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'A beautiful soul': Funeral held for baby boy killed in wrong-way crash on Highway 401

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A funeral was held on Wednesday for a three-month-old boy who died after being involved in a wrong-way crash on Highway 401 in Whitby last week.

The service for Aditya Vivaan Golkunath took place at the Chapel Ridge Funeral Home in Markham.

In a copy of Aditya’s eulogy obtained by CTV News Toronto, Adi, as he was affectionately known, was remembered as a “beautiful soul” who was taken from his loved ones “far too soon.”

“It feels like just yesterday that Gokul (his father) called us and said that his baby boy is here. Our family's darling. Aditya Vivaan,” the child’s paternal aunt, Brinda, said in the tribute.

“My mother was the first one to hold him after Gokul and Ashwitha (his parents). My father was the first to kiss him on his forehead after Gokul and Ashwitha. And today, the three of them have left us with void that can never be filled.”

Wednesday’s service took place just two days after mourners gathered at the same location to pay their respects to the infant’s 60-year-old grandfather Manivannan Srinivasapillai and 55-year-old grandmother Mahalakshmi Ananthakrishnan, who were also killed in the six-vehicle collision.

The recently retired couple had arrived from Chennai, India just two days before the crash, which happened during a high-speed police pursuit of a cargo van following the robbery of a LCBO store in Bowmanville.

Aditya’s parents, his 33-year-old father, Gokulnath Manivannan, and 27-year-old mother, Ashwitha Jawahar, were travelling in the same vehicle at the time of the collision, but survived. Jawahar has since undergone a number of surgeries, the family said in a previous statement. They were both too grief stricken to speak publicly on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old driver of the cargo van was also killed in the collision. His 38-year-old male passenger was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit is investigating.

Baby was ‘a light that could brighten up the darkest of days,’ says aunt

Adi, Brinda said, came into their lives on Jan. 24 and brought “so much joy, love and happiness.”

“(He) possessed a light that could brighten up the darkest of the days, a smile that would make the saddest day better. And that is the smile that our family has lost forever,” she said.

Brinda said her nephew was a content and calm child who rarely fussed and only needed a “loving rock” from his mother or a soother to be happy.

Adi was his family’s happiness and lifeline, she shared, with his “toothless grin and dimpled smile that lit up (his parents’) world whenever they were near.”

“(He) loved his mom's voice. He would fall asleep listening to her talk. He would let his mom know that he wants her by cooing,” Brinda said.

“(Adi) loved being rocked by his father late in the nights. He would put his feet on his father's chest when snuggling.”

She said that Adi in his short like filled their “every waking moment with love, happiness and pure joy.”

“(He) knew nothing but love. In the short three months we had him, Adi filled our lives with joy and happiness. He was his mom's whole world. He was his dad's pride and joy.”

Brinda went on to say that while Adi’s life was “tragically cut short,” he is “woven into the fabric of our lives forever.”

“My brother and I lost both our parents on the same day. My brother and his wife lost their first born and their only baby on the same day,” she said.

“There are going to be days when we are going to look for them in the corners of our home, there are going to be nights when we are going to be hearing for their laughter. Just praying we get a glimpse of the three of them. It is on those days we have to remember, the three of them are together. That their spirit lives with us.”

The child’s aunt also thanked everyone for being there for them, for sharing their grief, and for praying for them during this “time of greatest loss.”

“We have never felt so held by our community before. We have never really understood the power of stranger's kindness before. Every day, we have had strangers bring us food, help us selflessly,” Brinda said.

“It is in those kindness that I see my parent’s hands upon us. It is in that compassion that I see Adi's love for us. … Your love and support during these challenging times means more to our family than words can express.”

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