Last night I got the phone call that no one ever wants to get. One of my best friends caught me on the bus, and she initially didn’t want to talk to me until I got home. I’m not one to wait, so I pressed her. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but David is dead.” I was shattered, and 25 minutes later it hit me and the tears came. Crying in public really sucks.
One of the brightest lights I’ve ever known was put to darkness on Friday, and I am shattered. May God keep and protect you, my friend.
I met David when he was 14 years old. I was a youth leader for the girl’s group that was the same age, and naturally I ended up spending a lot of time with him. David loved the girls, all the boys in his group did. For all intents and purposes, they were the same group. They were incredibly close-knit. However, David drove me CRAZY. I was constantly telling David to sit down and be quiet and to stop harassing the girls. He was really great at riling everyone up, and then he’d step back and watch it all unravel.
He took great joy in making me angry. He loved it.
One night I was driving David home from a youth event and he was being especially obnoxious. He kept turning my hazard lights on, changing the radio station, rolling his window up and down, emptying the glove box and asking about every single content… and then he turned to me and said, “Can you even see over the steering wheel?” I saw red. I immediately pulled over and said, “GET OUT.” True to David fashion, he undid his belt, opened the door, got out, and then yelled as loud as he could, “I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO TAKE CANDY FROM STRANGERS!” and he slammed the door and took off running down the block. I was furious. And worried, too, because it was my responsibility to make sure that he got home okay and I’d kicked him out of my car.
One Halloween the group went door-to-door to collect non-perishables for The Harvest Project. The boys thought it would be funny to bang on doors and yell, “THIS IS THE FBI, OPEN UP!” Yeah. Not good. Someone definitely called the cops. I heard about this after the fact, but the general consensus was, “DON’T TELL ROCHELE. SHE’LL KILL US.” So right, I probably would have.
I went on a number of trips as a youth leader, and David managed to get into trouble on every single one of them. We visited a rooftop garden, and David got kicked out for climbing a statue. We rode Calgary’s C-train, and David convinced some of the boys to go train hopping. At one platform he wasn’t fast enough and the train left without him. Playing ice hockey on another Calgary trip, he managed to gash his forehead open. On a camping trip he and others decided it would be funny to relocate my tent to the bushes, upside down.
David also knew that if he needed help, he could call. And he did.
Despite all his shenanigans, David had a heart of gold and he loved everyone. I don’t know if David ever said no to helping another individual. He saw it as a way of life to help others. As a youth and a young adult, David gave his time to Heinz 5-7, he became a youth leader, he went on missions trips, he played on our church’s soccer teams, and he was involved in our church’s young adult group. David was a man of God. You could practically feel the light of God radiating off of David. I’ve never met a happier, more upbeat individual. He always had a smile on his face, or was on the precipice of smiling.
After high school, David was no longer one of my charges, he was one of my peers. We were in a young adult’s small group together, and we met once a week for Bible Study and fellowship. I will confess that I fell asleep almost every single week, and more often than not I was cuddled up to David. I learned more about David that year than I did the previous five as his youth leader. His high school academic career left him a little short of achieving the credits he needed to get into post-secondary, but that didn’t stop David. He buckled down as a young adult and upgraded his courses and he made it. He worked really hard, and I’m really proud of him for going to school. I’m really proud of David. He is everything that a man should be.
I lost contact with my church and many of my friends when I got married and moved away from North Van. I’ve probably only seen David a handful of times in the last four years, but as always, the guy was smiling. I’m having a hard time understanding how someone with so much light and love in his heart would take his own life. I understand that he struggled with mental illness, but that it was relatively new development in his life.
I’m shattered. An overwhelming group of us gathered at the church last night. I felt really numb. There were so many people who loved David. I struggled to look his best friends in the eye. If my heart was broken then what were they feeling? I had no words. I attempted to go for a bite to eat and a drink last night, but half-way through my beer and less than half-way through my food I just wanted to vomit. I felt like my soul weighed a million pounds. I pretty much fell into bed around midnight last night, but it was restless sleep. I woke up crying and shaking at 3am and realized with such horror that this is not a dream.
We just came out of the Let’s Talk campaign last week, and for David to take his own life just days later really rattles me. YOU WERE SO LOVED, DAVID MACGREGOR! How did you not know that? There is a community that will never, ever forget you and all the light that you bestowed upon it. I thank God for your life.