I remember when I first met Chevy. It was my first Sunday at The Dale when I came as an intern in summer 2018. I had never experienced a church service like The Dale, and it really was something unique and special. Worship began with Erinn playing the piano and singing, a row of musicians in the front playing guitars, and the congregation holding their song books to sing- that is when I noticed Chevy. I will never forget seeing Chevy, with her little dog Jacob on her lap, singing and waving the dog’s arms in the air. I thought to myself, I have never seen a dog worship at a Sunday service, but that’s when I really took in how inclusive The Dale is- that even dog’s can praise the Lord in church.
When I tried to meet Jacob I quickly learned that he does not take to new people very well. Well actually I learned that really he only trusted Chevy, no one else. She was his world and I really don’t think I ever witnessed one without the other. I loved how sometimes he would have his own chair at drop-in or a space on the pew. Chevy loved Jacob so much and I’m grateful for how he was there for her until her passing late last night.
My friendship with Chevy grew a lot during the beginning of Covid-19 when The Dale came up with a Phone Connection Train, to take turns calling people in the neighbourhood to check in. I’ve had chats with Chevy in person previously, but on the phone I felt like we got to know each other individually. When I called, Chevy would tell me about some of her adventures that day, mostly about a show/movie she was watching or about the squirrels in her garden. She opened up to me more about her health conditions and asked me about my life. Sometimes Jacob would join the call barking and Chevy would laugh and translate what he was saying.
One special moment with Chevy that comes to mind was one of the times I delivered her groceries on my own. At the time I was new to driving in the city and kind of did a few loops around the neighbourhood finding my way there. It looked like it was going to rain so I was trying to hurry. When I finally arrived at her place I couldn’t reach her on the phone to ask her to come outside. Then I looked up and just down the street I saw her walking her dog. She was surprised to see me and checked out the groceries I bought her, always looking for doritos or skittles- her favourite. We ended up walking on the sidewalk for a while together. Even though it started to rain, she asked me to sit with her on some steps outside her place to chat. Though it was raining and my car was parked in a temporary parking space, I couldn’t turn down the invitation to hang out. Now that Chevy is gone, I am very grateful for that time together. I don’t remember all of what we talked about but I remember laughing and Chevy pretending Jacob was talking to me while he gave me an unwelcoming side eye the whole time.
Some words that come to mind when I think of Chevy are generous, sassy, funny, and strong. From all the stories I have heard from her and others, I’ve learned that Chevy battled a lot of difficult things in her life. Regardless, when I would see her she was always laughing and exuding joy amidst many trials. And that joy would spread to others with her very contagious laugh. Most visits ended with gifts from Chevy for us or to be passed on to a friend. Not too long ago, Erinn came back with a rather large Halloween decoration for me that feels extra special now as it sits in my house.
Erinn, Joanna, and Meagan had a deep friendship with Chevy that goes on many years before I came. They have endless fun stories that I love to hear and they remind me of the real honour it was to know Chevy and be a part of the Dale family with them. Chevy will be so missed by us and her community. We love you Chevy.