Remembering lives lost

Community remembers victims of violence

Bonnie Learning
Published on December 7, 2015

Becky Michelin reads aloud the story of her family’s life being turned upside down after her mother’s murder. Michelin shared the story at the 26th anniversary vigil for the victims of the Montreal Massacre held at the Women’s Centre last night. Her mother — Deirdre — was killed by her husband in a murder-suicide in Rigolet in January of 1993.

©Bonnie Learning/The Labradorian

The room was somber with reflection and memories at the Women’s Centre last evening, as a gathering took place to remember women lost to violence.

Yesterday marked the 26th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, which saw 14 women in an engineering class shot and killed by a lone gunmen at L’Ecole Polytechnique at the University of Montreal.

Those women were remembered last night, as well as several women from Labrador who met violent deaths.

One of those Labrador women was 22-year old Deirdre Michelin of Rigolet.

“I lost both of parents to a murder-suicide on January 9, 1993; my mother was just a few weeks shy of her 22nd birthday,” recalled Becky Michelin, one of Deirdre’s daughters.

Michelin said she recalled her and her sister and two brothers waking to loud noises in the early morning hours of Jan. 9.

“My sister and I got up to look for our parents. We could never be prepared for what we saw next. Our beautiful mother, lying on the floor, nothing but blood surrounding her….I remember saying, ‘mom, wake up. Why won’t you wake up?’ She never woke up.”

Candles were lit in memory of all the women of the Montreal Massacre, as well as Deirdre and others, followed by a minute of silence.

Judy Voisey, a board member with the Mokami Status of Women, said she hopes out of all the tragic stories, something good can come from it.

“I hope out of all the tragedy of losing some of these amazing people that we continue to feel the passion to support everybody in the community, because we have to continue on,” she said.

“Our daughters matter, our aunts matter, our grandmothers matter — abuse knows no limits. In my previous work I’m a passionate advocate for the rights of all women…and together we are amazingly strong. But we have to continue to advocate for programs, money, housing.”

Voisey added there is something everyone can do to help stop the cycle of violence towards women.

“We can encourage our sons to have a positive outlook on healthy relationships and to treat women equally. We are equal.”