On the evening of December 15th, 2022, in a Vancouver neighborhood, the accumulative effects of battling mental health issues came to a tragic end for Cory Augustine McDonald in a very unexpected and unintentional way. He had been reported to have been wandering the area across town from his mother (where until recently, he had been living), attempting to open doors. At one home the woman living there opened the door and he told her he believed his mother lived there. After forcing the door closed, she witnessed him running next door, jumping from the neighbor’s car to the roof of the house and breaking the window. Within seconds as he struggled to make his way through the blinds over the desk and chair and into the room, he was shot 3 times by the occupant. He was unarmed, he was cold (it was 30 degrees on its way to 27), he was in an altered mental state, and he was just trying to find his way home. But he never did. He died on the floor of that home office within seconds after being shot. Cory began suffering with anxiety and night terrors from the age of 5 and he was never free from it. With adolescence, it only intensified, and he began a common pattern of self-medicating that turned to addiction. As a young adult, the pressures and some unfortunate tragedies in his life only intensified his mental struggles. He would often cry out in his sleep, weeping and screaming. Just as often he would go without sleep for fear of these night terrors. He intensified his self-medicating with both legal and illegal substances until he felt he was at rock bottom. He did not want to die. He wanted to live, he had dreams, he had goals and so he reached out to his family for help, and he got it. He was moving forward, getting stronger and healthier. But the shame of the past years, the unmet goals, the missteps all weighed immensely heavy on him and as his 30th birthday approached he began to withdraw and the signs of self-medicating and over medicating began to return. He began to lose his footing, and on that night, it landed him in the home of someone with a gun and the willingness to shoot to kill. There is no sense or logic to end of Cory’s story. There is simply loss and pain and sorrow. As his mother, I am sharing this story with you because this is the truth. It’s what happened to Cory, and it is tragic, and it is sad. I will forever wonder…what if? That is the sad part. I think it is good for everyone to know because Cory always hoped to someday help others who struggled as he did. He was not alone in that suffering, but his chances are over. Perhaps hearing the truth of his tragic death will bring about a shift for the better. A shift in perception, a shift in compassion, a shift in kindness, a shift in awareness, a shift in violence. One of Cory’s favorite discoveries about Japanese culture, besides his obsession with the movies of Hayao Miyazaki, was the practice of mending broken pottery with gold known as kintsugi or kintsukuroi. A beautiful and powerful practice that Cory saw as a metaphor for all things in life that we label as ‘broken’. Although he struggled to accept this within himself, he would be the first to say to anyone suffering with mental health or addiction – You are not broken, you are beautiful – tend to your cracks and they will mend and they will give you character and value beyond measure. Now I think it’s just as important for you to hear about all the beauty and joy than Cory experienced in his life. Cory Augustine McDonald was born on December 21st, 1992 in Portland, Oregon to Mark and Tessa McDonald. He later became the big brother to Savannah and Halie. They spent their childhood adventuring on their family’s property on Livingston Mountain in Camas, Washington. From early on he had a brilliant and inquisitive mind along with a sensitive and loving heart. He enjoyed riding his dirt bike, practicing martial arts and competing in tournaments. Japanese art and culture captured his attention early on and he traveled twice to Japan in middle school. At 5 years old, he began to learn how to cook. His specialty was cheesy eggs. This skill only grew and brought him the most joy when he was cooking for others. Cory was known for drawing a crowd at the arcade as he mastered his skills on Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution. He was crazy about gaming and had hoped to turn his passion for the language of computers into his career with a plan in the upcoming year to begin studying coding languages. His love of music was as passionate and eclectic as Cory himself. He was equally entranced attending a classical symphony as he was at a rap concert. He loved animals, but Roxy cat was always his favorite and he loved to walk with her on his shoulder calling her his parrot cat. Cory was so grateful when you showed him genuine thoughtful kindness. It would touch him at his core, move him to tears, and form an appreciation that never faded. He would find joy over the simplest things. Being in nature made him so happy. Flying kites at the beach, meandering through the Japanese Gardens, hiking in the Olympic National Forrest, Cory loved the Pacific Northwest with all his heart. Cory loved his family deeply. His first tattoo was the Latin word for Family: Familia. His family misses him deeply. It is the loss of a great mind, a beautiful soul and a future unfulfilled that we shall mourn.