Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Grieving mom has a message - and you should hear it
I stumbled across the obituary one morning last week and found myself instantly feeling a combination of sadness and curiousity. TRAVIS MATTHEW CATELLIER - In the early hours of the morning on Sunday, July 13, Travis went out to the graves of his brother Jesse and his dad Bert, in his pain and burdened heart, sat quietly and opened two beer cans, placing one for Jesse and one he must have drank himself. What thoughts and tears he had we can only guess. The last few years have been tough and in those early hours, the shadows of the night always play the strains of confusion and pain so much worse than when the sun comes up to chase the shadows away. Travis went to the farm and drove up to the hill where he and his brothers and cousins have laughed and played, had bonfires, skidooed and rode dirt bikes, a place echoing with good memories, a place where I think he could feel his connection to those he loved. He quietly sat in the soft tall grass, texted his love to his Kerry, to his friends and family, and then took his own life. We wish with all our hearts that he would have waited for the sun to shine brightly and chase enough of the shadows away to remember that he had a journey to take. But this was not to be.
Wow.I needed to know more, especially regarding the mention of Travis' brother, Jesse. So I went back into the Free Press obituary archives and found the following: JESSE ALBERT CATELLIER - Jesse Albert Catellier died tragically on Friday, February 4, 2005, at the age of 25. Jesse was born on August 19, 1979, in Lacombe, AB. He was raised and went to school in Alix and Lacombe. He was a very energetic and busy young boy and man always, was full of pranks and mischief and loved to laugh. He was very loyal and big-hearted to his friends and family, had a very rare talent for working with his hands. At the age of seven he built a complete set of stairs, all by himself, for his treehouse, and of recent days designed and built his own trusses for a shop addition he was working on. He was very proud of his baby daughter, Madeline, and of recent months was trying especially hard to change his lifestyle in order to create a better future for her, but he ran out of Mondays to start over. That was taken from him. Jesse has struggled with addiction for several years, and has sorrowfully lamented of late many times that it isn't about fun anymore..the meth and coke just steal your soul and obviously friends in this world can turn to enemies.
Wow again.I began searching through newspaper archives and quickly found the story regarding Jesse's slaying.I noticed his mother, Ingrid Braak, had spoken out following the killer's second-degree murder sentencing. I wondered whether she might want to talk now, following another son's tragic death.Did she ever.What followed was an emotional, intense 30-minute telephone conversation with a very brave mother who made it crystal clear that she believes some good can come out of something so terrible.And a full-page story
that will certainly go down in my own personal archive of important pieces I've been able to pen.Braak spoke candidly about the many issues which troubled her boys and her own struggles, as a mother/parent, to handle the situations as well as possible.She talked about the culture that seems to exist among young people, especially males, regarding drinking and drugging. She spoke about a lack of long-term vision that so many seem to have. And she spoke of the drug epidemic in big cities and small towns across the country.There was more, so much more. And that's why I was thrilled when Braak agreed to join me this past Sunday for an hour-long interview on my national "Crime and Punishment" radio show.We were also joined halfway through by Winnipegger Ian Rabb, a former meth addict who is seven years sober and now using his experience to try and help others.It was raw, powerful radio - in my opinion the best segment I've ever done - and I strongly encourage you to sit down and have a listen if you missed it.To do so, just click HERE
and enter the following information. Date - Sun July 20. Time - 8 p.m. The interview begins around 8:07 p.m. - right after the news and weather break - and continues until close to 9.