Mona Lam-Deslippe and her son Nathan, courtesy of Mona Lam-Deslippe
Mona Lam-Deslippe has experienced every mother’s nightmare.
In 2016, her son Nathan was brutally beaten to death by his long-time friend, William Joles. Nathan Deslippe was 27 years old.
Nathan was a handsome and funny young man with dark hair and eyes, a smirkish grin, and a love for yoga, wearing bowties and helping others.
As his mother puts it, “He was full of shenanigans, played many different instruments and could spot a flat note anywhere.”
Losing a child is the worst experience that a parent can face. It is magnified in the case of a murder because of the time spent in the criminal justice system with victims being thrust into the media spotlight.
“You know, it’s funny,” says Mona. “Everything leading up to the trial wasn’t about us because we were observers. When we had to deliver our victim impact statements, all of a sudden it was about us.”
Added challenges come in unexpected places.
Strangers will surprise Mona by mentioning Nathan’s name, a story will appear on the news, or “things come up, his picture comes up and Nathan pops up,” she says, “and all you can do is take a breath and think it was another difficult moment.”
Mona and her son worked together at a business she founded in 1989, the same year that Nathan was born.
The business is thriving but as she puts it, “I’ve had the usual ups and downs. His voice is on a project that we had started together,” and “it’s like a blessing and a curse.”
Mona, her husband, daughter and Nathan were a very close family.
The community has wrapped its arms around the Deslippes by hosting fundraising events, raising awareness and offering them support over the last couple of years. While Mona leads the charge, the community follows up to make these events happen. “Its almost like they’ve become our kids,” she says.
They created the Nathan Deslippe Memorial Fund, with monies raised going to different causes.
They are members of Nathan’s leadership team, co-workers, friends, event attendees and the business community.
“When things get tough, it's one of the things that keeps us moving,” she says.
As we wrap-up our conversation, she says, “There have been so many things that have happened to my family and it's up to us to decide our future and carry on.”
“People say one day at a time, but sometimes it’s an hour at a time, a minute at a time, or a breath at a time.”
“You never know, you just carry on to the next breath.”
To learn more about Nathan Deslippe including making a donation to the memorial fund, www.nathantdeslippe.com