A Tribute to Ghislain Cayouette - Sister Jacqueline

The time of farewell is here, and we your friends, want you to know how much you meant to us, and we will miss you. As long as we live, you too shall live, for you will always be a part of us, Ghislain, we will remember you.

You had such a talent for friendship, evident with this gathering here today.

You enjoyed all the good things of life...you took nothing for granted. To love God with one's whole heart, means to wholeheartedly say 'yes' to life and death, embracing all that comes with it. This is an accurate description of Ghislain. He said a wholehearted 'yes' to life by giving himself to loving parents, family and friends... so much in abundance so soon, so short... October 8, 1981 - July 11, 1996.

Ghislain loved people, loved life with an enthusiasm that goes with youth. In spite of his terrible pain, he managed to keep a smile and interest in others..; always asking "How are you?" ...to children, parents, doctors, nurses, receptionist and volunteers.
Ghislain at the hospitalGhislain knew, and wanted to know about his illness and how serious it really was. On May 21, 1996 Ghislain gave a powerful presentation on "I Have Cancer" to his whole school... this made him even stronger. An example of his fight for life was evident as he compared his disease to a roller coaster. I quote Ghislain:

"I compare my disease to a roller coaster with its ups and downs except that you are alone. Yes, there are people who support you, but you're alone in your roller coaster. A real roller coaster stops after two minutes; mine doesn't stop, you can't get off, sometimes it's dark, so dark it's frightening. Sometimes it's full of curves that just keep on coming, and at other times, it's easier to take. I've seen some lucky ones whose roller coasters stopped and they got off - they're cured. I've also seen some who are so fed up, they jump off. I also see roller coasters that keep on climbing to heaven."

In this, Ghislain received immense support from his friends and this encouraged him.

On May 27th a courageous request was made by this 14 year old... as he approached me in the clinic, "Sister Jacqueline, would you talk at church when I die? I have already talked about this to my parents." Ghislain so sensitive respected my silence... I pulled over a chair to be at eye level, I clasped his hands in mine... "Ghislain, you are so brave and have such trust... do you think I know you well enough?" As only Ghislain could, with his finger he removed a tear from my cheek and said "I know you love me enough". This boy taught me a lesson.

I believe that cancer forced Ghislain to turn his attention to combatting this dreaded disease in himself and in all he encountered on his journey, reaching out in hope and courage to those around him. For those of us who jouneyed close beside him, especially his loving, caring and dedicated parents Lucie and Michel and his special brother, Paul-André, Ghislain was an inspiration and a model.

All the children I've met and walked with over the years in the Oncology Clinic have made a difference in my life with their determination, courage, bravery, sense of humor, and childlike faith... Ghislain was one of these children that touched a place within my heart. Ghislain, you were an extraordinary boy, we will never forget you and we look forward to joining you one day. Ghislain, so precious, our guiding light, we miss you - we love you.

Sister Jacqueline, Volunteer at CHEO

July 16, 1996