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‘He’s already gone’: Montreal teen turns to writing after father’s death to cancer

For Tyler Szeremeta, speaking about the death of his father hasn’t always been easy.

The 16-year-old Montreal teen lost him to cancer in December 2022, and dealing with all of the emotions that followed was difficult to put into words.

“It was weird just knowing that my life is nowhere near done and he’s already gone,” said Szeremeta. “So that part of my life — I don’t have a bond with my dad, like some other people do. It was difficult wrapping my head around that.”

In trying to deal with his grief, he discovered poetry during an English class at his school.

He eventually started putting his thoughts on paper, and then created a poem about his father that was emotional for him and his whole family.

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“It was really emotional for all of us,” said his sister Jamie Szeremeta. “We all thought it was really nice and it just touched all of us.”

After reading the poem to his teachers, he thought to share the poem with more people.

Last month, Szeremata participated in John Rennie High School’s Black & Gold variety show and performed his story on stage in front of crowds of people.

“I felt very proud to see him up there and to tell the world about his dad,” said his mother Sarah Ruano.

The Grade 11 student credits some of his teachers for helping him open up and discover writing as a form of self-expression.

“Just getting your feelings out on paper, it allows us to examine them in a different way. It allows us to get them out of our heads,” said Shanna Kavanagh, John Rennie High School teacher.

“And I think more teenagers need to be encouraged to embrace this outlet.”

Szeremeta says he plans to continue with his newfound passion for writing, saying he’s currently working on a few screenplays.

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