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Son of man killed in Leduc workplace accident shares grief: ‘Things they don’t tell you when your parent dies’




There are few things more difficult, both emotionally and practically, than dealing with the death of a parent. But a young Edmonton man is sharing his grief and frustration in a series of raw, honest tweets.

Daryn Bondarchuk was one of the men killed in a workplace accident at Millennium Cryogenic Technologies, an industrial company in the Leduc Business Park on Nov. 15.

READ MORE: ‘Tight-knit community’ of Leduc reeling after 3 die in workplace incident

The 52-year-old was a father of three. His son Cody described him as a handyman.

“He was just very much a fixer with a lot of different things,” Cody told Global News on Thursday. “He had little bits of knowledge in all kinds of industries. We never bought bookshelves for our rooms when we were kids –electrical work, woodworking, plumbing — anything else that we needed to do.

“I think that shows who he was, above everything else. [He] was someone who said, ‘If you had a skill, it’s your responsibility to help others with it.’”

Cody said his dad worked at Millennium Cryogenic Technologies for about two years, after a long friendship with the company’s owner, Russell MacKay. He said he believes his dad worked on machinery at the shop.

Cody said he received a call from an RCMP officer one week ago, explaining that his dad had died.

“It’s just been such a strange blur,” he said. “All the cliches that people say when someone passes — I always just rolled my eyes at them, but now, I really believe them.

“Even though it sounds corny — it is very shocking. You don’t know if it’s real. You just feel kind of trapped in time.”

The last time he saw his father, Daryn was dropping off some food.

“He would always bring over food, at least one a month. He’d call me up and say, ‘Hey I have smoked cheese or ribs or something.’”

Not knowing what happened to his father has been frustrating at times, according to Cody, but he says he knows his dad took safety seriously.

“He was someone who always payed a lot of attention to safety standards, so that’s really what makes me feel a bit more confident that it was just such a fluke. It couldn’t have happened any other way,” he said.

“He’s a very careful person.”

View photos of Daryn Bondarchuk in the gallery below:

The day after his father’s death, Cody took to Twitter, sharing his heartwrenching thoughts and experiences: the sheer physical exhaustion of mourning, the frustration of trying to get practical matters in order and the unexpected little things that prompt a fresh wave of grief.

READ MORE: Building up resilience to grief helps prepare for life’s losses, says author

As of Thursday morning, the essay stretched across 37 tweets, whose text is listed below.

Things They Don’t Tell You When Your Parent Dies Suddenly, a Thread:

1. A lot of the first few days is just a lot of driving. To different family members’ houses, to an airport, to the house you’re going to have to start cleaning out.

2. Grief and sadness is physically and mentally EXHAUSTING. I would give anything for just a few hours of not having to feel it to get a break and prepare for the next wave of grief.

3. You have to relive the moment you found out every time you phone someone else to tell them, even if it’s your parent’s landlord, insurance broker, etc.

4. I’m just so sad.

5. You don’t realize you’re hungry until it’s hours past the time you normally eat and you’re suddenly starving, but even then, you buy food and can’t finish it.

6. You see a photo of your dad from when he was your current age and he’s holding you as a baby and you realize how you really thought there was a lot more time to build new memories and have new adventures.

7. You alternate between feeling guilty that you’re just sitting around and feeling guilty that you’re doing things and not sitting around.

8. Your eyes are sore from crying but you still can’t stop. You want to sleep but can’t fall asleep.

9. You get some downtime to process things on your own but just spiral into memories and what-ifs and loneliness.

10. Nothing you had planned for the weekend happens or matters.

11. He doesn’t have Facebook because he’s your dad, so you start to worry that you won’t have any recent photos of him. But then you get access to his phone and computer and find photos you’ve never seen, where he looks so happy and alive.

Daryn Bondarchuk was one of the men killed in a workplace accident at Millennium Cryogenic Technologies, an industrial company in the Leduc Business Park on Nov. 15. (Supplied by family)

12. You then realize that he, and everyone else in the world, never plans for someone to root through their phone without them there.

13. Everyone in the family just wanders around like zombies from place to place and no one else minds. You constantly police your own behaviour and emotional displays for the first few hours and then you completely let go and don’t care about how anyone sees you.

14. You start to hear about everyone who was better off for knowing your dad. All the people he coached, worked with, helped out, and showed kindness to.

15. And then you realize that to you he was Dad, but he had other names: brother, uncle, son, partner, friend. And the community that is grieving gets a bit bigger.

16. You see your Christmas tree from the corner of your eye and remember that you’re only six weeks until Christmas and it’s going to be such a bad one.

17. Even in the saddest moments of looking through photos, you still can’t help but think about how much he looked like Mac DeMarco when he was younger, and it’s kind of weird.

Daryn Bondarchuk was one of the men killed in a workplace accident at Millennium Cryogenic Technologies, an industrial company in the Leduc Business Park on Nov. 15. (Supplied by family)

18. You hear from people you haven’t talked to in years, and almost feel bad that THEY are wishing YOU condolences because they also knew my dad and have their own right to feel grief too.

19. You scroll to your most recent non-death post from yesterday and are shocked at how far away it seems. Time moves so slowly.

20. You start looking into paperwork for death certificates and bank accounts and get immediately frustrated, put it to the side until you’re ready for the headache it will bring.

21. You realize that because he died at work, you also have to deal with WCB, which just feels like extra punishment.

22. Every cliche you hear about sudden deaths comes true. You always think you have more time. You question that last encounter, those calls you chose to miss, what you wanted to say that you never can now.

23. You stand at Arrivals in the airport with everyone waiting for a family member and when he gets in you feel a bit more unified as a family but there is still something missing that will never come back.

24. Even though it’s past 2 a.m., you’ll still be a while from being able to sleep, and it won’t be for more than a few hours.

25. You start to catch yourself unconsciously using past tense to refer to him, and it makes you sad that your brain understood so quickly that he isn’t coming back.

26. Trying to figure out the code to their safe is really, really frustrating.

27. You meet friends of friends of your parent, people you haven’t seen since you were a baby (it at all), and they show you so much love and kindness and tell you how much you look like them.

28. You spend an evening with your siblings and their partners and for the first time in two days you start talking about things other than your parent’s death. Video games, friends, current events, etc. You start to feel the massive hole in your heart stitch up just a little bit.

29. I don’t know how long this lasts for, but the last two days have felt like that episode of BoJack Horseman that’s completely underwater. It’s surreal.

30. You feel guilty taking food from your parent’s fridge home to eat even though you know that’s an irrational feeling because it needs to be cleaned out somehow and why throw it out?

31. It’s the first business day after, so you are able to start filing paperwork. Some staff are very patient and understanding that you don’t know which documents to ask for, but many are not.

32. You pick up his truck to drive back into the city, and you didn’t realize how viscerally the smell of his clothes and stuff in the truck would hit you.

33. Paperwork is exhausting. Bureaucracy is exhausting. I feel like I worked two eight-hour shifts today.

34. You spent the last five days constantly phoning different people at all hours so when you finally check up on your phone plan use, you see more than $60 in overage charges because you didn’t even think about how not having unlimited calls would matter this week.

35. You text Telus to change your plan to unlimited, accidentally tell the employee that your dad passed away because that’s how you’ve started every interaction with a company this week and it’s habit, and now you feel deeply embarrassed. The employee is very nice about it.

36. You finish the fruit you grabbed from his fridge. You throw the tupperware in the sink and make a mental note to wash it so you can return it to Dad. Then you remember. Then you cry.

37. You’re getting dressed in the morning to see him one last time before he is cremated, but you’re scared because you don’t know if you’ll be able to let him go.

Cody said he’s going to remember his dad for his belief in hard work.

“He always cared about the effort you put in, more than the output. He would always look at the comments in a report card more than the grade itself… That’s something that I thought about a lot in the last week. Again, it’s really corny but if you always just try your best — then results will come. Knowing that you gave it your all is something I think he wanted to pass down and that I want to live by now.”

–With files from Global News’ Sarah Kraus

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal




MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow




Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise




Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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