Obituary of Haylie Lynn Bro
It is with our greatest sorrows that we announce the loss of Haylie Lynn Bro. After a courageous 13-month battle with brain stem cancer. She passed peacefully in the early hours of Friday, June 24, 2022 at 17 years old in the arms of her mother and father.
Haylie was a bright light in the world. Possessing a beautiful soul with the biggest heart. She had a sparkling smile and infectious laugh that brought everyone joy around her. Her deep love for all people and animals was unparalleled.
Haylie is survived by her father Trevor; mother Danita; grandparents Kris, Peggy, Dennis and Carol; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins; her dog show family; and all her friends, who she loved dearly. She was predeceased by her grandmother Debralee Bro; and grandfather Dieter Kauf.
It takes only a minute to say Hello, but it will take me forever to say Good-bye. How lucky am I that you are making it so hard to let you go?
A life well lived is a precious gift,
of hope and strength and grace,
from someone who has made our world
a brighter, better place.
It’s filled with moments, sweet and sad
with smiles and sometimes tears,
with friendships formed and good times shared,
and laughter through the years.
A life well lived is a legacy,
of joy and pride and pleasure,
a living, lasting memory
our grateful heart’s will treasure.
Your life was a blessing
Your memory a treasure
You are loved beyond words,
and missed beyond measure.
Speech by Tianna and Lynn
Haylie wasn’t the type to like the spotlight. Did she claim it sometimes? Sure, but it was often not her choosing. These circumstances certainly were not. We want to honour Haylie in a way that we think would suit the situation best and hope that you will oblige us as we read a letter written to Haylie. From all of us.
Hi Haylie. It’s us.
Well, here we are and not a clue what to say. So, in typical us fashion we will wing it and beg for forgiveness later. After all, it has gotten us this far. We are standing here today with a ginormous room of your family and friends, figuring out how it is even remotely possible to say goodbye to you. Someone once told us that we don’t meet people by chance, and rather we meet them because our
paths were meant to cross for a reason. Sometimes that reason makes itself known immediately, and other times, it takes a while for that reason to show itself. For example, I knew I met your mom that day because Rush had an upset stomach and she had the Imodium. As fate would have it, our crossing paths would end up growing into so much more. I know Lynn’s path, while not involving Imodium, turned into something she never expected as well. I inserted myself into Haylie’s world at a dog show of all places. I thought to myself, “Hey this kid is cute, the one with the Boston’s can show dogs, she’s a natural talent and I wonder if she can show anything other than a Boston? I was instantly trapped after having some Junior Ring Practice at a local show and well, I had no way out after that. You suckered me good H. There was something about you that drew us into you, that wanted to get to know you better, that wanted us to be there for you and support you to grow. You made it easy for all of us as you were so much a willing participant. Your Mom often says, “We may have raised her, but she has a village that supports her.” You crossed paths with a lot of people, Haylie, and left a small piece of yourself with each of us.
So, I guess we start at the beginning. Your Dad met your Mom and well….., things happened… birds and bees and such…. I’m sure you remember that conversation with you parents, but, seventeen years ago, enter the curls and the big soulful eyes. Anyone who has ever seen a photo of you and your parents can see the love shared between you all even when words weren’t spoken. You were daddy’s little girl from day one, and you and your mom shared a beautiful relationship that many only dream of. Their little girl, the one that was too perfect for words, with the blonde curls, smile for the ages, cute button nose, beautiful eye lashes and those eyes. Oh, those eyes.
We are here today to call you out; those eyes are how you tricked people. Even people like us who don’t really like kids….it worked. Haylie smiled through her eyes, even though her real smile melted hearts and lit up the darkest of rooms. We can still see the look, whether she was trying to get out of trouble, or into trouble. It was really the same eyes, with a pinch of sass and a whole lot of sparkle. What we wouldn’t give to see that smile, those sparkling eyes and to hear that sass again. Four grandparents stood by and no doubt smiled as they watched their own children have one of their own. Each and every one held you in their arms - watched you take your first steps, picked you up and dusted you off when you fell and no doubt smirked at the sass that came out of you because they all knew who was responsible for it being passed down to you.
Haylie, you gave someone such a wonderful gift in your passing, and that was the gift of sight. The idea that someone else gets to see the world through your eyes now is something greater than a miracle. We hope that they get to see things in the beautiful way that you did. A way that we should all look at the world. Absolutely selfless.
So, your Mom and Dad are here too. We are remembering all of the stories of learning to change the oil in the truck with Dad, pictures of you in the floor at the house in Halbrite fixing stuff with Dad. You know getting dirty, doing stuff with Dad and the countless “Dad said this, and Dad is getting that and no MOM it’s a Dad thing.” Dad, Dad, Dad. Boy, did you make Mom quiver when the great political debates started. Every year, Dad lifting you up to put the star on the tree. Haylie don’t worry we won’t volunteer to be your stand in, but we will help him lift you up in memory. One conversation I had with Haylie was all about how Dad wants a hunting dog. So, what did Haylie do? Enter Mac…a reindeer hunting dog. Well Trev, you got a hunting dog, just not necessarily the one you bargained for or knew you wanted or maybe even needed. Trevor, be proud of the very short time you had with her. You taught her so much and she loved you and you her. She was truly a Daddy’s girl. Haylie, I hate to tell you this but you are your mother’s daughter. Right down to the sass, attitude and wild child curls. Often times I wondered if you were out to break her, but once you stubborn Gilmour Bro Girls cooled off it was back to being “truly” best friends. It was something absolutely beautiful to watch. The end of the day debriefs that you two had with one another, even when you were out and on the road at dog shows with other people or away with friends. That time spent sharing your lives with one another will always be something that your mom holds close to her heart. As your family hopes to hear your footsteps come through the door, we all hope to ease that feeling for them and help them remember what it sounded like, the laughs, the tears and the teenage drama as we raise you up in our memories.
Haylie you and Mom shared big dreams in Dan Bros and the Boston Terrier breed. Your mom told us just the other day about the long hours that you two spent talking about pedigrees, planning breedings, helping make them happen, whelping litters and raising and training dogs together. The time that you two spent holding puppies and talking about all things breeding, showing and dogs as a whole means the world to her and no doubt you too. And then there’s you and your Friday dog. You made mom (little did you know she did it willingly) but we will go with you made Mom sit a year out so you could show your little Wednesday, I mean Friday dog and special her. Not once was mom in the ring with her. The wins were strictly owner handled and it was one of your proudest accomplishments. Never ever have we met a person that loves dogs so much and had each and every one love her back. It wasn’t just that connection with the dogs that caught our attention, but it was that kid who was initially shy and reserved, but blossomed when an opportunity to show a dog was given to you. Let’s be honest though, once we got to know you, shy and reserved were not words we used to describe you. You always wanted to learn and those bright eyes and devious smile made many of us hand our dog’s leads over to you without a second thought, even if it meant an adult standing at each corner of the ring in case the Dane took you for an unexpected adventure. Lynn still holds her breath at the thought of this, but it’s ok. We can laugh at it now. Haylie, we could tell how special each and every step into that ring with the dog on your lead was to you. You walked in with your head held high, that smile on your face and you’d meet the judge’s gaze before floating around the ring. I later learned that your technique for doing that was called the Trina Trot, named after Trina Neil, and I will forever keep that phrase in my head when I see someone run similarly. That Trina Trot did not come easily and Lynn can attest to that. Do you remember those days with your junior’s mentor, Lynn? With a dog in one hand and a full glass of water in the other, you took laps around the ring to practice running smoothly and disappearing behind the dog. When you felt you had enough, some of that Haylie sass escaped your mouth and Lynn sent you on a few more trips around the ring to drive home a point. The effort paid off, kiddo. You were poetry in motion in the ring with many a dog.
Mom and you made so many memories at the dog shows and with your littleBoston Terriers. You showed a ton of dogs in your short handling career, and you made each of them shine. Nothing caused as much anxiety (in a good way) as when you headed off for Junior Nationals. With baited breath, we watched the live stream and never were so many people so proud to have your represent Saskatchewan. Haylie…you set the bar high, and that’s ok. We promise you that when your mom is ready, we’ll support her when she ventures back into the ring and cheer for her from the sidelines as loud as she always did for you. Maybe we can even mortify or embarrass her on your behalf? After all, she did put a picture of your cute little baby butt cheeks in the slide show.
Do we need to pause for a make-up check? Did everyone wear waterproof mascara? Do we need a Kleenex break? Did anyone bring those soft lotion ones? Lynn and I actually googled where snot comes from a few weeks ago. Haylie would have known. Ok, carrying on.
Hey Haylie, remember that one time you were scared out of your pants because you played, Miss Hannigan in Annie and you even had a solo? I do. It was great. Or when you were in the Beauty and the Beast musical, and since neither you or Tianna were morning people, you both woke up to an alarm of show tunes at a dog show and sung along to ‘practice’ for your upcoming performance. Haylie, some of the fondest memories we have heard from your family are the times they saw you in theater performances, volleyball games, dance (where you were the cutest little bunny), making celery relish with Gramma Peanut and making sure she made enough for you for a whole year and finding the perfect shoes with sunflowers on them. You know, the ones that you picked out with genuine tears in your eyes because you loved them so much and they’d be easy to take off and on. Your mom is wearing them for you today.
Should we tell everyone about the time that your mom tried to kill you going down the Lumsden hill on the way to an appointment in Saskatoon? The time when the brakes went out on the truck? And then as if that wasn’t bad enough, the engine was a write off too? Well, panic mode in full effect, and problem solving mode activated. Thanks to Cameco and an opportunity to have a wish granted, and some quick writing on your part, you selflessly asked for them to fix your family’s truck. You didn’t ask for a vacation or something for yourself. No, you did what you always do and thought of others. Never have we all been so proud as the time you just wanted to do your part to make life a bit easier on your parents and well, Cameco came through in a big way with a brand new safe vehicle. Haylie, you continue to humble us daily. Even in your last days, you took the time to plan out your own wishes and discuss them with your parents so that they would know what you hoped for. You even went as far as making the play list that accompanies the slide show that is playing. You were seventeen. Not only should you not ever have to think about making a play list like that, you did it to make life a little bit easier on your family.
Next on the Haylie call out list is food. Haylie, where in the hell did you put it all? You weren’t exactly set up to win in the height category, but to this day, we’re all still convinced that your legs had to be hollow. Never ever have we seen a child/young woman pack away the perogies, or chicken nuggets like you could, H. The talent you possessed when it came to perogies or nuggets was second to none. I always knew that when you were over to cook the whole bag of perogies and well, all of those ordered nuggets weren’t necessarily for Fox at the dog show (as you crammed just one more in). “I need it for bait,” basically meant that Haylie was hungry and if it wasn’t nailed down, it was going to go missing. Not only could you eat, man could you cook. We’re pretty sure that you took great joy in sending us photos of all the “food porn” that you cooked and that you didn’t invite us over to eat. Maybe that was karma for us teasing you about perogies and ‘nuggies’, but it always made us smile to see what you created in the kitchen. Bonus points for Harry Potter inspired recipes. That’s a whole other topic that we can’t get into, more or less, because Lynn doesn’t understand the beauty of Dumbledork and the power of the spell Wingardium Mimosa. Also, your mom found the sourskittles that you hid in your trail mix bag yesterday. Did you hear her reaction? At least it wasn’t a vomit flavoured jelly-bean this time.
On the topic of food, let’s talk about your friends. You had a real smorgasbord of friends. Have we gotten to the picture in the slide show yet of you and your friend with the potatoes? If not, stay tuned. Your social circle meant a lot to you and during your treatments, it was your little bit of normal. I still question one of your vlog’s that detailed some of your adventures with your friends. You know, the one that ended up with the acquisition of a bible and a shake weight through ongoing trades with other friends. Then, there’s the girls’ nights that ended up louder than expected. The ones that left your mom sending us messages telling us that she clearly wasn’t going to sleep that night, but that she loved the sounds of the laughter. That laugh you had was everything. It came right from the tips of your toes. Pure joy. Speaking of acquiring things with your friends, this is probably where we should mention the traffic cone. No, not the short ones you see in a Rally-O ring, but rather a Haylie-sized traffic cone that came accompanied with you looking both quite proud of yourself as you dragged it through the front door, and quite innocent when your parents asked what you were doing with said Haylie-sized traffic cone.
On the topic of trouble, we loved hearing about your adventures on the road with Connie and Trina. The proof of life photos and your distaste for all things poodle. We have proof that your hands were on many and with great success. You got to pack up, leave your parents at home and head out into the wild blue yonder with two of your favourite people. Early morning wake-ups? Check. Dog bathing and grooming? Check. The opportunity to handle dogs and learn from two people who adored you? Double check. Even when you were with other people at dog shows, if we couldn’t find you, we always knew where to start looking - in the trailer asleep with Ally the griffon. Heck, even when we went to a dog show together, we went to Boston Pizza and you unscrewed the salt shaker lid and then set it on top so that it would spill salt everywhere for the next person who used it. I kiboshed that idea and got ‘the scrunched-up nose look’ from you. You know the one. Then came the sass… “Connie would have thought it was hilarious.” You win, Connie. Even a few months ago you talked about working hard on your physio so that you could head back out on the road with them this summer. You learned so much from them, met so many people that grew to be part of your village, and thanks isn’t enough to them for the opportunity that they provided to you. We have no doubts that they would have welcomed you with open arms… everyone would have. I remember you telling me Haylie, that being at the Neil/Krohn household during radiation made it feel sort of normal and a lot less painful. If you couldn’t be home, you were happy to be there helping Nellie cook and her bacon…man did we hear about the best bacon ever. Cuddling with Noka and Sunny while you recouped from your day you told me truly made a difference in how it went. Feeling safe, and a piece of home meant the world to you, for that we are so very grateful.
School….we don’t get it…. most teenagers find a way not do, go, or take part in school in anyway. Once again, H, you broke the mold. Time with family, dog shows and school – any one of those three and you were in your happy place. You were never so happy as when you could have “Sunday Supper and game night”. Never so happy as when you were “on the road” with Mom, but life was so exponentially better on the road with Connie and Trina or out with Fox and Tianna. But then there was school again. The statement “biology is my jam, Lynn” came out of your mouth and instantly I’m confused… Who says that? This kid and her advanced calculus, “for fun”. Art and photography. You did it all. “I’m going to be a vet, going to be a scientist researcher something Canine-ologist.” We could hardly keep up. And let’s be fair, your mom was rooting loudly in the corner for you to become a repro vet so she could get the mom discount. A lot of people in the dog show world were probably doing the same. Science truly made you happy. You did well in school, and remained with an over 80 average even during radiation and chemo, when many of us would have asked our parents to stay home and not go. But Science and Maths were your thing and well let’s just say we weren’t helping with any homework at any point. Oh wait, Tianna went to WalMart in Lethbridge for a pencil sharpener for you once during a dog-show weekend. Check mark - we helped with homework. Go us.
Does it rain where you are? At the first sign of a good storm, regardless if it was hot or cold, day or night, you and your mom used to run outside and dance in the rain. Your dad thought you were crazy, and so did the neighbours. Rightfully so. Your mom still goes outside when it rains and sits and talks to you. She even cries if she needs to. Next time, give her a hug. We promise you she’ll feel it.
You’re bold, kid. Through the last year you turned to YouTube as an outlet andshared your rawest emotions and experiences with the world. You talked about your hopes, your fears, your wants and your desires. You went one step bigger and recorded a final video with directions left for your mom to post. That vlog left all of us in tears, but you said so much that we needed to hear. You told us to wear the pink if we wanted to, do what made us *bleeping* happy and to go and make memories. You told us that you had so much left to do, and we promise that we’ll make those things happen.
You were everything that was right in this world, H. You were so perfect and brought so much good into everyone’s lives that you didn’t get to stay as long as we all hoped for. Like we said at the beginning, sometimes we meet people because our paths were meant to cross. You left a small piece of yourself with each of us, and along with that, a gentle reminder to live life to the fullest, push to achieve all of our goals, find the beauty in the small things, laugh until you want to throw up, think of others before we think about ourselves, be a little bit more like you and most importantly “do what makes you happy.”
Finally, because we’re nearly out of Kleenex and there’s so much snot, Haylie, your leaving us so soon has left a huge hole. One that none of us know how we could possibly even start to fill, but know that we will all take care of each other for you, and we’ll keep an extra close eye on your parents. We’ll walk them home, so to speak, because we know that’s what you’d want us to do for them, just like they did for you this past year. We won’t say good bye and rather we’ll say, until we meet again. We love you, kiddo and thanks for inviting us to your final party.