Lawrence Hong was a wonderful young man with a beautiful heart and spirit. I had the privilege of meeting Lawrence a few years ago when we were students together at the University of Calgary. He always lifted my spirits with his radiant smile and infectiously positive energy.
The last time we talked was a few months ago at a Phil and Sebastian's coffee shop. I walked in to get coffee and saw him doing work on his laptop for his employer, Calgary Car Share. I hadn't heard of the company, so he excitedly told me all about - with really bright enthusiasm!
Lawrence passed away in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 15 when he was stabbed to death, along with four other post-secondary students, at a celebration marking the end of the semester. The other victims - Kaiti Perras, Jordan Segura, Joshua Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell were, like Lawrence, all young adults with exciting hopes and dreams for the future. However, their lives came to an end by murderer Matthew de Grood. At this time, there is no confirmed motive that sparked de Grood to commit the worse mass murder in Calgary's history.
I've spent the past week thinking about Lawrence and how I wish I had been a better friend. I wish I had made more of an effort to hang out and get to know this amazing individual. I didn't realize the window of opportunity to develop our friendship was going to be so short. I know this sounds weird - but I respect human life so much more now. I cherish every interaction I have with my friends, co-workers, family members, etc, because I understand that in life you never really know how much time you have with anyone.
I feel honoured to at least have been able to know Lawrence and have him in my life. His bright smile, compassion for others and hope for the future is an inspiration that I will carry with me throughout my life.
Thank you Lawrence for never compromising who you were - for being yourself, pursuing your dreams and being kind to others. You touched so many hearts and accomplished so much in your young life - I will remember you always.