Goodbye Christopher Michael Lea

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Feb 18 1987- Sept 24 201614495513_10210491691238366_5490042826666761587_n

Chris joined our family on February 18 1987. He was perfect. His shape and form was that of a Gerber’s baby. Everyone who met him fell in love with him.

After 29 years of love, respect, pain, rejection, triumph and failure. He was surrounded and adored by 4 brothers, Ewan, Graeme, Duncan, and Cameron. He also had one sister Rae-anne. 20161005_185817

As I was looking through my pictures of Chris I found one brother who always in the back ground, Ewan. The oldest and the youngest. Chris’s hero.

When we went to Long Beach, Chris being less than a year, Ewan ran through the surf with Chris in his stroller up hills, over trails until the wheels actually fell off the stroller, so then he piggy backed the giggling drooling moppet.20161005_190439

They had other adventures, when Chris fell and cut his chin, all the boys disappeared then I heard what sounded like a swarm of bees as my boys were surrounding Dr. Lowe and bringing to tend their brother.

Benny Lowe became a surrogate uncle and took him to the beach every day. One time after surfaced from a dive, he found no Chris. Frantically, Benny dove over and over looking for his little buddy. Finally, in utter despair he went to Dr. Fenton house to call the police and me. Here he finds Chris on the sundeck drinking lemon aid and eating gingersnaps

He argued with teachers that he was half Chinese because he had Chinese uncles. When Benny was battling cancer, Chris went and stayed at the Lowe home to help with nursing Benny.

He spent every special holidays with the Lowes. Especially Chinese New Year. He loved the Lychee, little red bags with money.

I have pictures of Benny, bike upside down oiling it and Chris right behind him, his tricycle upside down copying everything Benny did.

He grew and thrived, a little man following his daddy every where he went and imitating what ever his dad was doing.

I Remember when they had that Grandad and grandson tea at school. Chris didn’t have a grandad so he chose a Dutch couple from the Church. Dave and Elly Vandroglen as his grandparent. He did this all by himself.  So on the appointed day , Dave went to tea  with him.

He and Dave developed a close relationship and Dave would take him to under 5’s at Church each Wednesday.

Elly always had a sweetie in her purse on Sundays.

One day Dave passed away and Chris was heart broken. He still had his Elly or Oma as he called her.

She moved into a townhouse . When she needed her plants watering and couldn’t pull the hoses, he would bike down to her apartment, hand water the pots then wait while the water sprinkler needed moving..Oma would always have a big candy bar for him.

Dave bought him  a child Bible for Christmas.

I will give it to Chris’s daughter when she gets older. I will enjoy sharing some of the stories with her.

Christoper and his daughter Kiera Lea.

Christoper and his daughter Kiera Lea.

He was a Local legend in track and field winning gold medals in Cowichan Island Ara, District, and Mid Island Region.

He was 5 star cub with 1st Chemainus Mt Brenton cubs. He really worked for this. Chris has some severe learning difficulties, so instead of using the regular reader. His teacher Cez Deveaux let him work his way through his cub book, so he would not only learned to read, he earned his badges. a Wonderful win / win solution.
He had several other educators who were stars in his otherwise hurtful educational experiences.
Shirley Blackstaff wrote a book about ADHD as her husband had the same condition. She made his work area conducive to learning. There was a little boy who came from reduced circumstance. Chris spent a couple of days collecting pop  and beer cans. He ended up with $12. He gave the money to Mrs. Blackstaff for paying for hot dogs on hotdog day and cup cakes when they were selling for the little man who had gone without on other treat days.

He had a little friend who was confined to a wheel chair and so when they went to the field trip, he would bring her star fish, sand dollars and other items that she had never had the opportunity to touch before.

He entered a contest at the BC Forest Museum and won. The Prize was 5 family passes to the museum. Chris did his math and there were enough passes to take his whole class. Mrs. Blackstaff went along with his plan, so his class got a surprise filed trip.

And last but not least Tammy Renyard. Another gifted educator. She would pick him up from home and drive him to school. She made sure he did his homework in her car as they travel. He adored her. Every day, he would go get a special coffee for her, just to see her smile.

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Chris was a notable athlete, not only in track and field. He was a soccer player and then a star Rugby player. His coach, Barkley Logan, played him in both under 16 league and because he looked older also played him in under 19.

I remember one day in particular when Chris got the ball in his own end zone, he made a run to the other end of the other end and made a touch down. he dived for the line with half of the opposing team pulling on him, but he hung on with his finger nails and made the goal.  Spectators from both sides were on their feet screaming. It was the play of the season

He was in the bike club, and they had to ride every meet. On one occasion he had the flu. I drove him to the course, he vomited in the bushes and did his course then I took him back to go to bed. He qualified. What ever he did, he did wholehearted.

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Don’t get the idea that Chris was a little angel, he had his moment. Mr Hess, who was the fire chief had to keep a straight place while giving a lecture to Chris Lea and Chris Baron, that setting the bush by the playground was not a good idea. There were consequences, but I forget them now.

When tragedy struck our home, and his dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, there was just Chris, Jim’s 87-year-old dad and I at home.  Jim wanted to stay home with his garden, family and dogs.  So Chris and I became his 24-hour care.

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For all Chris did for his dad, he was a total Hero to me. Nothing was too hard, too gross, too ugly for him to do for his dad. He held him up in the shower while I washed him, he would help me catheterize his dad’s abdomen and drain off 7 liters of fluid.  This 14-year-old boys did things, no child should have to do, but he did it willingly and lovingly.

After his dad passed away, he had a hard time. We all did. The grandad needed to go to on of his other children while Chris and I started to heal. This is a process that has never ended. A dear friend came and picked Chris up for all his rugby games and practices, so he got a break. Thank you Michelle Ricard.

Jim’s death was earlier than it had to be because of an error by his primary physician.  Chris made a visit to the Dr. He picked up the picture of the Dr”s children and said “You see them every night”, he then proceeded to throw it at the wall. He systematically threw every book and articles on the desk at the wall.  He told the Dr. to go home and think about it. (this had been the Dr’s 3rd error ending in death in a month.

The Dr. quit general practice and took training in anaesthetics.

He was a marvel with mechanics. He turned his skate board into a motorized unit. He got a motor and a slip clutch and assembled his first vehicle.

About 8 months after his dad died, a friend of the family invited me out to supper. I was gone all of 2 hours, but when I got home, there was Chris with his arms crossed over is chest ” Where were you? You didn’t have your cell phone, you didn’t leave a note, you could have been on the roadside dead for all I knew. “OH my words echoed in my ears.

He was a member of 744 Cowichan RCAS. He joined on his 12th birthday. He reached the rank of Corporal. He qualified for the biathlon team ad wee went to Silver Star.

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SI Exif

One occasion his hair as on his collar, so as called into the CO’s Office. By way of explanation, his quick mind came up with a perfect lie. “I am growing so I can get it cut for cops for cancer'” Good cover story. So good his CO decided the whole squadron would do it. He invited a police officer and 2 hair   stylists and Chris ended up with a crew cut.

1449707299051On the last school dance that Chris went to at Chemainus, they had a very nice RCM liaison office went in the school to do a walk about. While he was doing his walk, Chris and a couple  of his friends gathered all the balloons they could get and stuffed the police car with the balloons. I bet he never left his care unattended again,1449707300715

With every breath in the last 3 weeks of Jim’s life, he screamed in pain with every breath although he was in a coma. Nothing we could do would alleviate the pain. and this was when Chris started to use drugs to ease the memory of his dad’s suffering.

Chris started to change as the time went on. Like the birthday party they planned with ordering $350 worth of goodies on my VISA from the dairy queen. They had the good sense to phone me and I recovered my card.

Then after I crashed our truck coming down Mt Washington, I remember Chris saying don’t wreck my truck. I answered who said it as yours.

I had written off my truck, so had bought a new Ford Lariat. It was a demo, so was loaded with extra’s. Jim was a Chevman and when I brought home a Ford that was a real booboo.

So much so, that I got a call from the RCMP at 3 in the morning asking if I has a red truck. I said yes and they asked me to look of it as in my driveway. No truck, No Chris.

The police were chasing him doing 172 klicks. We decided he would lose control if they didn’t back of and they knew where he lives.
They did and he soon came home. I said not a word, just put my hand out f the keys.

Just at that moment, the door burst in with 2 of Canada’s finest burst in. Chris had just enough time to say ” They will never take me alive before he was flat on his face on the floor, with 100 pound BJ Graham ,in the middle of his back cuffing him. For that he had to scrape all the Barnacles off the Bastion City.

I am not going to go into the drug abuse and the pain it has caused us all.

I will say however that I am thankful for his relationship with his former partner Lynn Litke who with Chris, crated  his daughter ,Kiara Marie Precious Litke Lea and his step daughter Hayley.

20161006_170057The one thing I will end up with is that Chris had a kind heart, a willing nature and the ability to love. He was a Cub, Scout, Air Cadet and Athlete. He was son, brother, partner and friend to many

He took his welding training and acquired his Class C welding with 87%.

He was loved, he will be missed and he will be remembered
When I looked at his Facebook page, he had so many comments of thanks for helping me Chris, Thanks for being there for me Chris, I will always be grateful Chris. So this has proven to me that my son also had compassion, caring and was respected.

We picked music that we thought you would like and told his story in song

I love you Chris, if I have earned any treasures in Heaven, I hope our loving Father gives my share to you. You have earned it.

“Thank you to Chemainus United Church for renting this space for the service this afternoon.”

Order of Service

Christopher Michael Lea

February 18 1989-September 24 2016.

Officiant Tony McCory

Welcome

Bible Reading

1 Corinthians 15:51-53King James Version (KJV)

Music…….. Hurt by Johnny Cash

Eulogy ….patty-anne Lea

Music ……..I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy

 Address by Tammy Renyard
It is an honour to speak today about Christopher.

As an educator, I have always cared deeply for my students. Some students need us more than others. Chris needed someone to support and advocate for him. Chris was funny, energetic and caring. Learning and life were never easy.

I remember when Chris was born and I remember when I first met him in grade eight. I was working as a counsellor and learning support teacher at Chemainus Secondary.

Reading and writing were very difficult for Chris and school was a struggle. He was bright and although he understood that his ideas and thinking were solid, the battle with input and output was exhausting. Holding it together to focus, combined with the academic challenges, made long days turn into long years.

Chris found success and joy in athletics. His energy could be let loose and he shone. There was great pride in being part of a team and making a difference. We often talked about rugby and you would see the light go on in his eyes.

Chris was fortunate to have many adventures and opportunities. Unfortunately for him, people often thought he was making it up. As he proudly shared details of being in a Snowbird, riding in a helicopter, hot air balloon and travelling to Hawaii and Disneyland, others doubted him and some put him down. Other kids in Chemainus didn’t do things like that at that time. His adventures were wonderful and true. Chris longed for people to believe him, longed to fit in and be part of a group but he struggled to find his place.

When I moved from Chemainus, Chris struggled. Eventually, it was decided that Chris should attend Cowichan High. The district didn’t factor in how Chris would actually get to Cow High. There was no bus in the morning.

I decided the easiest plan would be to pick him up on my way through Chemainus to take my kids to daycare. Every morning, we picked Chris up in Saltair, dropped the kids off and carried on to Cow High. If Chris were sick, the kids would wonder where the big boy was. We talked so much on those car rides, sharing Chris’ hopes for the future and his sadness about different things that had happened. We talked through social interactions that had gone wrong and reconstructed them to understand what he could try next. We did homework together. When we got to school, I would often give Chris my bankcard and he would head over to Timmy’s to get me a tea and to get himself a drink or a snack. I trusted him.

School continued to be challenging but with support he finished courses.

When Chris moved north we stayed in touch. I would get the odd frantic call that I needed to send papers for him or he would ask questions about career options. He would message me with every success and every hurt.

It didn’t matter where he was, Chris phoned me every Christmas and every year on his birthday for many, many years. When I moved to Victoria, he would message me on facebook. He brought me a tea four years ago and we had a wonderful visit at Vic High. The years of pain were etched in his face and clearly on his heart.

It is an honour to speak today about Christopher.

As an educator, I have always cared deeply for my students. Some students need us more than others. Chris needed someone to support and advocate for him. Chris was funny, energetic and caring. Learning and life were never easy.

I remember when Chris was born and I remember when I first met him in grade eight. I was working as a counsellor and learning support teacher at Chemainus Secondary.

Reading and writing were very difficult for Chris and school was a struggle. He was bright and although he understood that his ideas and thinking were solid, the battle with input and output was exhausting. Holding it together to focus, combined with the academic challenges, made long days turn into long years.

Chris found success and joy in athletics. His energy could be let loose and he shone. There was great pride in being part of a team and making a difference. We often talked about rugby and you would see the light go on in his eyes.

Chris was fortunate to have many adventures and opportunities. Unfortunately for him, people often thought he was making it up. As he proudly shared details of being in a Snowbird, riding in a helicopter, hot air balloon and travelling to Hawaii and Disneyland, others doubted him and some put him down. Other kids in Chemainus didn’t do things like that at that thime. His adventures were wonderful and true. Chris longed for people to believe him, longed to fit in and be part of a group but he struggled to find his place.

Seeing You Again….Wiz Khalifa, Charley Puch

Address Ron Lowe

Message from Michelle Ricard

Poem from his brother Graeme Cumpstone ( Australia)

 The time has come when time is no more, and all that’s left was once before.  The memories so dear and true, those memories that were shared by me and you. Although we fell and stumbled at times, all those hills were necessary climbs.  All the times when your heart shined through, are the greatest memories I have of you.  I will always remember you, brother of mine, in my heart I will keep you, so I will be fine.  I will go forward with my head up high, It might be hard, I cannot lie.  But in my heart will be, moving forward, you with me

 

Music (word on back page) Hitchin my way………Pearl Jam

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About Lea Wisdom

I am a fairly happy college educated, widow. A mother of two dependent dogs and successfully raised 6 children to adults I am a science and history loving nerd by nature, print junkie, yarn hording, spinning, weaving,coffee drinking, hand and machine knitting student of life. I make my living from Income Tax Preparations, and the sale of fibre produced goods. Knitting Dryer balls, felting, and yarn. I work with sheep and alpaca fibres and I am constantly learning. I feel like a sponge. There are so many interesting things to learn and do. I hope I have enough time to try them all. I am fortunate that my sons encourage me to try everything that peeks my interest. I have friends who help me learn. Thank you . All of you. Not a complicated person. What you see is what you get. I love the Lord, my family, my country and my friends. I believe we all have the right to dignity. And we only have one trip through life.Let's make the most of it.

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