Rebecca WAS HERE 1995/04/06 - 2018/11/25

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MY TRIBUTE TO MY BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER, REBECCA SHAWN POLLARD AT HER CELEBRATION OF LIFE My name is Kelly Pollard and I’m Rebecca’s momma, as she called me. Thank you for coming together today to honor Rebecca and her extraordinary life. To me, losing a child is the greatest loss I could ever imagine. But when you lose a child there is no name for it like widow or widower because I’ve come to realize that you will forever be the mother or father of your child. We will always be Rebecca’s momma and daddy. From the time Shawn and I welcomed this sweet child into our arms, she brought such an amazing light to our family. Becca absolutely beamed when her dad would tell her made-up stories every night when she was a little girl and she shared his sense of adventure, accompanying him trucking or snowmobiling. I will always cherish how she loved to cuddle when she was a babe and bury her golden curls in my neck. Becca loved and idolized her older sisters Sarah and Ariel and was fiercely protective of her younger brother Mack, at least until he eventually ended up towering over her. You could be having the worst day and the minute she walked into the room, your day suddenly became sunnier. Rebecca had many pet nicknames given to her by her family and friends, such as Becca, Babs, Babser, Becky, Bix, Bear, Bearsie and Old Sue. Rebecca brought a light so great to the world that even after she has gone, that light remains. People who shine from within don’t need the spotlight and Rebecca never felt a need to be the center of attention. She was a courageous fighter for everyone, would not hesitate to offer her shoulder to cry on, thought of others before herself and her well-spoken, kind, patient words made people feel wonderful inside. Many times, her teachers called us to remark on something kindhearted she had said or done for another student. Rebecca was never judgmental or assumed she was superior to others and this was exhibited when she took the time to have conversations and play cards with the inmates at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre where she worked as a Registered Nurse, even though it wasn’t even part of her job. Rebecca had such a magnificent sense of humor that had us roaring on the floor almost on a daily basis. Even at the age of 23, she would suddenly put me into a tight hold on the floor or the couch and hug me and I didn’t want her to let go even if I had chores to do. Whenever our family temporarily parted ways even for the day, we would hug and tell each other that we loved each other. That’s the last moment we shared with Rebecca. Babs developed an intense desire for travel from an early age. When we started traveling off the beaten path as a family when she was quite young, we provided necessary guidance and education but on our last trip together, she was actually the savvy one who carried us with her enthusiasm and spirit. Whenever we travelled to third world countries, Babs insisted on giving money, food and gifts to the less fortunate. She encouraged us to do extraordinary things. I have received many sentiments from Rebecca’s friends over the last couple of weeks. While attending university, Rebecca was a nanny to a family with four children. The mother always told me that Rebecca was a blessing to her family and an absolute ray of sunshine, using her kindness and confidence to break down walls. Becca came to know each of the children so well that she could lift them up on their strengths and encourage them to overcome weaknesses. She inspired them and fostered a love for the outdoors by taking them canoeing, hiking, swimming and biking. One such outing ended up with Rebecca losing her phone in the water and their dinghy getting a hole in it. When the mother picked up the soaked, muddy group, she found them all laughing and singing. Those children will always remember that day as a hilarious adventure because of Becca’s approach toward the whole situation. The mother told me she has a stronger family because Rebecca shared their lives and they will strive every day to be as kind and fun and adventurous as Becca was. Children gravitated towards Rebecca and she had dreams to one day work in pediatrics. A nurse who has two daughters Becky’s age worked with Becky at Whitehorse General Hospital in 2016. She told me she absolutely loved working with her right from the start and was captivated with Becky’s beautiful personality, smile and passion for nursing. She remained friends with Becky and told me never stops thinking about this one-of-a-kind treasure. One of Rebecca’s patients revealed to me that Rebecca’s sweet, mature and pleasant manner and cheery smile made her hospital stay like nothing she’d ever experienced before. Becca’s best friend related a story about a time when she and Becca were dressed up and ready to go out for dinner. When they arrived at the C-train, they immediately noticed a very intoxicated, upset homeless man swaying at the edge of the platform, close enough to fall into the tracks at any moment. Although there were around 20 people in the vicinity, no one seemed to be paying much attention to him. Becca invited the man to sit with them and chat for a while. With Becca’s kind and loving character and previous experience as a street nurse, they were able to “talk him off the ledge”. The broken man talked about the hardships he had experienced growing up on the street and how nobody cared for him and Becca genuinely offered advice and encouragement. This was one of many examples where Becca did not have a second thought about delaying or cancelling plans in order to tend to someone who was in dire need of help. A mother of one of Rebecca’s Calgary friends mentioned how she was so appreciative of Becca’s friendship and support of her own daughter and she gladly welcomed Becca into their family during her years at university, inviting her on camping trips, vacations to BC and sleepovers at their home. She thought of Becca as her daughter from another mother and loved her just as much. She considered it a complete privilege and blessing to have known her. This mother confided that a mass was said for Becca at their Monastery. A mom of one of Becca’s high school friends felt so fortunate to have Becca in their lives. She brought such light to their family with her special, bright and bubbly presence. Becca’s high school friend takes comfort in the many magical memories of Becca that she will always hold in her heart. This friend claimed Becca had a remarkable ability to make everyone in her life feel important and loved. Another friend from high school described Becca as a magnificent, talented, beautiful ray of sunshine who burst through the seams with kindness and compassion. The friend admitted that high school was difficult for her at times and Becca always invited her to be her partner in school projects and made every day shine for her. Often after returning from various school trips, this friend wished the trips were longer in duration so that she could have a little more time to spend with Becca. Rebecca’s cousins have learned from Rebecca to seize the day, dance and enjoy a glass of wine together to celebrate the bond of strong family love. A fellow Type 1 Diabetic was amazed at how driven Becca was to meet her own diabetic challenges head on and to help other Type 1s if they became discouraged. The Yukon Type 1 Diabetes Support Network in which Rebecca served on the Board of Directors said “there are so many beautiful things in this life but few so gripping as this wondrous woman.” The poem entitled “The Dash” by Linda Ellis truly describes Rebecca’s philosophy. I will read a portion of the poem: I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears, But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash, What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. Becca’s “dash” was very impressive. She embraced life passionately and put her heart and imagination into everything she did whether it was hiking, reading or playing musical instruments like the piano or French horn, and welcomed learning new skills like diving, sailing, paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking. She adored animals and could frequently be seen taking the local shelter dogs for much-needed walks or hiking and paddle boarding with her special kitty, Lilah. She relished being surrounded by friends and family and enjoyed travelling to all parts of the world with them. Rebecca was equally comfortable in makeup and heels as she was in scruffy camping clothes and mussed-up hair. She cherished the opportunities she received during her education such as bison hunts and outdoor high school programs as well as her university placement at an ER in the Middle East. Shawn and I take great comfort in remembering the month-long trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines we made with Rebecca earlier this year. Being newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and having been hospitalized a couple of times, her doctor didn’t think it would be a good idea for her to travel alone or with friends so Shawn and I decided to take her on a trip ourselves because we were certain that we would take good care of her. Becca took great delight in walking through the markets and museums, exploring the national parks and caves, learning traditional dances, diving in the ocean with her dad, driving motorbikes through the crazy streets and enjoying the different foods and beautiful scenery and beaches. That trip was a gift. Rebecca gave me a bracelet a few years ago that had “You’re my Person” engraved on it with an accompanying poem that read: When you smile, I smile. When you cry, I cry. What makes you happy, makes me happy. Wherever you are, whatever happens, Know that I’m always with you. You’re my person. You will always be my person. That bracelet brings me tremendous comfort. The other day Shawn was talking to Rebecca’s best friend on the phone while a few of us were gathered nearby. Suddenly Shawn felt a comforting hand on his back which we believe was Rebecca letting him know everything is okay. She knew he was the one who needed to feel that the most out of everyone. Parts of a song called “To Where You Are” by Josh Groban really resonate with me. I’ll read some of it to you. I feel you all around me Your memories so clear Deep in the stillness I can hear you speak You're still an inspiration As my heart holds you Just one beat away I cherish all you gave me every day 'Cause you are mine Forever love Watching me from up above I want to take this opportunity to thank our families, friends, the community and the RCMP for the amazing support you have given us since Rebecca’s passing. We know we will have a lifetime of struggles but we couldn’t have made it through this initial period of shock, grief and sorrow without you so thank from the bottom of our hearts.
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