When I think of Chevy, one of the first things that comes to my mind is her laugh. It was mischievous, loud, raspy, and usually ended in a fit of coughing. She would talk as she laughed, making sure everyone around was in on the joke. She had a way of pulling people in quickly and she knew that once she had you, a piece of your heart belonged to her.
I don’t remember meeting Chevy. One of the first memories I have of her is in the hospital. She was not well, and Erinn and Joanna wanted to visit her. She was not conscious, so we laid our hands on her and just looked at her, prayed for her, and wished her back to health. Whoever was on her side must have done a lot of wishing, because although it seemed that Chevy was close to death’s door many times, it felt like she always stayed on this side with us until now. There is a hole here where she once was.
Her dog Jacob followed her around everywhere. She rescued Jacob, yet in a way he also rescued her. The two were inseparable, except when she was in the hospital which is why she never stayed very long. Whether we were at drop-in, in court with her, at her apartment… Jacob was always there usually under her feet. She would step on his tail or his foot and get frustrated at him but then he was up in her arms embraced in a hug. Jacob is little but fierce. One time Chevy had to stay in the hospital for an extended time, so me Erinn and Jo got the keys to Chevy’s place and took turns going to feed Jacob. I hated that job… every time we were there he barked and barked and tried to bite our ankles. It seemed like he never got used to us being there. But he loved Chevy so much… I am grateful that he was with her at the end of her life.
As soon as Chevy knew that I was pregnant, she got right to bugging me. She would often poke at my sides and tickle me, causing me to jump which would make her laugh that laugh we loved. When she found out that we were having a girl and would be naming her Charlotte, she nicknamed the baby Chucky which I hated. Even to the last time I saw her, she would ask me how her baby Chucky was doing and I showed her a picture. I so wish they got to meet. Her eyes filled with tears when she saw Charlotte. I know she would have adored her… I will always cherish the blanket that she hand made for Charlotte even when she was living outside in a tent. She worked on it and kept it in her bag to give to me for her Chucky.
I have so many thoughts of Chevy running through my head. The day Ian and I got engaged we had gone to visit her in the hospital only to learn that she had escaped and we went on a wild chase for her through the neighbourhood during Caribana. No we didn’t find her. The endless calls and saying hey over and over on speaker. She would always ask for junk food. “Hey bring me some skittles! I need Doritos! Can you bring bacon?” Making her cups of tea during morning art group. Visiting her in her place, pictures littering her walls. Multiple trips to court, escorting her and Jacob and watching her laugh happily when the support room gave her more granola bars than they were probably supposed to. Jacob would always be on guard at her feet under the bench. Her riding shotgun whenever we had to ride in Erinn’s van somewhere. The only way we could get her to an appointment was with the promise of a ride and some kind of donut. She never wanted to wear her seatbelt so the van would beep and beep until it got tired and gave up. Grief has a funny way of making you remember everything all at once…
Chevy was such a multitude of things. She was loyal, fierce, generous, hospitable, inappropriate at times and rude, direct, loving, big hearted, stubborn, and honest. She was an animal lover, an artist, a joker, and a great friend. She had a way of pulling you in and showed her love by poking fun at you, which I loved because I could relate to doing the same. We could always talk honestly with each other. We could laugh with and at each other. She loved us, and we loved her. She will be so missed.
Chevy. Our friend. I won’t be able to have a bag of skittles without saving one for you. May you rest in the peace of knowing how deeply loved you are.