boys, don’t you? Nathaniel and Curtis?” He points to his daughter. “And this is Heaven.” Kieran smiles and says hello to them all.
He takes Kieran around to meet the rest of the family, while Mrs. Camp speaks with Mary Lynne. There is his older brother, Garry, his wife, their sixteen-year-old son, and two daughters, aged twenty-one and twelve. There is their sister, Diana, her husband, Detective Kenneth Hawkend, and their thirteen-year-old son. Kieran sees two older men talking on the couch, one with white hair, the other with dark brown hair. He points at the white-haired man and asks, “Is that your father?”
“Yes,” Virgil answers. He takes him over to the men and introduces them.
“I’m William McBain, retired Staff Sergeant of the Brandon police,” says the white-haired man.
“And I’m Thomas Seoul,” says the dark-haired man. “I’m Debbie’s father.” Kieran shakes hands with both of them.
Staff Sergeant McBain makes room on the couch, and offers for Kieran to sit down. Kieran sits in between the two men, and Staff Sergeant McBain adjusts his necktie.
“David told us quite a bit about you, Kieran,” he tells him solemnly. “And I’ve read about what you did with your gang. I just want to congratulate you for leaving the way you did. Rest assured that if David were still with us now, by golly, he would be most proud of you.” He sips some coffee from his mug.
“Debbie was telling us about you, too,” Mr. Seoul adds. “You must have found gang life a little unholy, didn’t you?”
“I did, sir,” Kieran says. “I’m not a bad kid, nor did I ever want to be. I only got in because my dead brother forced me to. Let me tell you, it was no picnic.”
“You must have a good head on your shoulders,” Mr. Seoul says. “You’re courageous enough to take that step. If that’s so, then you must’ve set big goals for yourself. And that’s really important.”
“Thank you, Mr. Seoul,” Kieran says. “And thank you, Staff Sergeant McBain, for those kind words. I really deserved them.”
He takes a look around the room for their wives, and can’t find them. He looks at Staff Sergeant McBain and asks, “Sir, where is your wife? I’d very much like to meet her.”
“Both our wives are upstairs with Debbie,” Mr. Seoul answers. “I think they’re still trying to get Dylan out of his room.”
“The poor kid,” Staff Sergeant McBain says. “He’s taking his father’s death really hard. I’d expect that of him, though.” He takes another sip of coffee. “After all, he’s only a little boy, and the two of them were very close.”
“Yes, David was just as good a father as he was a policeman,” Kieran says. He starts to sniffle, and his voice gets wobbly as he leaves the couch. “Excuse me.”
Kieran runs to the bathroom for some tissues. He wipes tears from his eyes and blows his nose hard. He looks in the mirror and thinks of what he said to Virgil.
“‘I’m doing all right,’” he mutters. “Who am I kidding? I’m a wreck!”
He throws the tissues in the trash can and fills the sink with cold water. He splashes his face several times, drains the sink, dries off quickly, and stares at the mirror a few more moments. When he decides that he looks better, he re-combs his hair and returns to the living room.
He goes to find his mother, and sees her talking with Debbie and two older women, one with silver hair, the other with light brown hair. Debbie looks at Kieran and points to the brunette woman.
“Kieran, I’d like you to meet my mother, Dorothy Seoul,” she says.
He shakes Mrs. Seoul’s hand. “Nice to meet you,” he says. He turns to the silver-haired woman. “And you must be David’s mother.”
She nods. “Mildred McBain. I’ve heard so many things about you. Congratulations on leaving your gang life. David would’ve been so happy.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” Kieran says. He turns back to Debbie. “Where’s Dylan?”
“We left him to sit in the kitchen,” Debbie answers. “I think maybe you should leave him alone for a little bit. He’s still a little upset.” She hears the doorbell ring and excuses herself.
Moments later, Kieran overhears Debbie say, “Ian! Sandra! I’m so glad you could make it.”
Kieran goes to the front hall to see Debbie with another man and two more women. The man bears a moustache, and looks a lot like Debbie, only he’s a bit older. He is with a woman with blonde shoulder-length hair and hazel eyes. Both of them are wearing sunglasses. The other woman has shorter hair, a mixture of light and dark shades. He looks at them curiously and asks, “More relatives?”
Debbie nods and looks at the couple. “This is my brother, Ian, and his wife, Charlene.” She points to the woman with the short hair. “And this is my sister, Sandra.” She looks at all three of them. “Everyone, I’d like you to meet David’s friend, Kieran.”
Kieran shakes all their hands and says, “Pleased to meet you all.”
Sandra looks at Debbie and says, “Uh, you never told us much about this kid, sis. I hear about David on the news, and there’s this stuff about Kieran being in a gang! What’s up with that?”
“Don’t worry about that, Sandy,” Debbie says. “He’s not anymore. He left when David got killed.”
Kieran grins lightly at them and walks away. He stays with his mother until it’s time to leave for the funeral.
At half past noon, Debbie sees two limousines, one black and one white, pull up in front of the house. She calls for everyone’s attention and announces, “Our rides have come to take us to the funeral. If everybody is ready, it’s time for us to leave now.” She opens the door, and everybody files out one by one.
Kieran and his mother are accompanying Debbie and her family, and David’s immediate family, in the black limousine. As Kieran walks to the rear door, he notices a black Honda and a blue Chrysler parked in the driveway. He becomes amazed at this sight.
“Wow, how beautiful,” he coos. He looks at Mrs. Camp. “Mom, what’s with those cars? I’d kill to own one of those. Not that I really would.”
“Oh, the black car belongs to Ian, and the blue one is Sandra’s,” Debbie tells him.
As the families are filing into the limousines, Kieran overhears Debbie ask her siblings, “Are you sure you guys don’t want to come with us in our limousine? I really think you should.”
“We’d love to, sis, but there wouldn’t be any more room for the three of us,” Sandra says. “Besides, we have our own vehicles.”
“I understand. See you at the church.” Debbie gets into the limousine with Dylan, then it drives off.
Everybody is silent on the way to the church except for Debbie and Dylan. Both are weeping bitterly. When they’re almost there, they start to cry together. Mrs. Camp tries to comfort Debbie.
“Debbie, if it makes you feel any better, my husband is dead, too,” she says. That only makes her cry harder.
“Mom, you’re not supposed to say that!” Kieran hisses. He gives Debbie some tissues. “Debbie, thanks for inviting us over to your house.”
“Oh, you’re welcome, Kieran,” she says through her sobs.
The limousine arrives at the church seconds later, parking out front. All eleven passengers step out and wait on the steps for the rest of the family. The white limousine soon pulls up behind. The doors open, and out come the spouses and children of David’s siblings.
At least three more limousines drive up a few minutes later, this time, parking on the opposite side of the street. The doors open, and out step more police officers from other parts of Canada. As the first limousine empties, Diana, Virgil and Garry go to greet the officers.
Kieran stares at the bunch and asks, “And who’s that group supposed to be?”
“Those are all of the cousins,” Staff Sergeant McBain answers. “They’re the ones who followed in the family tradition.”
“That’s strange,” Kieran says. “How come they never came to the house?”
“There’s simply not enough room,” Debbie says. “Or at Virgil’s house. All those officers are staying at hotels. They’ll be coming to my house with us after the burial.”
Kieran looks confused. “Then who’s staying at whose house?”
“Now, Kieran, don’t ask so many questions,” Mrs. Camp says.
The other two limousines open, and Kieran sees even more officers stepping out. These ones are not related to the McBain family; they’ve just arrived to mourn a brother officer. The families step aside as all of the officers file into the church, then they follow them inside.
In the church, Kieran sees Chief Markham, and all the other officers David worked with, and others from other departments in the city. One by one, each of David’s colleagues go up to Kieran and apologise for their hostilities. All the others congratulate him for quitting the gang. Kieran forgives and thanks them all, then Markham asks, “Do you have your eulogy ready?”
“Yes, sir,” Kieran answers. He pats the pocket on his right pant leg. “It’s right here.” Then, he sees Debbie and her family crowded together, staring at David’s body in his open casket and weeping. He goes up to join them.
“Ohhhh,” he hears Mr. Seoul cry. “I never thought I’d live to see my beloved son-in-law dead.” He starts to weep as the family goes to the front pews. When they’re sitting, Kieran goes up to the coffin and stares at David’s face.
“Oh, David, I can’t believe you’re gone already,” he says. “If you were here right now, you’d be so proud of me. And it’s because of you that I want to devote my life to helping people like me. You gave me that goal, David, and I thank you for it.”
Kieran hears more people walk into the church. He looks up and sees some of the good teenagers and their families, paying their respects to David. The teens are talking about how he touched their lives. Kieran sees them staring at the coffin, waiting patiently for him, and he steps back.
One by one, the teens go up, say goodbye to David, and thank him for giving them hope for their lives and futures. Then, they move to the back pews. Kieran starts weeping as he speaks to David again.
“Oh, David, look at all the kids who came for you,” he sobs. “You’re the reason why they’re here. You’ve affected their lives in such a good way. Who’s going to keep doing that, now that you’re gone, David? Tell me, who?” Kieran is crying loudly, and he presses his face on the casket, slamming his hand repeatedly on the wooden surface. His mother comes up and sits him next to her.
Moments later, the service begins. The reverend walks to the pulpit and gives a five-minute prelude. Then, everyone rises for the entrance hymn, “How Great Thou Art.” When it’s over, and everyone sits, the readings of remembrance begin. Mrs. Seoul gives a reading about death and sorrow. It’s from chapter eight of Romans in the New Testament:
Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;
who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Just as it is written,…
Kieran can’t concentrate on the readings. His conscience is still bothered by memories of Jasper killing David. They’re too great for him to handle. To keep from causing a commotion, he presses his lips together and puts physical pressure on his legs, so his feet stay on the floor. When Diana reads from act one, scene four of William Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, Kieran places his hands on his head, hoping to erase the memories from his mind. Mrs. Camp looks at him, and brings him closer to her.
“Don’t worry, Kieran,” she whispers in his ear. “I know you can’t forget what happened, but please remember that David is at peace now.”
Kieran calms down just then. When Diana returns to her place, Kieran looks over at Debbie and Dylan. Both of them are crying hard. Obviously, they can’t handle David’s lifeless body lying in an open casket; they’ve been crying like that since the service started. He takes some tissues from his mother and gives them to Debbie.
After the opening prayer, Garry walks to the pulpit and gives a New Testament reading from the fifteenth chapter of Matthew. It’s a teaching of Jesus Christ on crime:
And He called himself the multitude, and said to them, “Hear and understand.
“Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?”
But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up.
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
And Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.”
And He said, “Are you also still without understanding?
“Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated?
“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, slanders.
“These are the things that defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man."
After Garry steps down, his wife walks up and begins reading Psalm 23. Kieran doesn’t think it’s interesting, so he doesn’t pay attention.
For the second reading, Virgil steps up and read the entire thirteenth chapter of John from the New Testament. It’s a story of brotherly love, another teaching of Jesus Christ.
Kieran finds it fascinating and intriguing. He thinks about Brock, and all the good and bad times they shared as brothers. He wonders how Brock would feel if he were with him at that moment. All Kieran thinks about then is Brock’s possible reaction to him quitting the Fire Soldiers. Would he be proud of him? Would he realise then how miserable Kieran was in the gang? Would he get rid of his own colours the way Kieran did, and come back home? He probably would, if he were still alive, and didn’t get arrested with the other Soldiers. Perhaps if he did that to begin with, and spared Kieran all the grief and torment, Mrs. Camp would’ve been grateful.
Virgil steps down when he finished his reading, and everyone takes part in a gospel acclamation. Then, the reverend starts the gospel. It was actually the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke in the New Testament.
Kieran slouches a little bit. He thinks this reading is very boring. He spends the whole time thinking of his eulogy for David. For a second time, he reflects back on the week they had together. He thinks of the other things they could have done together, had he lived longer. One single question lingers in his mind: would they have been able to change the way police looked at youths?
The reverend finishes the reading, then the prayers of intercession begin. One by one, some police officers – both related and not related to David – come up and say their words.
“For all that God has created – the earth, the air, the water, the fire, the sky, the lavish gardens, the sun and moon – in the thanks we give for the beauty of all these creations, we pray.”
“For the Constable David Jebediah McBain – that his soul may find eternal rest and peace in the arms of God now and forever more, we pray.”
“For each and every one of us who love and have loved him – that our sorrows, our emptiness, and our grief may be replaced by the love of God which lasts forever, and by the Peace and the Power that surpass all that is courage, honour and understanding, we pray.”
“For all of us who put our lives at risk each and every day, to serve those small and large, young and old – with assistance, with support, with the courage to be a friend, with the power to lead others, with the strength to be an example of goodness, generosity and caring. For the gift of serving others, and bringing justice to serve our communities, we pray.”
At this point, Kieran is getting restless. He can’t wait to give his eulogy. He sits through the rest of the intercession prayers like a well-behaved young man. But during these few moments of silent prayer afterwards, he is squirming around like he needs to relieve himself.
“I know you’re anxious to give your speech, but you’ll have to wait until you’re called,” Mrs. Camp whispers to him.
“Oh, you’re right,” he whispers back. “I just hope I can last until then.”
Then, it’s time for the eulogies. Staff Sergeant McBain goes first. He talks about what David was like as a boy growing up. Kieran listens with interest as he reads:
“David was a boy who grew up to manhood with a power to help others in trouble, and a love for action and adventure. He was consistently putting the needs of other people before his own.
“He was the McBain who loved and was loved by all, but who shared the closest ties with his own father, his uncles, and especially his older brothers. He looked up to all of us McBain's with the desire to be what he was, and he took courage and discipline from our lifelong mutual admiration societies.
“As a teenager with the drive to be a policeman, David made a promise to himself that he would change the way young boys and girls are looked at by society. It was all he ever talked about whenever he brought up his personal goals with his family. I remember on our outings, we would pass juvenile halls, and he would look at all the kids going inside for classes, and he’d tell me, “Dad, when I’m a policeman, I will make sure that those places have fewer people in them. Just you wait!” I smiled at him and replied, “I believe you, son. And you’re going to do a good job at it.” But whenever he brought this to some of my colleagues, they would always condemn him, and tell him that he was foolish, that rebellious teenagers would never want to change themselves. And they looked at me, and told me to beat him for thinking such ridiculous thoughts.
“But I knew better than that. I knew that David would achieve this with his brand of love, the kind of love that would eventually expand to the family he created, and to strangers who wanted his help. Through this love, there are actually more good kids in this city than bad, though not so much. David never claimed himself to be a saint, but seeing the wonderful way he was growing up, and how he continued that behaviour throughout his policing career, I’m actually surprised that his chief and colleagues never nicknamed him ‘Saint David.’
“David was a good boy who became a good man, and he certainly doesn’t deserve to be lying in a burial box today. Not at his age, anyway. But I understand that sometimes bad things happen to good people. It’s something we all have to accept. But what I especially can’t accept is the fact that David had to die before his mother and me, especially since he was our youngest child, and he has older siblings who are all still with us. We will all miss David Jebediah McBain, our son, brother, uncle, husband, father, and most of all, our friend. Rest in peace, my little boy.”
Kieran is moved by this, and as the eulogy is finishing, he whispers to his mother, “David was so wonderful and considerate throughout his whole life. I’d never known that. I thought that was only through his career. He never told me anything about him growing up.”
“You never asked him?” Mrs. Camp asks.
Kieran shakes his head. “Whatever, Debbie made a good move by marrying him. And I’m so glad to have had him as a best adult friend.”
Staff Sergeant McBain has already stepped down, and Debbie goes up to give her speech. She reflects on David as a spouse and father, and how it affected his police work. She is sniffling, drying her eyes and pausing as she reads.
“As a police officer, David was often kind, compassionate and considerate towards those seeking his guidance and help. These were some of the qualities that made him successful in law enforcement. He was tough towards the bad guys, too; that was expected of him. But it was his good qualities in policing that made him just as successful as my husband and our son’s father.
“Every time he came home from work, I’d look forward to him holding me, kissing me, caressing me, telling me how much he loved me. Dylan was always happy to see his Daddy come home and spend time with him. We always came to him with our joys, our sorrows, our fears, because we knew that David would listen, and hold us whenever we needed it. We saw him as our hero, our light, the only man who could make things right for us.
“He always believed that the best police officers, ‘leave their work at the office,’ as they say. I’ve been with David since college, and we never, ever had that ‘big blow-out.’ We had the occasional minor spat, but that’s to be expected in every romantic relationship. And in the eight years that Dylan’s been with us, I’d never seen David raise his voice or lay a hand on him. He used wisdom, kind words and a gentle voice to discipline him, because he knew that kind of love was the only way Dylan would listen. And Dylan always loved and respected him in return.
“I don’t know if I’m ever going to find a man like David again. Someone strong and brave, yet kind and gentle. Someone that I can take as my partner. Someone that Dylan could look up to and worship like a god. Someone who could make us a family again. Someone who…”
At this point, Debbie breaks down. She’s kneeling beneath the pulpit, crying uncontrollably. Her parents and sister-in-law go to her, stand her up and bring her back to the front pew. Kieran looks over at Dylan, who’s crying just like his mother. He gets up to hold him, while several people; Mrs. Camp included, hold Debbie. Sandra voluntarily goes up and finishes the eulogy for her.
Chief Markham goes up next. He reflects on David’s career as a Winnipeg police officer, as well as his love for children, saying:
“As a member of the police force, David’s hard work and love for others must not go unnoticed. He loved to help all types of people, but his main interests were youths under the age of eighteen. This especially went for young boys and teenagers. The schools in Winnipeg would always credit David for bringing such issues as drug and alcohol awareness, vandalism, and respect in the school and home, into their lives.
“He knew very well how our society looked at youths these days, and he came into law enforcement determined to change it. We dared ourselves to think that he would act like his own mayor, more than an ordinary police officer. We dared ourselves to believe that he would clean up the streets of bad kids, act as their guide to change their ways, and live to tell his grandchildren about it. But, like the officers who died in the line of duty before him, he had every gift but a long length in years.
“He had a dream that all our young people lived healthy and happy lives, with ambitions, goals and dreams all their own. He dreamt that they all lived as innocents, with good natures and kind hearts, unspoiled by the vulgarities and cruelties of the outside world. Sadly, he will never be able to see his dream come true, and I believe we still have more work to do before it actually happens.”…
Suddenly, Kieran hears some bitter weeping and wailing. He turns around and notices the good teens. They’re a few pews down, crying at those words. He turns back around and faces forward. This scene moves him, as he suddenly starts crying along with them.
When Markham finishes his eulogy, he takes a deep breath and gives a mini-speech about Kieran. He says, “Out of all the young lives that Constable David McBain touched throughout his career, none would be more special than that of thirteen-year-old Kieran Camp. He had been there for this young man in his time of need, when his other peers wouldn’t care about him, not even his own brother.”
Kieran stops crying then and looks up at Markham. He wipes tears away to see Markham looking at him. “Kieran,” he says, “I know I said this to you before, but I’m deeply sorry for the way I treated you while you and David were together. I now realise that you really are an intelligent human being with dreams all your own, and that all you were doing was trying to get me to listen to you, and believe you. Congratulations on your achievement.”
“Thank you, sir,” Kieran says quietly.
Markham calls on Kieran to give his eulogy, then steps down. Kieran goes to the pulpit, retrieves a sheet of paper from his pants pocket and unfolds it. He swallows and begins saying these words:
“To me, David was more than just a good cop. He was a good cop with feelings and a heart towards a certain group of people. He was an officer who refused to develop that ‘sixth sense’ that, unfortunately, most law enforcers have a tendency to develop.
“David never looked at homeless and criminal teens as bad apples who’d never amount to anything. Rather, he looked at them with the notion that they could change themselves if they had the will to do it. He knew how children could shape the futures of our city and province, and he looked at them, including me, with the will to prove something.
“David especially put his faith into me, after I told him how I suffered as a member of that dreaded gang, the Fire Soldiers. Before the Soldiers, I was like every other good little kid. I went to school every day, respected adults and authority, and never gave a thought to raising my voice at anyone. But one day, about a couple of months ago, all that changed. That day, I was forced into the gang life without any say in the matter. And in that time before I met David, I thought it was all over for me.
“David took me by the hand, and for that short time which we were together, he acted as my guide, my rock, the only best friend I ever had. Had I not met him, I would’ve been headed down a bad road in my life without any chance of turning back, because I wouldn’t have had the courage I needed to stand up against the Fire Soldiers.
“Sometimes, I think about what David and I would do together, had he lived to see me throw down my colours. But his death actually gave me the strength to do so. And the tears I’ve cried over his death actually made me into the man I want to be. It was tragic that his loss had resulted in all my changes. And it was unfortunate for our relationship to be star-crossed. The lack of support from David’s colleagues actually added with my pressures to stay with my gang. This made the bond we shared even more tragic than it really had to be.
“David started a new tradition with our city's authority, helping every young person out there see that there is hope for them. Although I’ll never be a cop like he was; I’ve seen for myself how dangerous it is, I’d like to continue that tradition by devoting my life to helping those who are troubled like I was.
“David, I love you with all my heart. I will never forget all that you taught me, and all that you did for me. I wish you could still be there for me in body as I go through my adolescent years, but I know you’ll still be there for me in spirit.”
Kieran’s eulogy is deep and moving, even to him. It is moving enough to make him blubber and sob by the time he’s finished. He looks out at the rest of the mourners. Not one of them makes a sound. He continues to weep as he steps down from the pulpit, leaving the eulogy on it.
When the service is over, Kieran, Mrs. Camp, and all the rest of David’s family, friends and colleagues gather at Elmwood Cemetery to say their final goodbyes. On the way to David’s grave, Kieran picks some daises he finds in the grass. He waits until the reverend is through, then during the twenty-one-gun salute, he puts the daisy stems through the metal ring on the wooden surface.
“Goodbye, David,” he whispers to the casket. “I love you.”
He steps back from the casket as it lowers, and looks at his mother smiling. To her, it’s the sweetest thing he can ever do.