Zackaël’s Roadside Memorial on the 323

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Zackaël’s Roadside Memorial on the 323

“Memorials tell the story of lives taken too soon. They are personal statements bearing witness to a life lost and they act as a memento to others both to offer a moment of quiet reflection on the significance of the fragility of a person’s life, and as a heeded warning of dangers we have become too complacent in noticing.

Roadside memorials are folk art created out of love and grief. Unfettered by regulations or cost, they are creative acts, restorative acts in the face of destruction. They allow the remembrance to be matched with the death; the death happened in public, the memorial needs to be public, in the very venue that is so intimately connected with the deceased, the place where he died. And since the death was sudden, unexpected, and maybe senseless but not unique, roadside memorials let people know that a particular person, an individual, was alive. They say, we will not let you die unnoticed, you are valuable, you deserve to be remembered. And they invite the world to join in.”

A quote Brigitte found from http://www.debate.org

After looking online for examples of memorials, Brigitte came up with a design to honour Zackaël at the site of the accident. Our good friends Aris and Andrew generously offered to help us with the coordination and installation of the memorial. Brigitte forwarded the design to Aris who took the lead and coordinated with her friend Chris, whose company Ercon Welding was able to create a metal structure that would be solid enough for the side of Highway 323.

On Saturday November 7th, after picking up the structure from Ercon, Andrew and I drove to the site. I had found the accident site on Google maps with information from the accident report. When I got there, the surroundings looked unfortunately familiar. In case there were any doubts that we were indeed at the right spot, in the ditch I found the plastic shell of one of the rear view mirrors and a piece of the roof rack from our van.

Two more friends, Tony and Mike, met us at the site to help with the installation. This was no minor undertaking as the iron monument was very heavy and even had rebar at the bottom of the legs to allow it to be poured into concrete, keeping it stable. Andrew’s engineering skills and general know-how came in very handy. A huge thank you to Aris and Andrew for helping us with the creation of the structure and to our friends for the installation.

This was my first time back at the accident site and it was great to have the support of my friends. We are very happy on how it turned out. Brigitte did an amazing job with the design and planning of everything, including little details like solar lights, lanterns and glow-in-the-dark pebble rocks so the structure will be visible at night. It really all came together very nicely. She also had a large printed photo of Zackaël, with a different photo on each side (see pictures below).

If you ever drive on the 323 and have time to stop and/or take a photo, especially at night, please let us know. We would love to hear your comments. Click on this link for the exact location of the memorial. Please note that it is eastbound, so it will be on your right if you’re going towards Tremblant. (If you stop and see any snow on the solar lights, we would appreciate if it could be removed so the light can absorb the sunlight.)

Green Glow in the Dark Rocks are underneath the years.
This is the view from the back of the structure (westbound).

42 thoughts on “Zackaël’s Roadside Memorial on the 323

  1. As I mentioned to Brigitte, we have recently purchased a ski cottage in the Laurentians and we take the same route 323 that you were all travelling on. My heart just swells as I see Zackaël’s memorial❤️ and I silently tell him hello and that his family and friends still love and miss him very much! xx

  2. I thought for a long time about how to honour your tribute. Merely pointing out it’s aesthetic pleasantness seemed, not enough.

    The real compliments go to the both of you. What you faced Carl, as you installed the memorial with close friends, I can’t even begin to imagine the strength you were able to call upon to complete the task at hand. Which speaks to the seemingly limitless strength of Brigitte as she lives with this grief and gives you the strength needed to get it done.

    The structure, I hope, will be around forever, to remind all those who drive past about the love of a family. Your family.

    The real tribute is the life you both now embark upon. Raising two beautiful children and sharing with them so much that this life and this world has to offer. The life you will lead will seem so difficult and confusing at times, but have no doubt of it’s meaning and symbolism.

    Carl, you were a brother. How fitting that I carry you in my heart as I try to share this life with my own kids.

    Siempre,
    Aa

    1. Hi Alex,
      It is nice to hear from you and I really appreciate the heartfelt message. All the best to you and your family.

  3. Bonjour, revenons de Tremblant en ce moment et avons vu le beau mémorial. Nous pensons a votre famille chaque fois qu’on y passe. Étions en route lors de l’accident. Restez fort

      1. Venons de repasser aujourd’hui et même dans la neige on voit très bien le mémorial.💚

  4. Beautiful memorial. The design is impeccable, Brigitte. Wonderfully written post, Carl. Zachael’s impact on the world continues through you💚

  5. Wow c’est vraiment spécial, Brigitte. Bravo pour ce beau mémoriel commémoratif de votre bel ange Zachaël. Bises xx

  6. There are no words that can express mixed emotions I feel when I see the beautiful monument
    You have created for Zackael. Your bravery in going back to that site, to install the monument to honour your son speaks to the love for him that you have always shown. Brigitte’s wonderful design, and her dedication to his memory is inspirational. Whoever passes that way, will feel and see all that love.

  7. That’s such a beautiful memorial. Such a lovely way to remember Zackael.
    Thinking of you all, always.

  8. Wow, the memorial turned out beautifully. I really like Brigitte’s design, and your friends did a great job in building it.

  9. Bonsoir, je suis une “jeune” grand-maman de trois petits-enfants dont une du même âge de votre beau Zackaël et de Blackburn Hamlet…votre histoire m a extrêmement touché…et je connais très bien la région ou l accident est arrivé…ma famille est de cette région…j ai une tante qui demeure très près ou le malheureux événement est arrivé…c est certain que lorsque je passerai à cet endroit je prendrai une ou des photos…je vous aimes sans vous connaître…vous Avez tout mon respect et mon amour….je vous admire pour la façon dont vous apprivoisez cette douloureuse épreuve…Chapeau à vous!❤️

  10. Je penses a vous a tout les fois je suis sur la 323 avec mes 2 enfants partant d’Ottawa en route vers mon petit condo a st-jovite. La vie peut changer si vite… et je vous ai toujours gardé en pensée. j’ai encore remarqué les belles lumières vertes ce soir sur la 323 et même si il fait noir on peut voir sa photo. Le plus difficile après la perte de quelqu’un est de voir les autres retourner a leur quotidien, alors que le notre en est plus. Sachez que à tout les fois que je passe cet endroit, même avant ce beau hommage à votre garçon je me souviens qu’une famille heureuse, en route vers un nouveau commencement a vécu la pire des catastrophes. Prenez soins de vous xo

    1. Bonjour Chantal, j’ai adoré recevoir ton message le 27, merci beaucoup. Nous sommes tous les deux heureux d’apprendre que vous pouvez voir la photo dans le noir et que les lumières fonctionnent. Merci aussi pour tes beaux mots.

  11. What a wonderful memorial for Zackael, it is truly beautiful. Many people passing by will see that angelic face . It will touch their hearts as it does mine.❤️

  12. It looks amazing. So many wonderful details to remember and honour Zackael. A beautiful memorial for a beautiful boy.

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