Posted on 08 August 2012 by Keith Lacey
The mother of the teenager killed in the tragic tubing accident on Osoyoos Lake almost one year ago wants the people of Osoyoos to know how much her family appreciates the support they have received and to let the world know what a wonderful kid her son was.
“I just wanted to thank the people of Osoyoos for their kindness and support since this horrible tragedy took place and thank all those who tried everything they could that day to try and save my son’s life,” said Elena DiGiovanni-Corbin, whose son Marco, age 18, was killed instantly when hit by a boat while tubing with friends in the late afternoon of August 16, 2011.
Her son was a brilliant musician, gifted athlete, accomplished scholar and a simply wonderful son, brother and human being, she said during an emotional interview from her Mission, B.C. home.
“He was an incredibly gifted young man and everything he he did in life, he did it well,” she said proudly. “He had the largest circle of friends I’ve ever seen for someone his age as he had so many different interests and he had a huge group of friends from school, from sports and from music.
“He was a friend to everyone he met and his death has left a large hole in the lives of an awful lot of people.”
Her three sons – Marco, Robbie and Tony – were members of The Corbin Brothers, an acclaimed rock-jazz band who finished near the top of the PNE Star Search competition in 2006 and were a Top 10 finalist in the CBC Battle of the Bands competition back in 2010.
“When Marco was 13 years old he could play Jimi Hendrix note-for-note … and not many people can say that,” she said. “He was a truly brilliant musician.”
His love of music and guitars came from his dad Robert, who has taught music for most of his life and currently has more than 200 guitar students learning under him in and around Mission.
A moving and emotional Tribute to Marco Corbin can be viewed on YouTube as well as numerous clips of The Corbin Brothers playing tunes in their basement and at various gigs over the past several years.
Marco had graduated from high school and was looking forward to pursuing a post-secondary degree in engineering and had earned $15,000 in scholarships and finished his high school studies with a 97 per cent average.
As talented as he was as a musician and composer, he was equally as gifted in athletics as he was the 100-metre provincial champion in Grade 5 and excelled in every sport he played, she said.
But his biggest attribute was his kind heart.
“Marco was an incredibly giving and caring young man. When you leave this world, you want to be remembered for how much you have loved and given of yourself and how you treated other people,” she said. “Marco had such a kind heart and he cared so much about people. People who met him and got to know him and love him will never forget him, and as a mother, I couldn’t be prouder.”
Her familiy had vacationed in the South Okanagan in Penticton from the time her boys were born, so Marco had learned to love this part of the province and that’s why he insisted on coming to Osoyoos with three close friends, she said.
“He had just graduated high school and he wanted to spread his wings,” she said. “And he was an incredibly responsible young man and was not a risk-taking kind of kid in any way. He just wanted to have some fun with his friends.
“He had never done anything like this on his own before and we thought it was time for him to spread his wings. We obviously regret that now, but this was an accident, a horrible accident and it’s something we’ll have to live with for the rest of our lives.”
With the one-year anniversary of Marco’s death approaching, DiGiovanni-Corbin said she wanted to take the time to thank numerous people who tried to help on that tragic day.
“I’ve never had a chance to say thank you and I want to do that,” she said. “I’ve been told there was a trauma surgeon from Vancouver General, whose name I have never been able to find, who rushed to the scene and tried to help Marco, but it was too late as I’ve been told by numerous people, including the coroner, that he died instantly.
“There was also a gentleman named Brad Higgs from Pitt Meadows who tried to perform CPR on the shoreline on Marco and I want to thank him. There were a lot of other people on scene who tried to help and I want to publicly acknowledge and thank everyone there that day who tried to help under very difficult circumstances.”
The police, paramedics and other first responders all did a terrific job trying to comfort her son and his friends during a highly emotional and difficult situation, she said.
Getting a knock on the door at 2 a.m. from RCMP officers given the difficult task of informing her and her husband Bob that Marco had been killed still haunts her to this day, she said.
“In a matter of seconds, your world is shattered and you know nothing will ever be the same again,” she said. “You learn very quickly you’re not in control of the universe and your life becomes a shattered reality.
“You never think anything like this will ever happen to you or your family, but when it does you can never prepare for just how devastating it is. I know this was an accident and no one set out to intentionally hurt anyone that day, but it doesn’t take away from the pain knowing I will never see my son again.”
As a spiritual woman, she believes her son’s spirit lives on and he is in a better place.
“I think his work on this Earth was done and he was called to a higher place,” she said.
The concept that time heals all wounds doesn’t give much comfort 12 months later, she said.
“We are struggling,” she said. “My boys were three peas in a pod and they did everything together. It’s just not the same anymore … being The Corbin Brothers was woven into the fabric of who they are. They miss him dearly.
“My boys are struggling and their Dad is completely devastated. We’ve all been through grief you can’t comprehend unless you’ve been there yourself. It has been very hard.”
A large group of Marco’s friends will join the family for a quiet and peaceful celebration of music and remembrance at a park in Mission on August 16 near a park bench purchased by Marco’s friends to remember and honour him for generations to come.
“He was only 18 but he left a big mark on this world,” she said. “We want to sing songs, tell him we love him and honour him because we all miss him so much.”