My sisters, Shawna Stangel and Naomi Paley were asked to pay tribute to their beautiful little nephew, Chase, who lost his life on May 24, 2011. As you read I hope you get a sense of who this wonderful little boy was and know that he was so very loved and adored by all who knew him. He will be greatly missed. God Bless!
We would like to tell you a story today. A story about a beautiful little, blonde-haired boy who has touched the hearts and minds of every single person sitting in this room. This little boy was not just any little boy. Oh no! This little boy was our “Chasie” and he was special for so many reasons but most specifically because of the way he lived his life. He was a boy with super-powers. Super powers so strong that his presence and impact, could be felt by many. His particular, special super power was that of love. And this love would transcend into every single person he came into contact with, simply by looking into his brilliant blue eyes. These eyes were so magical, so big and earnest, so thoughtful, and at times so mischievous. All it would take would be one look from these eyes and you were hooked. Regardless of what he was doing – you loved him.
From the moment that Chase became a twinkle in his parents’ eyes he changed their lives forever – and since then he has changed ALL of our lives forever.
These brilliant blue eyes were full of laughter and jokes. It did not take long to see that the humour in his eyes would transcend into the biggest and best smile you have ever seen. He could light up a room. He loved to joke and have fun with you. And, this was a smile that was not only contagious, but could erase any wrong from the world. Recently after buying their new farm yard, Clint, Rachel and the boys were spending a lot of time out there cleaning up the yard and barn. They also discovered a healthy beaver population in the slough. Rachel was dreaming about finding a name for their farm and thought that maybe “A Little Piece of Heaven” would be a nice name. Clint wasn’t so fond of that one so Chase was quick to suggest a name of his own. He very quickly said, “I think we should name it Beaver Ranch.”
These beautiful eyes were inquisitive and full of wonder. He would constantly question his world and the people in it. He wanted to know. He wanted to learn. He wanted to see. Just this past holiday Monday, Rachel and the boys were over at our place to play. We went out to check a few mole traps that we had set in the barn yard. Chase was the first one to the trap. He pulled it out to reveal the little rodent, which yielded a round of shrieks from everyone, including myself. He immediately wanted to investigate and get a closer look, pulling on its tail and trying to free it from the trap, all the while Rachel saying “Chase, put it down, you’re going to catch a disease from that thing.”
These eyes were observant. There was no possible way that Grandma Darlene or Baba Julie could put a new ornament or house decoration up without Chase being the first to see it and comment on it being new. He noticed everything – from coyotes in the pasture, to beavers in the slough. He loved going scouting for deer with Clinton and Rachel as they would drive down back-roads and through pasture land. And, sure enough, he would be the first to spot those deer wherever they might have been trying to hide.
These powerful eyes looked deeply into your soul as he could read your emotions, thoughts and feelings – and if he thought it to be necessary he would be the first to give you a hug and say “That’s OK!”
These eyes were knowledgeable as Chase picked up on the slightest detail to accentuate his learning. He was so smart. He loved school and he loved learning new things. Anything related to reading, crafts, or projects was right up his alley. He admired his teachers and loved telling Rachel and Clint all about what was happening at school and at Daycare. His learning did not stop there, because everyday was a new learning experience for Chase. And, he viewed it as such. Chase was a little sponge when it came to learning about the farm. All you had to do was tell him something once and he knew it! He could tell you the name of every single piece of farm machinery that was ever invented and what it was exactly used for and he spent countless hours on the farm learning all about farm life with Clinton by his side.
These dancing eyes were musical. He would sing and dance. He could carry a tune and follow a beat. He loved listening to music and after receiving a guitar as a gift last year he was beginning to learn how to really play it. There were many times where Rachel and Clint would find him sitting in his room strumming and playing.
These eyes were forward looking and convincing. Chase was always looking forward to the next special event at Daycare – a hunt for treasure or Easter eggs, a trip to the park, and even bringing a calf in to town for the farm animal show & tell. It didn’t matter how big or small the event was, he was excited and enthusiastic about going, learning, and participating. The most special of times that he looked forward to were spent with family – on the farm with Baba & Gido and Grandma and Grandpa, on many holidays with Mommy, Daddy, and “Coopie”, play dates with his cousins, and snuggle story time each and every night. He was especially looking forward to moving out to the new farm and winning a bet he made with Baba Julie. She said that she would give him $100 if he shot a bird with the new sling-shot she gave him. He had been practicing on just about anything that moved or didn’t move, including the barn windows.
These eyes were watchful and always looking out for his little brother Cooper. These two boys were constant playmates, roommates, soul mates, and at times opponents. But regardless of the enormous amount of tackling, rough-housing, and wrestling – brotherly love was first and foremost. And you could see it in both of their eyes as they giggled, snuggled, and loved one another unconditionally. We know that Cooper is going to miss these watchful eyes, as will his other cousins Everett, Devon, Connor, Parker, Karley, and Bailey.
These strong wonderful eyes were focused and determined. We think that Chase lived his life with this unwritten rule: “If it is within my grasp it’s either mine or worth striving for. If you can see your goal just ahead, don’t stop now, don’t get discouraged, don’t listen to those who will try to tell you otherwise – follow your own inner calling and go for it. Grab the brass ring on the merry go-round of life and aim as high as you want to.”
These eyes were competitive. Chase was a natural athlete. Riding his bike without training wheels came early and quickly resulted in town-wide bike rides with Rachel and Cooper in tow. Learning to skate & play hockey was all in one motion, and playing ball was just a lot of fun. Chase picked up on everything so quickly and was the leader of the pack all the while. However, to be competitive you need to understand the lingo. This was something that Chase learned very quickly. During Chases first season of T-ball, one of the very first games found him running the bases while the crowd was loudly cheering him on to “Go Home!” Not wanting to quit playing the fun game he was just learning about, he sat down on one of the bases and loudly said “I don’t want to go home!” Needless to say he quickly learned about home plate.
These faithful eyes knew where to look for God – in nature, on the farm, with his family, and in his own little Bible. Chase was a young, free spirit – but a wise, old soul. He lived every single second of every single day – to the most. And, he put 150% into everything that he did and was usually dripping in sweat by the end of it. He wanted to squeeze every ounce out of all he experienced and because of this, he gave us the very best of who he was. Chase gave us his all. He was active and busy from the moment he woke up to the moment he went to sleep. Part of me wonders if somehow – maybe – he knew that he only had a limited time with us and was unknowingly trying to fit a lifetime into his six short years.
Chase, we know that your eyes saw so much more than we will ever be able to capture in this story. Your story is so much longer, larger, exciting, full of twist and turns, and full of love than we can ever pay homage to. The other evening, I was telling my girls about how Naomi and I were going to write a story about Chase to share with everyone who had known and loved him so much. Their response to me was that there was not enough paper in the world to tell his story. I have to agree.
We know that children see the world differently than adults do. As adults we become blinded by fear. When we look out our window, we see suffering caused by man’s deliberate actions; therefore we are unable to see the beauty in God’s tapestry. When children view the world they admire the allurement of life. We know that Chase certainly did this. He looked at everything as a new beginning. He would stop to admire the beauty of a rainbow, pick dandelions from the backyard to give to his mom, feed the calf that was all alone, collect unlimited amounts of earthworms and caterpillars, and play in mud puddles that were dug in the garden. To a child, the world is one of discovery and learning. From a child’s perspective, the world that they live in is a beautiful place. A child does not worry about tomorrow, they only live for today. Children can be wonderful teachers. We only need to listen. It’s never too late to live your life differently. Look around you for just a moment. Stop . . . and really look. Use your eyes as though you have never seen the world before. You may just find that by enjoying the everyday miracles of life unfolding one at a time, you begin to experience the world as a wondrous place and a really huge playground. We all know that this would have been Chases’s motto.
So . . . for today, tomorrow, and every day after this one, please remember to view the world through the eyes of Chase. And if you do this, you too will continue to feel the super-powers that embodied this little man that we all knew and loved so very much. It is because of these powers that his story will continue within each of us – in our hearts, in our minds, and in our memories. These powers will ensure that none of us will ever forget him and all that he has taught us.
Before you all leave today please think about how you might impact the life of someone else in the same way that Chase impacted yours. Canora Junior Elementary School had recently taken on the task to make a change in the community by spreading the idea that it only takes one person to make a difference. You have all been given one of these cards today and Chase recently came home from school with one of them. He kept wanting to use it for all of his family and neighbours and never had the chance. We would like to ask that you now use the card you received today, to pay forward all the love, good thoughts, generosity, and kindness that you have within you. Please show this in actions and deeds to help or support someone else who may be need of it. We ask you please take the time to do this not because we have asked, but because you have learned a powerful lesson of love and life from a beautiful, blonde-haired little boy with brilliant blue eyes named Chase Andrew Kraynick.
We all love you Chase and we know that as we look to the heavens for support and guidance during this difficult time, and in the future as we remember you, we will see your eyes reflected in every star that shines above us.