It is with sadness and a heavy heart we announce the untimely passing of Agnes Helen Chayer (Nagy). Agnes left us peacefully, surrounded by her family, on April 7, 2021 at the age of 81 after a lengthy hard fought battle with cancer. She sadly leaves behind her cherished and loving husband of 61 years Pierre Henri Chayer, her dearest daughter Lorraine (Brian Farrell) and loving son Robert (Marie-Chantale Poitras). Sadly, Agnes had to say goodbye to her cherished son Marc (Suzanne Arcangeli) and beautiful daughter Carol-Lynn (Guillaume Hervé) well before their time. Agnes is survived by her sister Mary Brandt and her six beautiful grandchildren; Matthew (Kaitlyn), Nicolas, Emily(Jeremy), Alexandre (Ivona), Sophia and Sebastian, and great grandchild (Abby).
Throughout our mother’s illness and the significant challenges brought her way, she always prioritized taking care of herself so she could be there for her family. Looking back, we are only beginning to understand just how much she had to overcome to be the mother she was to us.
We were lucky enough to have her in our life for over 81 years, and we are grateful for every one of those moments. She was a passionate, strong and strong minded person. She was an active person always wanting to keep her body moving and staying in shape. She took up skiing later in life only quitting a few years ago. Agnes was an avid reader which lead her to go back to school, once her children where grown, to study library sciences. She was a volunteer librarian, after retiring, until her last days. To her grandchildren she was the beloved grandma with the magical book bag. Always loving, authentic, honest, trustworthy, accepting, patient, active, generous, brave and open to learning new things. Her braveness and strength in the end was truly remarkable.
The strength she has shown us will guide us all on our paths forward. We love you to the moon and back, we will miss you dearly.
There will be a small memorial at Voluntas on Thursday April 15, 2021 by invitation only.
Robert and Lorraine’s Eulogy
When we think of our parents we think of them as a constant, always being there. The years go by, they get older but in our eyes they are the same, we still forever their child. Then one day you are faced with reality and the unthinkable happens. Why are we always so stunned. In mom’s case, with her cancer, you would have thought we would have been more prepared for the news. Maybe it was her brave face and constant optimism. That smile of hers that always seems to light up a room and display the pure joy she showed in seeing you again. My father was always our rock, our pillar of strength, but we must admit that in our adulthood we’ve come to realize that our sweet petite mama also possessed an extraordinary amont of strength. When she returned to school after we left home. Re-entered the work force in her fifties. Well maybe that was to get away from our dad now that he was retired. When she was faced with the death of not only one but two of her children. And finally when her cancer spread and the outcome was bleak. The bravest decision of all, to not prolong her fight and let the disease take it’s course. In the end her concerns were for her family. We had to promise to take care of ourselves and our children, but most especially take care of dad.
Today, as we say our final goodbyes, we think of mom and who she was for us. The most loving and caring mother any child could dream of. Her patience and energy were boundless. Raising four children was not an easy task. In those lean years our parents had to be frugal and creative. Who can forget the half powder, half real milk mixture. The Kraft dinner with only half the cheese packet used. Yet, we never went without or felt deprived. Her amazing sewing and knitting skills, were the envy of some of our young friends. That was until we hit high school and those home made jeans with the fancy embroidery really weren’t cool any more. We all remember those first real jeans they bought us and how we insisted on wearing them everyday, never wanting to wash them. We four children were all different. This was never a challenge for her. She made each of us feel special and important. Always supporting our choices and needs.
She was a strong and strong minded person. Always wanting to stay informed and learn new things. She was an avid reader, and shared this love of reading with her family. Bringing books home for dad to read (whether he was willing or not). Sharing the magic of reading with her grandchildren. Researching health, dietary and exercising tips for family. Keeping up with the current technology: computers, iPhones, iPads , Facebook. We all know mom liked to move. Not a day went by that she didn’t stretch or exercise. Keeping those joints limber and muscles moving was like breathing to her. So much in fact, that she made us hold her by her hospital bedside in her last days so she could stretch and bend her failing body.
As amazing as mom seems to us all, She did have her quirky ways. She didn’t like cold things. How many people do you know like to microwave their bowl of cereal or glass of wine. Her need to mix things. You could never just open a tin of soup. You had to mix it with her homemade broth and a couple of teaspoons of last night’s leftover sauce, and some left over vegetables. She would never just have a glass of water, but would add some lemon or ginger or orange juice and of course microwave it too, so it’s not too cold. How many wardrobe changes do you have in a day? Mom could have twelve. Her body temperature seemed to vary so much in a day. From shorts to pants to fleeces, to tank tops and back to sweaters.
To all who knew and loved her. She was always loving, honest, authentic, trustworthy, patient, genuine, strong and brave. She has left her mark on all of us. We all carry a piece of her in our heart’s. Her husband, children, son in-laws, daughter in-laws, grandchildren, family, friends.
Goodbye sweet mama, our hearts breaks. That you are with Marc and Carol now gives us some comfort. Till we meet again. Love you forever.
Take care and stay safe, all of you,
Robert and Lorraine
Good morning everyone
I wasn’t sure how to start with this eulogy for Agnes…or mom, as I called her. I called her mom because she, and Pierre (dad) and Carol-Lynn, Robert, Lorri and Marc have always been like a second family to me. I have known them for almost forty years.
I knew I had lots to say, but I didn’t know where to start. I needed to be inspired but my heart had been quite heavy these past few days. Finally, Tuesday, I was cleaning up and noticed that I hadn’t touched the Saturday Gazette. Most of it was old news, so I flipped through it rather quickly until I got to the Saturday comics. There – at the Saturday Comics – I took my time. And then and there, the inspirations came. So I would like to share with you how I will remember Agnes. Through the traits and things, she did, that were most endearing to me.
Let’s get back to the comics…Yes, The comics.
Mom used to talk to Carol-Lynn about the latest from her favourite Saturday comics. For Better or For Worse and sometimes Zits. When she really liked one, she would cut it out and keep it in an envelope until she could show you them. Then came The Baby Blues; how she loved the weekly tribulations of Zoe, Hammie and Wren. She was so happy. But the best comic series came last. Agnes! That cute little girl, sometimes mischievous and always curious. // She probably saw herself in many of these.
You see, Agnes had such wonderful sense of humour. How she would laugh with you at a funny situation and share a good comic. It was her way of staying young at heart. Something that I do as well.
Which brings me to a second great characteristic of Agnes.
Agnes, mom, belle-maman, grandma…. Was curious.
Her curiosity always fascinated me. If she wasn’t satisfied with an explanation on why the computer did this, or why that recipe was so, or some assembly instructions that did not make sense, she would tap you on the hand and say, ‘’ok, start over, and explain it to me again.” She wanted to know. She was inquisitive This was also true of learning new games…. She loved playing games with the family.
Which brings up traits #3 and #4. #3, her love of games. Any games. Card games, Scrabble, a good puzzle, hide and seek with a newborn, Pictionary (boy did we laugh at Pictionary – I still challenge some of those drawings) … which brings up #4…. Competitive… how to say this diplomatically? Mom was very …good loser challenged. She was so competitive, which made her so fun to play against and tease.
After a few games, or after clean-up following a great dinner, she loved to go for a walk. At #5 are the walks. I have walked many, many miles with her over the years. Sometimes all of us as a gang, or just the 2 of us. Winter-Spring-Summer or Fall. I will miss those walks….
And missing walks bring me to #6….how I will miss those hugs. Mom hugged a great hug. Probably a valedictorian from the Uncle Bob school of hugging; mom could not wait to give you a hug as you walked in the house. I could have 2 suitcases and 2 toddlers in tow, and she would be there at the front door, as if ambushing you, for that hug. And it was always worth it.
She was a role model. That is #7. You wouldn’t think of her as a role model, but the number of times, we could hear someone say,
• I hope that I am as active and fit as mom, when I am her age
• I hope that I am as current on events as mom, when I am her age
• I hope that I am as young at heart as mom, when I am her age
• I hope that I can still be as fashion conscience as mom, when I am her age. Carol-Lynn would often say, my mom is more in fashion than me.
• I hope that I can s till be as tech savvy as mom, when I am her age…. she knew more about computers than many 20 years younger // Tablets, Smartphones, Facebook….she was curious after all.
At #8… Her love of books. My first exposure to Mom’s love of books was how she would very carefully curate children’s books for Nicolas and Alexandre from their youngest age. She would not choose these books randomly. Rather, she could tell you why she picked each one. As the kids, grew, the books changed, but were always there. Comforting. It was her way of being there with the kids, even from a distance. // Of course, she also had a list of books Carol-Lynn would like, books I would like, book list for dad. Imagine her courage, when she decided to go back to school to get her librarian degree. She was so happy working with books, surrounded by book lovers.
Her love of books came only second to her love of Christmas. At #9, Christmas. Christmas could not come early enough. Christmas tree, Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, Christmas cookies, baking, and that Christmas music. She’d play it 24/7 if she could.
I would like to conclude with #10. Pride
Mom was immensely proud of her children. Of course, right? But Agnes was also proud of her children’s spouses, of her grand-children and, her great-grand daughter. Picture frames all over the house. Her smartphone full of digital photos. Her computer as well. When we would speak, she would show interest in my work, hobbies, interests and be proud of what I was doing. But not only that, I would hear how Jeremy just graduated from this program, or Emily just did a great craft or baking or was acing her studies, or how Matthew was into investing or doing great at his job and being promoted, and Marie was getting more responsibilities at Shell and was a great cook, and Brian picked up kayaking, was great at sailing or did an awesome reno, and how Suzanne was doing great things for the Palliative Care center and enjoying her regular phone calls. How she was proud of Nicolas for doing well as his job and being so family oriented and of Alexandre for working so hard at his school; and how Ivona was so nice to have around and loved those movies she was working on. Let’s not forget how she would be so proud of how great Sophia was doing at dancing and school and how Sebastian was loving hockey and a lot of fun to be around. And even little Abby, I would hear how she was so smart and aware at such a young age and how Kaite was a natural at motherhood and so wonderful with her great grand-daughter. Pride. Pride In all of us. I will remember that.
I know how hard it is to let her go. // Believe me, I know. Agnes, Mom, Belle-maman, Grandma leaves a vast void. But it is by remembering her that you honor all of what she meant for you. So,
When you read a comic,
have a good laugh,
play a game,
getting a hug,
are reading a good book,
putting up Christmas decorations or humming a Christmas carol
look at someone with pride …
you will remember her and fill that void that mom has left behind.
As for me, Mom, I walk every day, so if you need someone to walk with, just join me. I’ll look for your shadow.
We already miss you greatly…and we send you our biggest hugs