“Breathe mom, breathe. We will get through this together.”
That’s what Sheila Grant, the mother of a 26-year-old who died last week, believes her son is telling her when tears are rolling down her face.
“I can just feel Drew’s arms around me telling me we will get through this mom,” Grant said Tuesday, with tears in her eyes.
Malcolm Nathaniel Bourgeois, 40, of Innisfail, was charged with the manslaughter of Winston “Drew” Grant, 26, of Innisfail, Friday. Bourgeois has been remanded into custody and will appear in Red Deer provincial court Wednesday.
Innisfail RCMP were called April 24 at about 10:30 p.m. to the area of 51st Avenue and 49th Street, where there was a report of an injured man on the sidewalk.
The mother remembers the call she received from the police at 11:57 p.m. that night about Drew.
“My world is gone. It’s always been Drew and I,” she said Tuesday, about her son, who would’ve been 27 in August.
Grant saw Drew twice that day, once when he had to pick up something, and the second time when the mother and son went out for milkshakes and fries, which involved talking, smiling, joking around – a common tradition for the family.
Little did the mother know it would be the last time she would see her child.
“I’m a grieving mom, with a very traumatic loss. I guess that’s how you put it,” she said. “There’s a lot of questions, and a lot of wonder whys.
“He was just a good kid, and he was just taken in his prime.”
About seven years ago, Grant lost her mom – someone both her and Drew were close to.
“I know he’s in a good place, with my mom, and they’re up there looking down on us, and looking out for us,” the 49-year-old said as she wept.
Moving on won’t be easy, and would be the hardest thing Grant has ever had to do.
“How does a single parent who was so close to their child move on when they’re gone?”
What she misses is calling Drew up and making plans for visits.
“I want to say, ‘Hey, Drew, you want to go out for coffee? Hey, Drew, you want to go for some ice cream? Hey, Drew, you want to come to my place and spend the night so you can get out of town?’” she said through tears.
Grant, who lives west of Innisfail, said her strong-willed son had a “kind soul,” loved the outdoors and could never say no. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his teens, and in the past year, he was trying to find work.
“He always managed to pick himself up and tried to look forward,” Grant said.
Grant remembers Drew to be a “popular kid” while growing up and attending Innisfail Junior Senior High School. She also remembers his love for basketball.
It was hard being a single mom when Drew was growing up because he didn’t have everything the other kids had, Grant recalled.
“But he appreciated everything he got from the family and from what I gave him.”
Since the incident, the mother has received many messages and social media friend requests from people she does not know, but Drew probably knew.
“I just didn’t realize how many people he knew and how many people’s hearts he touched. I’m just overwhelmed with the caring from everybody.”
A Indigenious-style celebration of life is planned for Drew next week at Oklahoma Community Centre in Innisfail area. The family asks any donations be made to Safe Harbour Society in Red Deer.