Paula Anne Gallant

Eulogy – Written and Read with love by Andre MacLean

December 31st, 2005

 

I would like to first take the opportunity this morning to thank you for coming on behalf of Jason and his family as well and Paula’s sisters, Lynn and Lana, and their families.

 

We are here this morning to celebrate Paula’s life and how she touched each and everyone one of us in so many different ways.

 

Paula was like a shining light amongst us. I would compare her to a diamond which consists of many facets that catch the light and transmit brilliance.  I would like to talk about some of the elements in Paula’s life that contributed towards the many facets of who she was.

 

We all know, one of the most fascinating qualities about Paula was the diversity she brought into her life in both the things she did and the people she associated with.

 

She always displayed a wisdom and maturity beyond her years and even though she was still very young, life’s lessons had taught her not to sweat the small stuff, and to take time to appreciate and enjoy what was most important.

 

When you look at the many facets of Paula, and the influences in her life that caused her to be the beautiful, caring, individual that she was you must first go back to Coady Street.

 

For those of you that don’t know, this is a tiny street in Glace Bay where Paula grew up.  Those close to Paula know about all the neighbors and the tight bond those families shared…. and the significant influence they continued to have in Paula’s life even after the passing of both her parents.  They took the Gallant girls under their wings and with Paula being the youngest, they especially held her close.  That caring, love and compassion was a great example to Paula ….it helped mold her and she lived by those principles as well.

 

Another facet to Paula was her education and pursuit of her dream to teach young children.  This was a passion. It simply was not contained to within the traditional school hours. Paula always spoke so glowingly about the students to her friends and family.  She recognized the special qualities that each and every student had, and always brought creativity into the classroom so learning was fun.

 

That drive for creativity highlighted another facet of Paula with her pursuit of her art.  On today’s program, you see displayed a depiction of a recent creation called “Four Elements”  When Paula presented this at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, she drew a correlation between the four elements and her life.

 

I would like to move on to what I consider the most important facets to Paula and those consisted of her love of friends and family.

 

Paula had a multitude of friends from different walks of life; the teaching community, the art community, school and university friends, and because there are too many to mention I will refer to them as the Boutilier’s Point “Poolside” crew and then there was what I will call the group of 12 who gathered every October for a weekend getaway.

 

It was in these types of gatherings, either by the poolside, or on weekend jaunts, parties, wedding and baby showers, that you truly appreciated Paula’s zest for life and her great sense of humor.

 

Everyone gravitated towards her because she truly was the life of the party.  We all know she loved the limelight – never shy to get up and dance in the middle of the dance floor as we saw at her wedding; or dressed up in a Halloween costume when we all went away this past October singing for all she was worth with Nancy…… and I even hear she has been known to dress up as Superman! You could always count on Paula to be the entertainment.  Her friends loved and appreciated this.

 

The most important and significant facet to Paula was her love of family.  Her relatives and grandmothers in both Cape Breton and PEI meant so much to her….

 

And then her sisters …… Lynn and Lana….the times were few that they were not together.  The love between Lynn, Lana and Paula is one of the most powerful forces I have ever personally witnessed. 

 

Alain…. You became the Father that she lost.  You looked over her and protected her until she was old enough to forge her own way……and still continued to do so.

 

Paul…you became a brother to her and it goes without saying your great sense of humor and dry wit was a great match for her.

 

Timothy, Connor Dylan and Emily - niece and nephews that she became more like a second mother versus and Aunt  and she  loved you  all so  dearly.

 

Wayne & Shirley, Jackie and Lloyd- new family in Paula’s life that she  embraced and loved  you so much as well.

And then there is Jason.  When Jason came into Paula’s life, we saw the light and sparkle in her eyes.  She loved you so much.  You brought her so much joy and happiness…. and you brought her Anna.

 

We have all watched Paula this past year, beam with pride and adoration at the family you became.  We know Anna represents the best of both of you…. and you will always have Paula’s gentle hand on your shoulder, guiding you with Anna as she grows.

 

We must all take our next steps and I would ask that we all reflect on the imprint Paula has left on each and every one of us.

 

I leave you with this final verse that I feel is reflective of how Paula would have felt.

 

Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.

I am not there. I did not die.