Sue Sky-Isaacs says the support that’s poured in from around the world and within the Six Nations of the Grand River community has made the days more bearable since learning of her son’s “senseless” death.
But it’s the days ahead, without the almost daily video calls with Dylan Isaacs, 30, without hearing him say “mom this and mom that” or his “hilarious” jokes, that Sky-Isaacs says she dreads.
“He was a character in everything he did,” she said in an interview. “He was full of love and we loved him.”
In the early hours of Monday morning, Sky-Isaacs said, she got a phone call from one of Isaacs’s friends, telling her the devastating news her son had been fatally shot.
Isaacs and his friends left the stadium in Miami Gardens late Sunday night after watching his favourite NFL team, the Buffalo Bills, beat the Miami Dolphins.
Miami Gardens police said a person was driving erratically and hit a pedestrian. Sky-Isaacs said that pedestrian was Isaacs.
Isaacs and the driver got into an argument and the driver allegedly pulled a gun and shot Isaacs to death, police said. The driver fled the scene, but was found on Monday and interviewed by investigators. The investigation is ongoing.
‘You wish you could turn back time’
In the days since, Sky-Isaacs has taken nearly every opportunity to speak publicly about Isaacs, sharing his story with reporters across North America, often through waves of tearful sobs.
“I want people to know how much he meant to so many,” she said, describing him as loving, caring and intelligent.
His aunts and cousin travelled to Florida on Thursday to bring his body back to Ontario for a traditional Haudenosaunee funeral, Sky-Isaacs said. The funeral is expected to be held Saturday morning at Onondaga Longhouse.
Isaacs worked for Six Nations as an archeological community monitor and helped search sites to identify possible unmarked burial grounds across southern Ontario. He was soon going to be helping with the search for unmarked graves at the Mohawk Institute Residential School, his mom said.
The last time she saw her son was on Christmas Day, when she visited him in Miami. Isaacs was already there on vacation, and they spent time at the beach before having a party with lots of food “that was right up his alley,” she said.
The next day, he flew to Colorado to ski with friends before returning to Miami for the NFL game.
“You just wish you could turn back time,” said Sky-Isaacs.
A GoFundMe page has raised over $102,000 for funeral costs as of Thursday morning. The family has received “overwhelming” support from Bills and Dolphins fans and Indigenous communities, said Sky-Isaacs.
“I want people to know I’m grateful for all the warmth,” she said.