Elisabeth Steel Reurink

Linda & Brian's Story


A Mother's Eulogy:
Given: March 10, 2009

Words from My Heart for my dearest daughter, my best friend, and one of the three best pieces of me:

ONLY a mother can know the joy of the miracle of growing a new life within your womb. Watching your body change and feeling all the new little movements of the wee person within. I remember wondering: "Who will you be?" I was so excited. I can remember the absolute amazement and utter joy I felt on my first visit to my obstetrician when he placed the natal stethoscope on my tummy and I listened to my daughter's heart beating for the first time. The sound of that tiny beating heart filled me with such a sense of peace and completeness and hope as I had never experienced before. I remember calling my husband and telling him we were going to be parents: His first words were "Wow! Hunney I'm fertile!" And then, on November 15th, 1991 at 9:01 in the morning my world opened up and I met my daughter - all 11 lbs and 7 ounces of her. She arrived into this world sucking her thumb. And my first words were: "OH MY GOD - she looks like my mother!"


She truly was a wonder child who grew into a beautiful spiritual bright young woman, full of life and laughter, who was gifted in so many many ways and achieved many things within her all too brief 17 years.

I wanted to tell you about her life - but as I began to write I realized that it was impossible. Bits and snips and flashes fly before my eyes: quiet moments, fun moments, sad moments, just simple family moments. For always, before I go to bed each night, I kiss each of my 3 daughters good night while they are asleep and tell them "Mommy loves you" Without fail, Elisabeth woke up each and every night and called me back so she could hug & kiss me too. She never left the house without kissing me, I never left the house without kissing her and her sisters, whether it was going for groceries or just going on a walk - it is just something we always do. Today, I am most intensely grateful for that family tradition. And I cannot talk about Elisabeth without talking about her twin sisters Alexandra and Katherine - as they all did so much together.

Elisabeth loved being all together at home. She went to bed each night listening to her favourite music playing softly next to her: Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Enye, and Charlotte Church. Whenever Brian, her father, went away on a business trip she and her sisters would take turns sleeping in bed with Mommy. Mind you -she didn't necessarily like waiting for her turn - and many times she would sneak in the middle of the night and snuggle up with one of her sister's and me. This she continued to do as recently as the last week before she was killed.

Christmases at our place were always a BIG production. And Elisabeth loved every moment of it! She would start months in advance making the most beautiful unique Christmas ornaments.

She drove us all nuts by starting to sing Christmas carols as early as October. She insisted we had our tree cut and up by the first weekend in December. In recent years she had taken over the decorating of the tree and family room. It was so beautiful to watch her take over some of my traditions and make them her own - with all the attention to detail and sentiment I could hope for.

Not that things were always smooth sailing. Miss Elisabeth was very fussy about anyone touching her things annndddd was also very much the big sister who was "in charge". Her sisters, Katherine and Alexandra in particular didn't always see it that way…. They took great delight in extracting their revenge by moving things around in her room or hiding them when she was out. Let me tell you, the fur flew after those incidents.

Her favourite place in the world was our cottage on Lake Penage. We have spent all Of our summers there since the girls were little. They grew up learning to swim, make outdoor crafts, fish, canoe, water-ski - and learning to be card sharks by the age of 9 when Grandpa decided to teach her and her sisters to play poker - and 5 card stud nonetheless. For the past two summers before she died Elisabeth worked right along side her father building our second cottage and what was described by our neighbours on the lake as "the Mother of all Outhouses". She was fiercely proud of her contributions to both construction projects - as the Patrick boys next door took great delight telling her that girls were too delicate to do real construction work. They ate their words later when she beat one of them in a wrestling match on the raft and dumped him in the water.

She LOVED waterskiing and was looking forward to going on one ski the summer of 2009. She had also planned on running a cottage business with her sisters that summer on Penage selling homemade jams and jellies and Christmas Crafts - our basement is filled with boxes of preserves, pinecones, ribbons and craft supplies of every kind.

Her second favourite place was school - or more accurately - the world of knowledge. Elisabeth LOVED to learn. She was truly passionate about learning and was interested in virtually everything around her. Every task she took on she took on with eagerness and a desire for excellence. There was NEVER a time where she thought "Oh that's good enough…" She always did extra and more. And it was done with absolute precision. She actually retained and catalogued her notes from different subjects so she could refer them in later years. And she did. Particularly from her Grade 7 teacher's math lessons. Elisabeth was truly gifted at Math and her teacher challenged her to go beyond. I remember her telling me she could just see it in her head. She first recognized that she could be a really good student was in Grade 5; her teacher's quiet caring approach provided my daughter's academic turning point. In Grade 6 she received the Kathleen Hutchinson Award. By the time she reached Grade 8 her French teacher was providing her with enriched French to give her a challenge. At her Grade 8 graduation she received the Top French Award and the Top Academic. That year she also received Board-wide recognition by being one of the "Spirit Is Alive Award" recipients. And from there she never looked back.

She entered Catholic Central High School ready to take on the world. And she did. She received numerous academic awards for being top student in the various fields, and the Gold Medal twice for top over-all academic for her year. She maintained a 96/97% average in high school each year. In 2009 she was accepted into the WISE program at Western University where she took 2 online half courses. She attained 97 % on the first one and was doing equally well at the second. She received early acceptance to every University she applied to: U of T, Guelph, and U W O. She was planning on attending UWO and was very excited about going into residence. She was such a reserved, well behaved, proper young lady, I, as a mother, was actually hoping she would roar around at UWO and do a few things I would disapprove of! Both Brian and I have been so incredibly proud of her.

Ironically, the area I am most proud of her is in her athletic endeavors. She was in classical Ballet from the age of 4 through to sixteen. She took two years of point classes. She was graceful, flowing, beautiful to watch - she was poetry in motion. And she danced for the sheer joy of it. It was quite a contrast to the movements she employed on the CCH wrestling team she joined (much against the wishes of her mother). She was on the CCH Track & Field Team and the Cross Country Team each year. And while she excelled in most things, I can tell you she was one of the worst runners on the team. And it was for this that I respected her the most. She knew she was a lousy runner but tried and trained each year to get a little bit better and a little bit better - she NEVER gave up. She finished every race she ran giving it her best. She was my hero.

Elisabeth was always a caring child. She loved animals and since she was 7 years old was planning on becoming a veterinarian, setting up her own clinic in Sudbury, and to do research. She planned on writing a book and was already making notes on what the book might be. She thought she might also follow up with a law degree and work on medical ethics as they relate to animals.

She was known for her reserved nature but also for her quiet kindness. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of Face Book postings about my daughter's life sharing thoughts and rememberances of her kindness. I thank everyone for your thoughts, words, and prayers. She was a kind, beautiful, special young woman.

The night before she died I was out at a meeting. When she couldn't reach me when she was checking in from Blue Mountain SHE became worried about ME that something had happened and left countless messages on our machine. Finally Brian came home and told her everything was fine - but I had to call her right away when I got home. Just so she knew.

I did. When I talked to her she was happy, excited, giggling with her friends and having a fun, fun, time. I know my daughter felt surrounded by love from her family; I know my daughter felt good about who she was, and what she had to give to the world. She knew what she wanted to do with her life and had every belief she would achieve it.

Elisabeth, ANGEL OF MINE
No words will ever fully convey the love we feel for you today and always. No time will ever fill the hole you have left in our lives. You are beautiful, and beautiful you will always remain in our minds eye and in our hearts. Our daughter, our sister, our niece, our cousin, our friend, our angel.

Love, always,



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