WITH VIDEO: Hundreds attend celebration of life for Letisha Reimer
Letisha Reimer’s daily attire consisted of white Converse sneakers, ripped jeans and a T-shirt, her mom told hundreds of mourners attending the teen’s celebration of life Saturday afternoon in Abbotsford.
“This is what she wore that morning when I dropped her off at school, and that is what she wore this morning when we said our goodbyes,” Ellie Reimer said tearfully during family tributes held during the service at Central Heights Church.
“We didn’t dress her in a dress today. I would have loved to do that, but that would have been for me. I would have especially loved to do so as I will now not see her in a prom or wedding dress but she would have hated it so much. I just see her rolling her eyes and making that vomiting noise she made.”
More than 1,000 people attended the celebration of life to remember Letisha, who died Nov. 1 after being stabbed in a random attack at Abbotsford Senior Secondary. Her 14-year-old friend (who can’t be named due to a publication ban) was seriously injured, but survived.
Although Letisha worshipped at South Abbotsford Church, the service was scheduled at a larger venue to accommodate the hundreds of people who attended. The Abbotsford News was among media invited to the service.
In her tribute, Ellie recalled the last serious conversation she had with Letisha on the day before her death. The two were in a car alone and Ellie told her daughter that although being a teenager can be difficult and new, being the mom of a teen was also new for her.
“I told her that I loved her very much and she said she loved me very much back.”
Letisha’s dad Uli spoke of holding his daughter as a baby one particular night when she was having difficulty sleeping. He recalled how her tiny fingers tightly gripped his sweater.
“She wasn’t letting go and neither was I,” he said.
Uli said Letisha was someone who wouldn’t back down from a challenge, loved outdoor activities, helped out wherever she could and was a role model to her younger brother and sister.
“There are special moments in our life that we will never forget and also never get a chance to do, but one thing’s for sure, Letisha. You impacted us and others in way you will never understand. You will always have a special place in my heart,” he said.
Letisha’s uncle, Garry Reimer, shared her life story, saying she was an active teen who loved hiking and going on hunting trips with her dad and who completed the Run for Water five years in a row.
In the past, she swam, dance and played rugby.
Garry also noted that she had a contagious laugh and a loud voice.
“There really never was a dull, quiet moment when she was around … She was goofy, funny, burped loudly every chance she got, danced like no one was watching and was just a very animated person in general.”
He said one of her highlights was being able to travel recently to Disneyland with her family, and she also had the opportunity to travel to Paraguay three years ago and meet many of her extended family members.
Mike Olynyk, youth pastor at South Abbotsford Church, said Letisha had a “vibrant faith” and played an active role in many of the youth groups at the church and on the youth leadership team.
She also travelled on two missions trips and had signed up to do another one next summer. He said she had an infectious laugh, a zest for life and a strong compassion for others.
“She lived life to the fullest,” he said.
Pastor Matt Ewert said describing Letisha without talking about her faith is “like talking about the ocean without mentioning water.”
He said there is sadness and many questions about the senselessness of Letisha’s death, but he said, “We believe she is living a life beyond what we could hope to imagine.”
“We may be crying, but she is laughing and singing and dancing,” he said.
(Photo below: The celebration of life included a slideshow of photos of Letisha Reimer.)