A mother de­ter­mined to see jus­tice for her son


It’s three weeks af­ter the death of her son, and I’m sit­ting at a ta­ble with Donna Foote Matthews in her home in For­tune as she talks about what hap­pened and her de­ter­mi­na­tion to see jus­tice served for him.

The rain is sheet­ing down out­side. Her heart is bro­ken and you can feel it. He’s there, too – lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. If I close my eyes, I can still eas­ily vi­su­al­ize the scene.

Jeff Matthews was a year younger than me. We went to the same high school, though I did not know him well. Jeff was in­volved in an al­ter­ca­tion with sol­diers from an­other coun­try at a bar in Al­berta, where he had moved af­ter high school. He died in a Cal­gary hos­pi­tal three days later.

His death was sad. He left be­hind a young daugh­ter and fam­ily who loved him dearly. He was plan­ning to move back to New­found­land soon, ac­cord­ing to his mother. It’s strange to think how one event can change things so dra­mat­i­cally.

I wouldn’t use the word “favourite” to de­scribe this story. Cer­tainly, “mem­o­rable.” I would rather it needn’t be told at all, but It did. I was de­ter­mined to see it done well.

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