This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, James Meredith, 20 years old, born on January 19, 2000, and passed away on May 1, 2020. We will remember him forever.

James was a very unique person, always searching to find his place in this world. His resilience was remarkable. James loved his family and he was loved back unconditionally. He cared deeply for his friends and was extremely loyal. 

Sadly we lost James far too soon, denying us of all the promise that lay ahead.

We hope this site in James memory will be a place for all those who were touched by him to gather and share your stories, memories or feelings about this amazing young man.
Posted by Richard Meredith on September 25, 2022
This weekend as a family we once again spent most of it at JEMS cabin (the family cottage). It is always very special to be there together. The memory of James is always so very present there with the countless framed photos we have of him on a wall dedicated to his memory.
On Saturday, we had another of many memorable family dinners there. We were lucky to be joined by Lyne and her family, which also marked the engagement of Kayla and James (who always reminds me of my son when I say his name).
It was a special evening because of who was there. We always mark such special dinners and evenings with a toast to James. It warms my heart every time, seeing that as time passes James memory is always so alive in us all. It also makes me sad because I I know James would love so much to be at our table. Perhaps he is. It sure feels like he is with us in some way at times.
JEMS cabin is a real gem for me and his family. We live with a lot of tranquility when we are there and thoughts of James tend to flood my mind. 
I miss you every day my son. I love you my king.
Posted by Richard Meredith on August 1, 2022
27 months. It seems like yesterday that we lost James. I miss you and think of you every day. Love You forever.
Posted by Richard Meredith on July 1, 2022
Canada Day today, July 1st 2022. It has also now been 26 months since we lost James. There is a lot going on here on this day. Scott is at the cottage with friends and Em is with her family at aunt Lyne’s.

I am still in disbelief that James is no longer with us to enjoy our family now all living in the same area. He would have been overjoyed to have us all reunited in the Ottawa/Gatineau area.

There will always be something missing on these so-called special days. We miss James to no end.

I think of you every day. Thank goodness I have so many vivid memories of you. Love you my son.
Posted by Morgan Thompson on June 28, 2022
Miss you today! ❤️
Posted by Richard Meredith on June 19, 2022
My son
Another Father’s Day that you are not with us. I will never get used to your absence. Yesterday we all gathered at JEMS cabin and enjoyed a nice dinner and spent the night there. We of course toasted you and your memory.

I enjoyed this weekend with your brother and sister, Rob, Orlaith, Oren and your mom. It is always special when we can all be together. But there is always a painful side to such moments because we are not able to enjoy your company. I feel you are with us but we just miss your vibrant presence.

Your loving father
Posted by Richard Meredith on May 28, 2022
Dear son
On May 1st we gathered at your favourite place, Beaver Boxing Club, to pay tribute and pay our respects to you. 

It was a beautiful day and made even more beautiful by the attendance of so many people, those that mattered to you most, at this incredibly heartwarming event.
I hope you were there with us and got a glimpse of the warmth and love that was in the room.

You were well surrounded by family and friends from high school and the club. Everyone misses you and remembers you with kind fondness.

It was truly heartwarming to hear all the nice things people had to say about you. I was not surprised but it was just nice to hear others talk about you in the glowing manner that reflected what I already believed regarding your amazing qualities. It was nice to see that many others saw how remarkable you were and are.

It was a beautiful day. Although I felt you were with us us, I missed not not being able to hug you.

I miss you every day. I love you my son.

Your dad
Posted by Dirk Gietz on May 2, 2022
Our family still misses you dearly James.
Posted by Jean Meredith on May 1, 2022
Dear James,
Two years have passed already! Even if we did not see each other as much the last years due to the distance you were always our special nephew! We all love you!
Uncle John, aunt Sandra and your cousins Jordan, Amanda and Jeff
Posted by Jean Meredith on May 1, 2022
Deja deux ans que tu nous a quitter James pour un monde meilleur. Nous ne t’oubliront pas!!!Tu es toujours present dans nos coeur!
Ta grand maman PAU PAU ….. Je t’aime!!!
Posted by Richard Meredith on April 1, 2022
Dear son
April 1st. We are one month away from the 2nd anniversary of your passing. I am still in disbelief much of the time at the thought that we will never enjoy your physical presence, with all the uniqueness you would bring, during all family gatherings to come.

Your sis Em and her family, and your sweetheart Orlaith, have been living with me now for the last couple months. We can’t help but talk about how happy you would be if you could be here, among us all, your sister, brother, mother and niece and nephew, all in the same city and able to see each other every week.

The joy of having your brother and sister so close to one another overjoys me. Confused emotions run through me at the same time, because that joy is always tempered by the sadness of you not being with us. You would have been the one most excited about us all being together.

Thank goodness we have all the memories of you. I think of you every day as does your family. Love you son.

Posted by Emilie Meredith on March 3, 2022
Missing my Brother james as always. It’s been over a month now since we moved to Ontario and in with dad. Orlaith took over your old room, she loves it. Her purple room she calls it. Our journey through Canada in the dead of winter was unexpected and stressful, but I do believe you made the road calm and safe for us James, the entire way over. We could have run into many difficulties, but it was truly “smooth sailing” , although it should have been anything but that. Thank you for watching over us. Miss you so much. Love you so much.
Posted by Richard Meredith on January 31, 2022
February 1st tomorrow. I miss you; I love you my son.
Posted by Emilie Meredith on January 30, 2022
I miss you so much Jamesie. Orlaith is loving your old room, she calls it “her purple room”. It’s been so special to wake up everyday and to be with Dad, the only person missing here is you now. Though I know you are watching over us… and I feel you “with us” often. You should see O in snow and cold, she is not so much a fan of the cold, you would have found it funny.

Love and miss you always,
Your big sis
Posted by Richard Meredith on January 19, 2022
Today my beautiful son James turns 22 years of age. While he is no longer with us I can’t help but think of him in the present tense. Since May1st 2020 he has never been more present in my heart and mind. I cherish his memory and miss every day the opportunity to chat with him, tease him, guide him, hug him, have Ice Capps with him and so much more.
My beloved son James, how I wish you could be here with us as i would have been the first to wish you happy birthday.
I love and miss you every minute of every day and you will always be in my heart.
Happy birthday my prince. Happy birthday my King James. I love you.

Posted by Morgan Thompson on January 19, 2022
Lighting those 22 candles for you today James ❤️
Posted by Richard Meredith on December 26, 2021
Dear James
A second Christmas has gone by without you. We try our best to enjoy our time together as a family but it is just not the same without you.

Throughout Xmas day we can’t help but reminisce about you. We speculate on how much you would have enjoyed being here. It is not really speculating because, knowing you and how much you loved these family gatherings, we know you would have been full of joy. With Orlaith and now Oren James, it would have been extra special to see you with them. We miss you every day.

Days like Xmas can never be the same without you but we hold you in our hearts and do our best to get through this day as all the others. Thank you for being so special and unique as it allows to at least smile many a times as we recall the many happy memories of you.

I love you my son

Posted by Richard Meredith on December 1, 2021
It is December 1st. We are closing in on what is normally a festive time of year, wherein family look forward to getting together for a few days during this special time of year, at the beginning of a long winter season.

For our family, December 1st (as is the case for the first day of every month) is a perpetual monthly anniversary of the 1st of May 2020 when we lost James.

On this day I can’t help but think that, while it has been 19 months since James has passed, the memory of James is just as entrenched in my heart and mind as it was on May 1st 2020.

There is this constant overriding feeling of sadness knowing he is no longer with us. At the same time I am overwhelmed as I recall all the time he was with us.

As his father, I miss intensely all the short moments and long moments I spent with him.

All the meals we shared stand out now as bigger events than they seemed at the time. James was a food lover. When James was hungry, which was a lot of the time, his enthusiasm for a good meal was unparalleled as was his appreciation for whoever made it possible. Whether it was a simple ice Capp, a meal deal at McDs or Subway or à more elaborate family dinner, James was always quick to express his thanks and appreciation for such moments.

Small or large gatherings involving opportunities for James to join in the sharing of a meal just seem to stand out more now as fond memories of our time with him.

James was also very vibrant and enthusiastic about certain activities he loved. Fitness, boxing, kick boxing and the like were all endeavours where James felt the most complete. It usually meant he surrounded himself with people with the same passion for such pursuits and this just brought out in him a level of commitment and happiness that is just plain nice to remember.

At a more personal level, memories of him as my son, with all the ups and downs encountered during our father-son relationship, stand out probably the most as the most fulfilling. James intensity, when he was feeling good, or not so good, just pulled you in. It felt so good when he was feeling good, it made me smile to no end and I just wanted to sense that he would feel that way forever. During tougher moments, when he was struggling (as we all do at times), you were just drawn in and wanted to be in his corner to help him any way you could, sometimes beyond what he even wanted.

The ongoing pain and the grief that just seems to not want to subside, is thankfully not overshadowed by the countless heartfelt happy and powerful memories of our time together and every second I had the privilege of being his dad.

I miss you and love you every day my son.

Posted by Emilie Meredith on November 19, 2021
Dear James,

I went for a walk today with Oren James on the path near our house. I couldn’t help but think back on that sunny winter day when Orlaith was still learning how to walk and you offered to come with her and I on our walk that day- the very same path I walked today. 

I remembered how you cheered her on as she took a few steps with her walker then as she started going faster and faster you followed her eagerly ready to catch her if she fell. Thinking about this sweet memory made me smile but also had me overcome with emotion… I just miss you so much James. I wish you could be here to see Oren’s first steps the same way you were there for Orlaith’s.

Not a day goes by that I don’t miss you.
Posted by Richard Meredith on November 1, 2021
It has been 18 months to the day that we lost James. The intensity of the pain since his passing has not withered. On the contrary, much of the time the grief and sadness gets harder to bare. 

In spite of some periods of personal struggle and turmoil, overall what stands out about James was his strong will to find his place in this world and and to discover truly authentic friendships.

Being his father required much commitment and engagement but it was a privilege to live alongside him and witness the determination with which he lived his life notwithstanding episodes with bumps in the road.

His memory is etched in my mind and heart. As time goes by it just seems to be getting stronger and not waning by any measure.

I miss his uniqueness, his loving nature, his kindness, his intensity, and the unwavering loyalty he displayed for those he loved and cared for.

On a day to day basis, I miss talking to him, during meals or during countless stops for icecaps or after training sessions or en route to or coming back from boxing tournaments. James had a way a making people’s lives meaningful, most certainly my own.

The huge gap existing since he’s been gone can’t really be filled. I miss him so much. I chose to write this note simply to make clear that his memory is not fading and make sure it lives on for his family and all those who were touched by this beautiful young man.

I love you my son.

Posted by Richard Meredith on October 1, 2021
Dear son
I remember you as an exceptional uncle to the love of your life, your niece Orlaith. She will be turning 3 in 2 days from now.

You were the most loving uncle I had ever met. You had an incredible loving bond with her. You loved to hold her, read to her and give her little kisses on her forehead. Everything you did was done in a gentle and caring manner.

I know you would have loved to be there every day and especially on her birthday.
Perhaps you are there and will be there in spirit when she turns 3. That is one of those mysteries of life that we can believe or at least truly hope for.

If you are indeed here with us, then you already know that your sister Em gave birth to your nephew Oren James on this morning of October 1st. That was Em and Rob’s way of honouring you.

I know you will watch over them and protect them because that was one of your grandest qualities.

I miss you my son. I wish you could be with us so I could see with my own eyes just how loving and gentle you would be with Oren James and Orlaith.

I know how much you enjoyed reading, so don’t mind me if I occasionally post you a note here for you.

I love you


Posted by Morgan T on September 20, 2021

Learning to adapt to a world without you has been something nobody could prepare me for. Reconciling lost time and reminiscing beautiful memories. Grieving you has meant losing you over and over again because I refuse to think of you in past tense. My promise to you is to always keep your spirit alive as though it never left. 
It is rare to meet someone with a heart like yours and I am honoured I had the opportunity to have experienced you.
Selfishly, I wish I could have held onto to the experience that is you for just a while longer.
And even though not every experience is meant to last forever, I find it incredibly difficult to accept our last goodbye as our final goodbye.
You made your mark on this world and those around you in more ways than you ever knew.
I wish you could have had a friend like you so that you could have experienced how beautiful, unique and special you were.
You were such a warm presence in this cold world and its freezing now that your gone.

To your wonderful father who extended his support, his home, and his wisdom with us.
Drives home late at night when the busses no longer ran and reinforcing right from wrong when we made poor decisions. Genuine interest in our future goals, and ambitions. And not to forget the countless grilled cheese sandwiches.

To your sister who you always spoke so highly of. Who taught you to be gentle, patient and respect women. How proud you were to be an uncle to her beautiful daughter. The memories you shared together were so treasured and I’m confident you will look over her as brothers do.

To your mother who you loved so dearly. I thank you for gifting me with my best friend who allowed me to experience a true friendship in my life. Someone who protected, supported and encouraged those around him. A shoulder to cry on and a listening ear who was always ready to stand up for those he loved.

To Buster, the sweetest and most loyal dog. The bond between the two of you is the ultimate example of unconditional love.

The gaps in grieving your presence that have been left behind are irreplaceable and theres an emptiness in knowing this worlds bitterness could steal away your sweetness. So many treasured yet bittersweet memories I will carry with me forever.

Posted by Emilie Meredith on August 10, 2021
I miss you so much James. There is not a day that passes that you are not on my mind. I’m not sure why but today the pain of missing you feels unbearable.

These days of deep sadness have been coming more often lately, which for some time I tried very hard to run from them- terrified of feeling that indescribable heart ache. Although these moments hit me incredibly hard, releasing that pain often brings me moments of calm and clarity afterwards to focus on remembering just how special you were and always will be to me.

I love you James. I carry you in my heart everywhere I go, with everything I do.
Posted by Amanda Meredith on June 20, 2021
Dear James,
I am so grateful that even though we were older now you still came all the way to St-Jerome with your dad for family parties. I miss this and miss you very much.
Posted by Sandra Lajeunesse on June 20, 2021
Un bel ange veille sur nous! tu seras toujours dans mon cœur et je pense souvent à toi et tous les beaux souvenirs!
Tante Sandra XOXO
Posted by Jean Meredith on June 20, 2021
Dear James,
It has already been over 13 months since you have left us. It was a real pleasure to have seen you the Christmas prior and you were your usual funny and open guy.
You were appreciated and loved more than you know . You are in our hearts .
Love you James
Uncle John
Posted by Erik B on May 9, 2021
I have many memories of you in Ottawa, and a few from the Yukon when you were very young. But I never got the chance to really know the man you grew into, and I wish I had.

I'll pass the stories I have of you to friends and family to ensure your memory lives on.

I love and miss you James.
Posted by Dirk Gietz on May 7, 2021
We miss James and still feel the grief of his passing, along with his family and many friends. We wish we would have had more time to know him as an adult but sadly this won't happen. James may be gone but his memory won't be forgotten.
Posted by Lyne Burton on May 6, 2021
Hi James
Tante Lynie here!  I miss you ! We all miss you. You left us too soon and it’s been difficult. I think of you every day.  I have the best memories of you and often still have you frozen in my mind as that cute little 4 year old during our trip to Whitehorse!  I’ll add some photos of you from that trip where you were my perfect little photographer!  I believe you are with us keeping us safe ! Rest In Peace my sweet nephew.
Posted by Mathew Fentiman on May 6, 2021
Dear James,

Or should I say my best friend. The memories you and I created will forever be in my mind and I’m so grateful to have been able to share those times with you. You are the only person I will ever talk to when I am sad or just need someone. The nights we spent together exploring the city , biking around and laughing will forever be in my mind and I’ll never look at the city in the same way as we did. Thankyou so much for being my only friend when we went to Glebe together and never losing contact when you were busy working hard in BC. I wish I could FaceTime you right now and continue planning that trip to come see you, or even go back a few more years and have a Grilled Cheese and red Powerade from your place at lunch. You always had a way of really treating the people you cared about good and making sure we always were protected. Every day I feel you here with me still and I know that your watching over me making sure I’m on the right path. You have had a huge impact on everyone’s life you have ever been in and I really just have to say how lucky I am to have been part of that. To my mentor, my coach, my bestfriend and my guardian angel. I love you so much my man, one day we will meet again.
Till then you will be forever in my thoughts.
Posted by Jakob Dillon-Marshall on May 6, 2021
I really miss you bro I remember meeting you at grey mountain primary and playing games most of the time we hung out mostly dead island and halo I also remember when you saved my cat from being attacked and also finding him when he was by super a. I wish we could of hung out more before you moved.
Posted by Ashley Reynolds on May 5, 2021
I will never forget that affectious smile and giggle he had when we first met. I think it was ordering a beer, or perhaps we teased him with a sip, either way, he had a memorable way about him.

There was an innocence to how he showed up in conversation, one that left any one engaging with a smile and genuine warmth. Humans like James are rare, they carry a light that brightens any space.

He left us too soon, however he will never be forgotten <3 We love you James!
Posted by Rex Ludlow on May 5, 2021
James was one of the first people I met in Canada, we met through his family and instantly had some shared interests and bonded over nights with the family drinking and laughing.

His smile and thirst for life are hard to forget and the people he has left behind will remember him forever. His loss has, and will continue to affect generations of his family and friends and this speaks to how loved he was. Like all of us, he had his challenges and difficult moments in the time I knew him but these are overwhelmed by his loving and positive moments. He highly valued family time and this was where I saw him shine. 

Hope you're watching over everyone still James. I know how sorely missed you are.

Posted by Richard Meredith on April 30, 2021
James was a wonderful son. It was my ultimate privilege in life to be his father.  James was incredibly loving to his family and friends. He had boundless energy and a love for life. Even during times of personal struggle, James’ love of life would shine through his resilience.

I miss my beautiful prince James every day and would do anything, if I could, to bring him back into my life. James was an amazing son, brother, friend and uncle to his precious niece Orlaith. 

I hope that the memory of this beautiful young man will be remembered for all the love, generosity and loyalty he brought to all those he cared for.

I miss you everyday my son. I love you.


Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Richard Meredith on September 25, 2022
This weekend as a family we once again spent most of it at JEMS cabin (the family cottage). It is always very special to be there together. The memory of James is always so very present there with the countless framed photos we have of him on a wall dedicated to his memory.
On Saturday, we had another of many memorable family dinners there. We were lucky to be joined by Lyne and her family, which also marked the engagement of Kayla and James (who always reminds me of my son when I say his name).
It was a special evening because of who was there. We always mark such special dinners and evenings with a toast to James. It warms my heart every time, seeing that as time passes James memory is always so alive in us all. It also makes me sad because I I know James would love so much to be at our table. Perhaps he is. It sure feels like he is with us in some way at times.
JEMS cabin is a real gem for me and his family. We live with a lot of tranquility when we are there and thoughts of James tend to flood my mind. 
I miss you every day my son. I love you my king.
Posted by Richard Meredith on August 1, 2022
27 months. It seems like yesterday that we lost James. I miss you and think of you every day. Love You forever.
Posted by Richard Meredith on July 1, 2022
Canada Day today, July 1st 2022. It has also now been 26 months since we lost James. There is a lot going on here on this day. Scott is at the cottage with friends and Em is with her family at aunt Lyne’s.

I am still in disbelief that James is no longer with us to enjoy our family now all living in the same area. He would have been overjoyed to have us all reunited in the Ottawa/Gatineau area.

There will always be something missing on these so-called special days. We miss James to no end.

I think of you every day. Thank goodness I have so many vivid memories of you. Love you my son.
his Life
James Meredith was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut in January 2000, just a few weeks after his family moved there from the province of Quebec.

James joined his sister and brother, Emilie and Scott, who were 5 and 6 years of age. This sibling trio have a very unique feature in common. Emilie and Scott had very close birthdays, January 20 and 18. James found a way to squeeze in there in the middle. He was born January 19 2000!

James and his family lived in Iqaluit, Nunavut for over five years. Living in Nunavut, far away from extended family, led to tight bonds between James and his siblings. Emilie and Scott were very caring towards James as a baby and toddler.  

Nunavut was a very unique and special place to live. The children were happy and made some good friends during our time there.

During our time there we had the privilege of having visits from James mom’s parents. Their visit was much appreciated and offered James mom a bit of a reprieve as they helped a lot with baby James.  

James aunt Lyne and her family also came for a visit. His god parents, uncle Guy and Stephanie also visited us there. Those were great family moments that happened mainly because they wanted to see our addition to the family.

Being away from extended family was a challenge at times. We missed them a lot. For that reason every summer we rented a cottage in the Laurentians and greeted extended family and friends on numerous occasions.  

Being so young James got used to life in the North, which meant having to dress up warm almost all the time.  Hence he got used to wearing long sleeve t-shirts. Funny anecdote was the fact he got so used to it that up until he was 4 years of age, every time we travelled south, although we were in very hot weather, James got so frustrated at having to wear short sleeves. He would pull downward on the sleeves to try stretch them to make them long. He would make us laugh so much with his insistence. Thankfully, over time he got used to wearing the right attire when we went to warm weather places.

James was always excited by these trips as he would get to see his aunts, uncles and cousins during family gatherings at our cottage.

In 2005 we headed to Whitehorse, Yukon. This is where James started school. He struggled somewhat in school. At first he was in French school but shortly thereafter he went to an English elementary school, where he did better in school. 

During those early years (and for his entire life for that matter) friendships meant the world to James. Even as a young boy, he was very loyal to his friends and developed a few tight friendships that endured through the years even after he left the Yukon.

James was a very active boy. Like most kids he loved to be in the company of friends and playing. He loved to go swimming at the Canada Games Centre, which was something he did almost on a weekly basis.

James loved camping and fishing with his family the most. We made several trips to Alaska during our time in the Yukon and enjoyed several amazing camping excursions. Haines, Alaska was by far our favourite place. James loved salmon fishing there with his brother and especially loved seeing the many grizzlies and bald eagles we encountered from a distance during those trips. For a little fellow, he also caught his fair share of nice sized salmon.

James also enjoyed hiking. The Yukon is an incredible place for hiking and early on James loved getting out there with family. Memorable hikes include those with his family and and on one occasion with his aunt Lyne and her family at Kings Throne near Haines Junction, when they came for a visit in 2005. We also appreciated the visit of his uncle Guy and aunt Stephanie, who came to spend a few days with us in 2006.

During the various camping trips with his dad, James loved canoeing.  He loved being out on the water paddling and exploring.  If there was an island nearby, James would want to paddle there just to explore.  

He also loved sitting around the camp fire. We could always count on James to get the ax and do his best to gather the wood needed to keep the camp fire going.  

James just seemed very much at peace and happy as a young lad when he could do all these things with his family. It did not matter so much where he was, just as long as he was with family or friends, doing these kinds of activities made him happy.

What stands out with James as a young child was his eagerness to feel part of whatever was going on with friends and family. He just wanted to feel and be included.  James was exceptionally loyal to his friends and family.  He wanted to feel accepted for who he was and he in turn accepted those close to him as they were.

James moved to Ottawa at age 10. When he arrived in Ottawa, being new to the area it meant having to adapt to a new neighbourhood, a new school, etc in a different part of the country.

He found adapting to his new environment difficult in spite of significant efforts on his part. As adolescence came along, this was a more challenging time for James. He experienced much anxiety as he tried to adjust to this new life and in his efforts to make new friends.  He made a few very close friendships during those years that endured throughout his time in Ottawa and beyond.

His return to Ottawa also allowed him to spend more time with his aunts, uncles and cousins and his grandmother in Ottawa and St Jerome. He enjoyed getting together with them on special occasions.  

James was very active during his time in Ottawa. He took karate lessons, guitar lessons, enjoyed skate boarding, mountain biking, cycling and played in a youth ultimate league for a couple of years. He tried his hand at squash and golf a few times. He also learned downhill skiing. As much as he struggled at first with this sport, he was lucky to have met at some point a young downhill ski instructor at Mont Cascade who was remarkably patient and caring. 

Her kind approach made him feel comfortable  and he was then able to quickly learn the basics of downhill skiing.  Once he got hooked on skiing he enjoyed skiing many weekends on the Gatineau slopes for a few winters. 

As active as he was, James also enjoyed sitting comfortably to read books. He was an avid reader. He was also a fast reader.  He was a huge Stephen King fan and read most of his novels during the latter part of his teens. Once he picked up a book, if he got into it, he could read right through to the end in a short time. He also read other kinds of books, such as self help books and books on how to start a real estate business.  His interest in such subjects, which was a bit unusual considering his young age, gave us a glimpse of his motivation to learn new things and his drive to improve himself as a person. 

James was also a huge movie fan. During his teens in Ottawa James must have seen hundreds of movies in the theatre. He loved to go to the theatre with his brother and father. He always ordered a large Coke and a larger popcorn than he needed as he knew his dad would be ready to finish it off after he had eaten his fill.

James loved all kinds of movies. He loved movies that made him laugh but he also loved action flics and dramas. The important thing for James was to sense that the movie had a story close to or connected to possible real life experiences. Such films moved him and he would really get into it.  That is why he was not a big fan of the wave of Marvel and DC movies.  

Again, as long as James was busy and active with fun and healthy pursuits and in the company of people he cared for, he was happy.

As a child James was not very athletic nor was he very strong or fit.  Yet, when we was about 12 he became very determined to become fit and strong. He wanted to be an athlete and developed during his early teenage years an attraction for combat sports related training.

At about 13 or 14 James discovered the sport of boxing. This turned out to be the passion of his life. 

He told his dad he wanted to try boxing. He had already picked the club… Beaver Boxing Club in Ottawa. On day one, as soon as he walked in there and started training, he was in love with the sport. He loved everything about the club, the intense training, the people, the coaches, the camaraderie.

Jill Perry, the head coach at the club, was a tremendous inspiration to James. They got to know each other quite well. James loved her dearly and her husband Jim.  They were so kind to him and he appreciated their generosity very much.  

Beaver Boxing and the people there made James feel he belonged. He was so proud when he was assigned his own locker, which was something at the time that only the most active members were lucky to have. Early on he was also able to join their youth boxing program which lead to opportunities to take part in a number of amateur boxing tournaments.

Beaver Boxing and boxing was a god send for James. He found a true passion there and it impacted every aspect of his life. Most importantly he was very healthy and fit, which was important to James and he was
surrounded by really good people, who cared for him and who he cared for.  

He also loved to volunteer in the many boxing galas and events organized by the club aimed at fund raising for youth.  It gave him a sense of purpose, as he enjoyed helping Jill and being part of events where he would be surrounded by his friends from the club. 

His willingness to give manifested itself in other ways. He even volunteered a couple of times at Shepherds of Good Hope in Ottawa, where he joined his dad serving meals for homeless people on Friday nights at the soup kitchen.

He was very giving in general. For example, quite often, when he spotted a homeless person outside a Tim Hortons in Ottawa or when he lived in BC he would buy food for himself but he would also purchase extra food and a coffee and handed it to a homeless person as he stepped out of the restaurant. 

He just had this sensitive side to him that was expressed at various times in this manner throughout the latter part of his teens and into adulthood.

At about age 16 James sustained quite a serious shoulder injury (torn labrum), which prevented him from training and competing in boxing.

This was a very difficult time for James. He had become accustomed to being so active and it seems his physical and mental wellness was tied to that. Because of his condition he could not train for quite some time so he did not spend as much time at the club.  The anxiety James felt during this time was palpable.

He had surgery on his shoulder which meant he could not train for 6 months and then only could he begin training very slowly.

During this period of inactivity James was not as happy, nor as driven or motivated. Around this time he began spending more time with young people who were focused on less healthy pursuits. This was a period when his family was concerned about where he was heading. 

That being said, James was remarkably resilient. He realized that the path he was on was not what he wanted and was only temporary. As he got healthier following his surgery, eventually he was able to start training again. This helped him tremendously as he again found himself regularly in the club’s amazingly healthy atmosphere.

However within a short period he realized his shoulder was not quite the same and, on top of that, his other shoulder began hurting.  It made it difficult for him to train with the intensity he enjoyed.

This is when he decided to try kick boxing. Because this sport did not involve as much repetitive use of his arms and shoulders but also involved using his legs significantly, he found it was not as hard on his shoulders. 

After a short time this became his new athletic pursuit. He joined the Fight and Fitness mixed martial arts club in Ottawa and dedicated himself to this new athletic pursuit. His heart was still with the Beaver Boxing club and he stayed connected to the club and the people there but he just found it easier to excel at this point in this new sport. 

During those years, excluding the period he was injured, James trained with tremendous intensity and became exceptionally fit and strong. Nothing made him feel better than being able to train hard. He felt healthy and this generally impacted other aspects of his life.

From age 15 until he was 18 he also held a part time job at a local Loblaws close to where he lived and he showed good work ethic for such a young man.

Nevertheless it seems that James suffered from a lot internal anxiety during those years. As much as the healthy pursuits he engaged in helped a lot, he was wired in such a way that anxiety led him to go through episodes of personal instability. 

High School was not an easy place for James. In hind site the particular schools he attended and some of the people there were not well suited to help James with his personal struggles. He was not particularly studious and suffered from attention deficit and while he did reasonably well academically in the circumstances, it was clear school was not a place James felt at ease.

He finished and graduated from high school and that was it as far as he was concerned regarding the idea of pursuing further studies. 

In the year that followed his graduation James continued to train to some degree but with varying levels of commitment. His dedication was more sporadic. At the same time it seems he felt a little lost about life and friends.  He tended to gravitate towards the lesshealthy crowd he had gotten to know earlier.  

During those episodes it seemed that James found it easier to feel accepted by
some of these other friends.  Some of them, as many experience as young adults, were living through their own personal life challenges. 

James was loyal to this group of friends as well. As mentioned earlier, what mattered to James was to feel accepted for who he was and being around people he accepted as they were.

Yet James was torn inside about this unhealthy side of his life. He showed some resilience as he always stayed connected and engaged in some level of physical activity, either in boxing or kick boxing.

After a difficult summer in 2018 James decided to make an important change in his life. He wanted to shake things up for himself. He was driven to find the right path and to lead a healthy lifestyle. In August 2018 he decided to move to Vancouver, British Columbia, where his mother and his sister Emilie lived with her life partner Rob. 

At first this seemed like the right choice on his part. Upon arrival he worked in landscaping with his brother in law.  He was learning a new trade. He worked hard. This was his first full time job. 

He found his own place and was learning what it took to pay for rent and live on your own. He also enjoyed seeing his sister and mother on a regular basis. Now that he was earning a living, he especially enjoyed occasionally treating his mom to a nice meal at a restaurant and/ or a movie. These moments were very special to James.

He loved spending time with his family in BC. He spent a lot of time at his sister’s home. He loved having family meals or just hanging out with them. 

During visits there from his dad and brother, when his entire family was there together, James would be with us all the time. Those moments were very precious to him. 

In October 2018 he experienced the joy of becoming an uncle when his sister gave birth to Orlaith.  

Orlaith quickly became the love of his life. He loved her dearly and showed her much attention and affection.  He loved holding her in his arms and reading to her.  As she became a toddler, he loved to make her laugh.

To Orlaith, James was her rock star. She would just light up as soon as he entered a room. He had an uncanny ability to make her explode in laughter and giggles, especially when he would start vigourously shadow boxing in front of her. Nobody else did that kind of stuff and she just found him so funny.

That was another amazing side of James. His sense of humour, goofiness and ability to laugh at himself was very endearing.  He laughed with a child like giggle almost and had an amazing wide grin kind of smile. It was just great to be with him in such moments.

He was very handsome and had an amazing smile. There was an innocence and engaging way about him that made him very loveable. He was also a relentless teaser, especially of his siblings and mom and dad. He would go at it with such persistence that he could drive you crazy and make you laugh at the same time. 

He was also very loving. Throughout his life and even as young man, James was never shy to tell his siblings and mom and dad that he loved us. And he never got tired of hearing it from us either.

During his first year in BC James learned his trade and showed strong work ethic. He was up early every morning, eager to join his crew of coworkers. He liked the physical side of the work. His strength and excellent fitness helped him a lot in this kind of work.

He joined a mixed martial arts club in Vancouver and began training, sporadically initially in 2018 and early 2019.  Then he started training there with more consistency and this made him feel good.

He was doing so well that his mom and dad decided to surprise him in April 2019 and bought as a gift his first car. He was overjoyed and so proud to have his own car. It gave him the added freedom, independence and sense of responsibility which was a real plus in his life at the time. 

By this time his sister had moved to Langley while he still lived in Vancouver.  Having a car made a big difference to James as he could now drive there whenever he wanted, which was several days a week. He really enjoyed hanging out with his sister and the love of his life, Orlaith. For Emilie having her little brother there so often was priceless. 

Around this period, unfortunately, James encountered a few new « friends » who were not positive forces for a young man like him, who struggled so much with anxiety on a consistent basis.  

For them illegal drugs are part of their lifestyle. For James it gave him easier access to a misguided way to self medicate as he tried to cope with his severe anxiety.  They did not know James well enough, nor care enough, to perhaps realize that this was not what James needed, particularly during the last couple of months of his life when his family was desperately trying to convince him to undergo treatment.

In September 2019 James had a car accident and his vehicle was totalled. This was a big blow to James as he lost, in his mind, a big chunk of his new found freedom and independence. He could no longer come and go as he wished to the gym, to meet friends or see his mom, sister and Orlaith as frequently.  Late Fall was a difficult time for James.

By the end of 2019/ early 2020 James was increasingly struggling with anxiety. His family was very engaged to try to find the help he needed over the next few months. 

Unfortunately, as beautiful and picturesque as BC is, James and his family discovered just how poor the combination of the medical and policing systems are in Vancouver when it comes to helping people suffering from substance use and mental health issues.

On more than one occasion we sought their help. It is actually scary and shocking to realize the level of individual and institutional incompetence demonstrated by police, James’ doctor and the BC health care system.

At this point James was not working anymore and was not really in a state of mind to work, although he did try to find work. However, the COVID pandemic had just started and this made it even more difficult to find work. The public health restrictions also made James feel more isolated, which did not help his situation. 

By this time, in April 2020, James was dealing with severe mental health struggles and he was increasingly leaning on substance use to self medicate as his anxiety was becoming debilitating.  

His family was in constant contact with him, speaking to him daily and trying to support him as best we knew how.  We pleaded with him to accept treatment.  He showed resistance to this but gradually he was becoming increasingly open to this prospect. 

Near the end of the month of April he told his brother he would likely be ready to enter treatment at the end of May 2020.  James was also thinking of returning to Ottawa in the hopes of working with his brother.  We encouraged him to do so but he just wasn’t quite ready to come back as he wanted to try to make it work in BC. 

On the last day of April he reconnected with a very close friend of his from his time in high school.  This person was a special and positive force in James life. This, along with the ongoing encouragement and support from his family, we think, likely would have eventually triggered James return to Ottawa.

Sadly James never got that opportunity. On May 1st 2020, as he no doubt wanted to self medicate in the manner he had been increasingly doing over the previous four months, James passed away from fentanyl poisoning.  He was 20 years of age.

James’ passing has devastated his family. The fact he had been struggling so much during the last few months of his life just amplified that devastation.

Although we were worried that something like this could happen, we had taken so many steps to prepare for the moment that James would signal us that he was ready to go to treatment, that this gave us hope.

James had always been remarkably resilient during his life. Although he struggled at times with his own demons, he had an inner hunger to lead a happy and healthy life.  He had shown so much resilience his entire life that we had much hope he would bounce back from this difficult period.

James life and his dreams for the future were cut short.  Life will never be the same without him.  As we struggle daily with the pain of his loss, we can’t help but realize the trail of love he left with us. 

James loved his family and his family loved him unconditionally throughout the good and the difficult times.  There are several other special people who James felt incredibly close to and who truly cared for him.

It is incredibly painful knowing we will no longer be able to tease him, hang out with him, enjoy meals with him, hug him and experience all those other life's family moments that lay ahead. 

However he has left us with a ton of memories that will be with us forever. He was an incredibly caring, passionate and loving person.  We miss him everyday and would do anything to have him back with us. 

Loving and caring for James was an amazing privilege. He was so vibrant that the
powerful memory of him is such that it feels as though he is still with us at times.

Our young prince James, you are now our King.  Watch over us. Your memory will live on through your mom, dad, brother and sister and all those who loved you and who you loved back.
Recent stories

Happy birthday

Shared by Jake Dillon-Marshall on January 19, 2022
Happy birthday day broski, miss ya tons man hard to walk by your old place and grey mountain in Riverdale. I remember when we used to hang out play dead island, halo, or any other fun games miss ya tons thinking about you today  
Shared by Sonja Meredith on June 14, 2021
Miss you so much my James. Love how we held hands so strong. Your forever and always in my ❤️ heart 
Forever your Mom