A mass of hope will be held Saturday by family and friends of Mathieu Trudel, an illustrator in Ottawa-Gatineau who disappeared two weeks ago.
The 37-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from since the evening of March 2, when he was seen on Vaudreuil Street in Gatineau. His family and friends say that while he did leave behind evidence of an intention to end his life, they're holding on to the possibility that he'll turn up alive.
"I don't think [that evidence] should be hidden from the conversation but I also, having said that — there is this massive hope that when somebody does state an intention like that, there's no guarantee that they don't change their mind along the way," said Luc Trudel, one of Mathieu's two older brothers.
'Mathieu's disappearance is a huge surprise. There was no way to see it, that it was a possibility.' - Paul Galipeau, close friend of Mathieu Trudel
Their father agrees, though he says it gets harder to hope as more time passes.
"We're still quite hopeful, however I think the chances of having news from Mathieu somewhat mathematically disappears each day, each week that goes by. So it's difficult," said Roger Trudel.
"It's a surprise that our bodies and our vocal cords for us ... are still able to function, to continue with that hope. But unless anything comes up differently, we have hope that somewhere Mathieu had decided to take a break ... and to decide to give his brain a rest for a while."
He's referring to a severe concussion Mathieu Trudel suffered during a cycling accident in October 2014. He was found unconscious next to his bike on Montreal Road near Cummings Bridge, and no one had seen what happened. He had been commuting to work at the time, as usual.
He was hospitalized for about two months and was anxious to be missing work on his artistic projects. Soon after he was released he returned to work, started releasing art more often, and resumed cycling and running, though he didn't cycle as much as he used to.
"He just wanted to get his life back to normal. ... He was prolific before his accident, but it became super, super prolific afterwards," said Paul Galipeau, one of Mathieu Trudel's close friends.
"Mathieu's disappearance is a huge surprise. There was no way to see it, that it was a possibility. And because of that I have to think that if it was an intentional disappearance, it was a quick decision that he made; it wasn't something that he put a lot of thought into. And it does seem like it might have been the result of a relapse caused by his head injury."
Galipeau and Trudel's relatives say the mass of hope will give the people close to him the chance to see how many lives he touched. It's being held at St. Joseph's Parish in Orleans at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 19.
"He touched a lot of people and I'm really, really, lucky to have had his friendship for about 15 years, and I really didn't see this coming," Galipeau said.
"I think that on Saturday, it will gave Mathieu's family and Mathieu's community of friends an opportunity to come together and to realize just how big that community is."
Police continue to ask anyone who knows Mathieu Trudel's whereabouts to contact dispatch at 613-230-6211. Anyone who doesn't know where he is but may have information to help investigators is asked to contact the missing persons unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 2355, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.