By IAN ELLIOT, THE WHIG-STANDARD
As they approach the first anniversary of their son's death, Ian and Judy Davis-Young aren't mourning.
Their baby lives on in five other people, the time for grieving and anger is over and his mother said her blue butterfly has flown away.
"This is not a time for mourning and to be sad," his mother said quietly but firmly in her tidy kitchen over a cup of coffee Saturday morning.
"The time for that is over. Gavin was taken away from us and that is a wound that will never heal, but his organs have gone to five people.
"There is no way in the world we wanted to go to Gavin's funeral, but five people are alive today because of him.
"He did not die in order to have his organs harvested, but they were and after a year, we think it's time to remember everything good he has done since the day he died."
Davis-Young died in a horrific collision near Sydenham last Feb. 17 when the car in which he was one of two passengers left the road and slammed into a utility pole at a very high speed.
The crash would also claim the life of Robert Tibbutt, 17, more than two months later of injuries sustained. The driver was emotionally devastated but not seriously injured.
Davis-Young, who contrary to many rumours that swirled through the community and reached the ears of his parents, actually was wearing a seatbelt at the time. But he never regained consciousness and never would.
As a clean-living, athletic and healthy young man who suffered catastrophic brain injuries, in the practical world of organ donation, he was the absolute perfect donor.
Doctors asked the family to harvest their son's organs because other people really needed them that night.
His devastated parents gave their consent immediately and wholeheartedly, in contrast to some people who recoil from the suggestion.
"Gavin was dead. He wasn't giving them away. He just didn't need them any more," his mom said.
They consider Feb. 17 the day their son died, because really, that was the day he did. He was kept alive only until the transplant teams had assembled, the helicopters were ready and two neurosurgeons produced independent opinions that Gavin was gone.
Feb. 18 is the anniversary that Gavin's body was no longer alive to the rest of the world. The day they got the tragic news in the Whig-Standard and the stunned tele-phone calls began.
Began again. Little Sydenham has had to bear its share of tragedies in the past few years, many more than it ought to have, and once again the little village closed ranks and dealt with the latest loss.
This year, his family will take no part in the ceremonies at the school or any public commemorations. They won't even go to Sydenham High School the day the Trillium Gift of Life Network will have a table set up explaining organ donation to students.
"We're just going to mark it as a family," his mom said.
"Me, my husband and Gavin's older brother will go and visit his grave at the cemetery and we'll remember privately."
They will have six balloons. Five will be green, representing the lives he saved. The red one will represent him.
But they did want to speak up. Everybody in that kitchen on a sunny Saturday morning cried a bit at some point and a couple of proud parents had never been so proud of their son.
They want the community to know how much they have appreciated their unquestioning support, Gavin's friends for keeping the memory alive. They want other parents to warn their sons against stunt driving, they want people to volunteer to become organ donors.
They want to thank the police and the coroner, they want to thank his schools and all of his teammates and opponents and they thank everyone who set up academic prizes in his name.
They're thinking of all the kids holding a little bit of sadness inside and telling them it's OK to move on.
They're thinking of the people who awkwardly tried to offer condolences and warns that you can't, no matter your best intentions, and she has some words for you because some day you will need to say them.
"People didn't know what to say to us, and sometimes people would stay things that really stung when they didn't mean it at all," Gavin's mom reflected.
"What people need to say in that situation is that there are no words with which to express their sadness, but that they will be thinking of you. That means so very much when you are grieving."
And they want the driver to know that they forgive him; they want him to know they think of him, and they worry about him.
Gavin was black, the only one in the village.
Nobody ever teased him much. He was a huge toddler and grew into a bigger football player, but never a mean one.
He took the inevitable racial taunts in style and in mock anger, turning his scorn on his accuser as he proudly used the N-word to refer to himself and told the taunter that it was his word. Not theirs.
Parents quietly acknowledge that if Gavin was at a party, the police would never be called. A gentle bear, he was still a bear, and if he told you to calm down, you stared at his chest and took the hint. He had the chance to write his own ticket if he kept working as hard as he had been working.
He would have been watching the Super Bowl on Sunday and dreaming of playing in it.
His parents were even able to joke a little with a visiting reporter as they presented letters from some of the five people who were facing death on waiting lists until Gavin's organs became available.
"This one's from the liver, and that one's from the heart" his mom says, then immediately frets about how that will look in the paper. Organ donation is supposed to be serious business.
"Why don't we call him the liver recipient?"
The reporter will have none of it, and the liver it is, and the liver is doing fine.
Heart's okay too. Was it ever in doubt with that kid?
The three other organs have not yet checked in to tell the family how they're doing. The family is eagerly waiting.
"They don't let us know who the recipients were and they go through the Trillium foundation in Toronto where they take out names and addresses, any identifiable details because this process all has to be anonymous," she said.
"But the one thing that I want to do more than anything in this life is to walk up to that man and put my palm on his chest and feel my son's heart beating."
Oh, and about the butterfly thing. His mom said when Gavin was born, she pictured him as a blue butterfly sitting on her hand. She never told him about the dream; he never knew his mom's nickname for him. Moms keep secrets like that pretty well.
"I always thought of him as my little blue butterfly," she revealed. The heart already refers to Gavin as "my blue butterfly hero."
"I had this picture of him as a blue butterfly that was going to fly away, and he did.
"It's time for the sadness to end, right now. One of the men wrote to tell me, 'My hero and I are getting along,' and those were about the sweetest words I have ever heard.
"Gavin always did get along with everybody ."