My page has been sitting silent and I know some people are starting to ask when the next blog will reveal itself. My only issue is, I have no will nor ambition to write. It’s as if the words have dissipated from my mind. For those who are just tuning into this blog and do not follow my Facebook page or Instagram feed, I am struggling with the sudden tragic passing of my mother in law. My days over the past few weeks have been solely committed to my husband, our children, my husband’s immediate and extended family. Once the arrangements were completed and celebrations of life concluded, our family found their way home and I have tried to start developing a norm for my husband and kids all while trying to take care of myself. Writing has always giving me joy but now it’s tedious, it’s become a task. So my apologies for my followers who are looking for the upbeat, jovial, comedic anecdotes similar to my past blogs, they will return; however, this particular post will have a more sober tune.
Not too long after my mother in law passed, my husband contacted me asking if I would be willing to write the eulogy. Now if any writer has anxiety or doubts regarding their writing abilities, try writing a eulogy. I guarantee you will find whole new level of self-doubt.Instinctively, I was honoured and ready for the task but quickly became overcome with fear and insecurity. I also questioned the appropriation for a person who was not related by blood to prepare and present the eulogy, even though I surmised that no immediate family, her eight surviving siblings, nor her mother would be able to stand and speak, of their devoted wife, mother, sister and daughter. I simply prayed that I would not let the family down and wrote what was in my heart.
Below is the eulogy that my brother in law (Troy) and I compiled and presented at the funeral. I am posting this, with the blessing from my in laws, for the friends and family whom could not be present during the funeral and for other writers like me. The ones who are bestowed such an honour but are essentially lost in where to start writing a tribute, for someone so dear, in a time of such grief.
Christine Mast’s Eulogy:
Today we are gathered to celebrate the warm and giving life of Christine Mast. For the many in attendance we would sincerely like to pass our gratitude for your presence as we have always known that Chris was well loved and respected by not only her vast family but by friends and the community. For those who may not know us we are Bailey Mast and Troy McKay. The daughter in law and son in law to Chris Mast. We were blessed to have been married into Chris’s tribe, with Chris’s approval of course, and now we have the honour to represent the family during this trying time. We think it’s only fitting that the family’s mudbloods are going to attempt this presentation because let’s be honest the Driessens can barely get through the happiest occasions without breaking down in tears and speaking undecipherable words. So we are going to give it a shot.
Chris was born on March 11th, 1963 to Mark and Dina Driessen, in Calgary. She was the seventh chid in a family of ten. She had deep family ties that spanned the globe that is proven today with members in the congregation who have travelled from Holland. One of the first things I knew about Chris is her devotion to her nine siblings, her parents and extended family near and far. Her family was her roots, her foundation. You all supported her to stand tall, reach high, seek interests and travel further because she knew she had the love of her family to always come home to.
Chris had a strong impact upon our lives and she continues even to this day. Just as an example, I am wearing a suit, I never wear a suit, it’s rarer than a solar eclipse, but I knew this is what Chris would have wanted. When I volunteered for this position, a song by Gord Bamford, titled “When I Go”, came to the forefront of my mind. This song resonated deep within us while attempting to write this eulogy. Chris maybe gone, but she can be felt and even seen throughout the community, our homes and hearts. Here are a few lyrics:
I’ll be that bird outside your window
And the early morning dew
That slow and steady cold rain
That always pesters you
That words in some old love song
That’d somehow take you back
A single tear from nowhere
And how it makes you laugh
I’ll be a whisper in an empty room
I thought you didn’t hear
From a voice from the past
I’m coming through loud and clear
I post a note in an inch of dust
Back behind the fridge
That deep love look for you
In the eyes of our kids
When I go, my soul is gonna hang around
I’ll be in every chill you feel and in the heart of every sound
And if I know what I think I know ‘bout the God behind the stars
When I go…I won’t go too far
Chris was a master of design and no matter how long it took to make an idea come to life, it was always spectacular. Her physical work can be found throughout the town. From the flowers that greet your entrance into the Flower Shop, the Pembina school district logo, the Barrhead high school’s drama and band production backdrops, to even now, for those of you can see, the panels that brighten this church’s alter. For many of you, her work can also be found in your very home with her yearly hand made art work that we all waited with bated breath every Christmas season. Lets also not forget the design of her own garden and home. Every tree, plant, cabinet, floorboard or ceiling panel was meticulously determined before being planted, painted or installed. Sadly, her art room now remains quiet, paintbrushes sit still and we lament that we will never admire any of her new creations. But, now she has access to the world’s deepest shades and brightest tints. The sky and fields are now her canvas and we have the privilege to living in her studio watching every day her creativity at work.
Her voice. Those two simple words can trigger countless memories. Whether she was leading the choir during mass, entertaining nursing home residents, partaking in her children weddings and grandchildren’s baptisms. Her children continue her vocal legacy and she adored any musical occasion when she was accompanied by her children Tristen and Nolan. Jonathan, however, she would normally watch with a sly grin as he would purposely sing off key for her entertainment, triggering her iconic laugh. With her departure we lost a talented vocalist while the heavenly host gained a soprano. Her mesmerizing vocals may now be silent but we can hear her in a child’s laughter, the crashing of waves, the drops of rain upon a tin roof and the wind rustling through the trees. Our world is now her orchestra and I know she is conducting a symphony for our daily pleasure, all we have to do is listen.
We would like to take a quick moment to thank all the Facebook posts, tweets, text messages, casseroles, sweets, flowers, donations, and most importantly all your thoughts and prayers. It has been profoundly appreciated and we are incapable of expressing our gratitude. Personally, we would like to thank Lorne. For your thirty seven years of devotion, through the ups and downs of battling cancer and especially throughout the last few weeks. You were her anchor, her sounding board, her partner in crime and we wanted to thank you for tirelessly standing by her side, whether it had been working in the fields, navigating the dance floor or by sitting at her bedside. We love you and we will continue to help you to honour her wishes and keep her memory alive and well within her children and grandchildren. Even though Chris’ mortal presence is no longer be seen, one can still see her living within her grandchildren. Wyatt’s attention to detail, Sawyer’s creativity, Zander’s imagination, Ella’s mischievous solitude, Lily’s overwhelming smile and her warmth in every one of Gunner’s cuddles.
She will always be remembered for her infectious laugh, her beautiful voice and artistic expression. I truly believe that the souls that are righteous, pure, are simply not meant to stay in this world and the good Lord calls them home much earlier than we would like. Chris we will sit quietly to listen for your song and wait patiently everyday to admire your daily masterpieces. We love you, we miss you and until we meet again, God Bless.
In closing, I leave with the words that my husband continues to tell people when they share their condolences: “tonight, go home, hold your love ones close and tell them how deeply you love them and how much they mean to you.”