NEWS

Kesean Williams' pastor on coping with tragedy

02/07/2013 07:12 EST | Updated 04/09/2013 05:12 EDT
Pastor Clive Walters has a soothing voice. The hint of a Jamaican accent that still remains gives a warmth to his words.

But even Walters admits there were no words, no combination of soothing voice and gentle speech, that could provide much comfort to the family and friends of Kesean Williams. The nine-year-old boy was fatally shot through a window while he watched TV in his Brampton home two weeks ago.

"Because of the nature of his death, his age and the care that his family had for him, words are inadequate to do justice to the situation," he said.

Still, it was up to Walters to try. Delivering the eulogy at Kesean's funeral at Hamilton's Peoples Church last Saturday wasn't easy, he admitted.

"No one can ever be too prepared to go through these kinds of situations," he said. "They find themselves asking, 'why me? I'm looking at my child with his greatest days ahead of him. Why is this happening?'"

Kesean moved to Brampton from his childhood home of Hamilton with his family in September 2012. They had moved into the townhouse where he died just weeks before the shooting. A known area of criminal activity, police believe the bullet was intended for a former tenant. So far, no arrests have been made in the case.

Giving comfort

On Saturday, the three hour funeral service for Kesean was overflowing with mourners. Family, friends, schoolmates and community members were all shocked by the sudden violent death of such a young child. Walters said he tried to encourage those grieving by focusing on spirituality and the idea that we must all face struggles in our lives.

"I wanted to assure them a level of hope that Kesean has gone home to be with his maker. He's in a better place, a safer place," he said. "I felt that gave them comfort."

But more than his words, Walters felt what brought hope to Kesean's mother, Tanya Garvey, and brother, 15-year-old Kajan, were the fond memories shared of the kind of person Kesean was becoming.

Family friends, teachers and coaches all shared stories of an energetic, lively young boy with a thoughtful and tender side.

"Listening to the testimony of Kesean's life was really encouraging. I think they got strength from that," Walters said. "He was kind, caring and showed great leadership. He always looked for the little things to do to help."

Moving forward and finding peace will be a long, difficult process, Walters said, not only for Kesean's family, but also for the communities in Hamilton and Brampton where they lived. He's offered his ongoing support to the family and said he was glad to hear of other efforts — for one, the funeral home has offered counselling services and plans to follow up with the family to see how they're coping.

As well, he has learned the Peel District School Board has planned to create a scholarship in Kesean's memory, something he thinks will help his family find peace. But it's only with time, counselling and "a lot of love" that the family will begin to heal, Walters said.

"I told his mother, above all else, she should feel really proud of her son."

Clive Walters gave CBC Hamilton permission to publish his full eulogy, below:

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