This Tribute was written by Dylan’s little sister, Storm Fontaine and read at the Celebration of Life at Assiniboine Park on July 20th, 2020.
Family and friends, we welcome you to Dylan’s Celebration of Life Ceremony.
My name is Storm Fontaine. For those of you who don’t know me. I am Dylan’s little sister. Anyone who grew up with my brothers would remember me as an incredibly quiet and shy child. I am sure it comes as a surprise that I am even in front of such a large crowd. Dylan always told me to not give a shit about what others would think. Dylan please don’t judge and critique my speech until after I finish this tribute to you.
In situations like this Dylan would respond with “I am so proud of you squirt.”
My family has given me the honor and the pressure to write this tribute to an amazing human being. It is hard to describe the positive impact Dylan has made on so many lives.
Here is a quote from one of the Characters from Final Fantasy 9. “Despair, to be forgotten is worse than death.”
Dylan, this quote reminded me of the journey that you went through, over this past decade. After years of feeling under-appreciated, scared, lost, and trying to find your way through life. You finally found your calling.
To tell you the truth, I don’t think, I have ever seen Dylan study and work so hard in my life. When he was in high school, he paid attention in class. But he never took notes or completed assignments. Dylan often found that doing the research on the topics worked far better for him. Dammit Dylan, we don’t know where you got that from. Mom, Troy, and I certainly didn’t get that gift.
You made everything look so easy. It wasn’t until you got to Red River College that I saw how dedicated and hardworking you were. Through long hours of cramming, studying at school and many sleepless nights finishing your assignments, you finally graduated College, with almost straight A’s, I might add.
We are so proud of you! Of course, just when you found your way and completed your co-op job at Hydro, you had another obstacle. Where are you going to find work? You certainly didn’t want to go back to the bank, especially when you worked so hard for 3 years in college. Well Lady luck must have smiled upon you, a professor at RRC asked if you wanted to work as a Teacher’s Aid for a semester. Dylan, I still remember the look on your face when you came home that day and told us the news that you had gotten the job.
Another fantastic opportunity flew into your hands, you were asked to sub in as a teacher for a semester. I remember how nervous you were, Mom and I had no doubt that you had the education and experience to be successful at this new challenge.
You were so involved in your students’ lives, even more so than some of the teachers. When you nurtured your students through their tough struggles they flourished. Unfortunately, after lady-luck has smiled upon you a dark cloud appeared.
Sometimes, when a dark cloud appears, occasionally sunlight will break through. But we were weren’t so lucky this time. I still remember the day you found out about your brain cancer. Dylan you always kept a strong face and an optimistic attitude. Even though the cancer had progressed you kept this hidden from us. I wish you would have leaned on us more, like how you would allow us to lean on you.
As we all know in life, there is a lot of uncertainty around death. But the thought of being forgotten is far worse. Dylan, you never forgot who we were, even when you couldn’t respond vocally anymore. You would use your left hand and responded to our queries with a thumbs up. All humans have a fear of being forgotten and under-appreciated. Dylan, as you can see all these people in the crowd here are here for you. There are many at home, who couldn’t come today, who loved you so much and appreciated everything you have done in your short but jawesome life.
When Dylan was little, he was the youngest grandchild and cousin on our maternal side of the family. Everyone called him the baby of the family. Dylan was so disgusted with that nickname. After waiting 7 years, 3 months, and 25 days (about 3 and a half weeks), Dylan’s wish came true, a little sister was born. He wanted a baby brother, but Dylan was so happy to have a sister. While Dylan was growing up, he always looked out for me, sometimes more often than most. he enjoyed playing with me, spending time with me as well as pranking and teasing me.
Some of his shenanigans included playing pranks on anyone and everyone surrounding him. Whenever Dylan returned from the toilet, he would wipe his wet hands on my neck and say, “Don’t you hate when you pee on your hand.”
Another prank he did often, and could be called his signature prank, was him pretending to pick fleas and ticks from our heads and lurking around behind us biting our heads, as if they were nectarines, with a mischievous look on his face. Dylan was obviously born to be a big brother and I am so proud that you were my big brother.
I remember hearing this story from Dylan. There was this one time that Daniel Shumsky and Dylan were together at a LAN party. Somehow Dylan managed to get a hold of Daniel’s debit card and decided to bite it. He must have bitten it hard because he left tooth marks on it. Anyway, the next time Daniel tried to use the debit card, it was declined, when the cashier took a closer look at the debit card and got this shocked look on her face when she saw the teeth marks on the card. Unfortunately, Daniel was the selected recipient to get his credit card chewed up by Dylan. When Daniel shared this story with Dylan, Dylan grinned at Daniel, with a toothy, mischievous grin.
When I was a child, we got our first cat named Muffin. Dylan and Muffin were playing together when Muffin bit Dylan. Dylan wanted to see what Muffin would do, so he bit Muffin in the ear. From that time forward, Muffin never bit Dylan again. Instead, Muffin decided to pick on Troy from that point until his passing back in 2010.
When I was a baby, Troy and Dylan looked almost identical and they were inseparable too. Since I couldn’t say their names, I used to call them both “TD.” I didn’t know who I called upon at times, but they would both come running to see me.
When Dylan was a child, he used to shoot hoops with our father in the church parking lot. I always came along, hoping they would let me join in. If I remember correctly, they were competitive, so much so that they wouldn’t pass the ball to me. So instead, out of boredom, I stood under the basketball hoop waiting patiently to catch the ball. I waited for what seemed like forever, since they both weren’t particularly good at shooting through the hoop. I used to taunt them, telling them to shoot, so I could steal the ball away from them. Eventually, Dylan finally shot a hoop, and not only did he score, but he hit me in the head with the ball as a bonus target. Meanwhile, I was crying after getting my poor head hit with a basketball. To tell you the truth, I really cannot remember after that moment. Later that evening, our parents went out shopping and brought me home a neon pink helmet with Barbie stickers on it. So, from that day onwards, I wore my helmet as a precaution in case Dylan shot another hoop.
When Dylan and I were children, we used to play with Barbies and Trolls. Dylan’s favorite Troll was the blue Troll, the blue Troll had neon blue hair. Dylan loved making that Troll create pranks and destruction amongst the land of Trolls and Barbies. Since we didn’t have a Barbie car, we instead made cars out of Kleenex boxes. Dylan would always crash the Troll’s car into the Barbie car. Since the Barbie didn’t have seat belts, they would fly out of the Kleenex box screaming. Leaving me and Dylan laughing our heads off and Mom and Troy would be downstairs wondering what on earth was going on.
Troy and Dylan were always highly active in the drama program at school. I would say my favorite play of their repertoire was the “Get Smart” one. My favorite part of that play was when Dylan came out of a locker with a huge, plastic sausage and hit Daniel Shumsky in the head and Daniel was knocked off his feet.
Before I was born, my Mom used to take Troy and Dylan to the drugstore near our house and buy them Archie Digests. Dylan would walk home with his nose buried in the book. My Mom would make sure that he got across the streets safely, but one day, he had his head down reading and he walked into a hydro pole and fell back onto the ground. He said to my Mom, “You know Mom when that happens in the cartoons it’s funny, but in real life, it hurts!
I remember in 2001, Dylan went to Ottawa on a student exchange trip. At the location they were staying they had a costume party. Dylan’s costume was the Mr. Listerine guy. Mom made his costume out of a blue recycling garbage bag and made a Lysol label out of paper. Just when we thought his costume was finished, we had forgot one important thing and that was to put a lid on it. Since I was the only one in the house that owned a lamp with a lampshade. Dylan asked to borrow the lampshade and knowing Dylan, even though he promised he would bring back the lampshade in one piece, it came home bent and distorted. Sadly, he never did replace that damn lampshade for me. I got sick the night of Halloween after trick or treating, while Dylan was gone. I was already missing my big brother, even so, I promised not to touch my Halloween candy till he came home. When he came home, I gave him a huge hug and he had gotten me a graduation owl beany baby, which in the end, I regifted to him as his graduation present from me.
One time when Dylan was on his way to Red River College when he was still a student, he was riding a very crowded transit bus and was standing. Unexpectedly, a woman tapped him on the shoulder, and handed him a pair of large women’s underwear, asking, “Are these yours?” Dylan responded with, “Why yes, they are!” and took them and put them in his backpack. It turned out the panties had been stuck to the back of his backpack and the woman had retrieved them from there. Dylan said that the woman couldn’t stop laughing and he couldn’t either. When he came home, we asked him, “How was your day?.” He shook his head and passed Mom the pair of women’s panties. So, Dylan explained the story to Mom and me. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much in my life.
One of my new friends came to the door one day to ask me to come out to play. Dylan didn’t know her name. So, he called up the stairs, “One of your friends is here to see you!” I asked, “Who is it?.” He responded with, “She’s short and pink.” From then onwards he continued to call her “Short and Pink” till she moved away.
Troy, Dylan, and I used to watch Pokémon when it first came out. There was an episode where Ash and his friends went to Mt. Moon. During that visit they met a menacing Clef airy, creating a rocket to fly to the moon. At one point in the episode, a big round balloon Pokémon with big blue eyes and was holding what we thought was a microphone, started to sing.
Everyone fell asleep except for the Clef airy. So, this Pokémon called “Jiggly Puff” showed a pouty, angry face and pulled his microphone apart making it look like a giant marker and drew on all the sleeping faces. Afterwards, Jiggly clobbered a whole group Clef airy with his skill called “pound.” That’s when Dylan decided that that would be his favorite Pokémon. Till this day, this Pokémon symbolizes Dylan.
Whenever, Dylan played Sonic and Tails with anyone, he would always ask them to be Tails. It started first with him playing against my Mom and continued until he included all his family members in this group. When we played with him, he would be like two screens ahead of us and would always be getting Tails killed. Then he would convince whoever was Tails to fight the boss for him, so that he saved his lives and we died repeatedly.
Dylan was not just a wonderful human being; he was a fantastic big brother. He brought so much love, caring and humor into our lives. We will miss him. Thank you all for coming out to celebrate Dylan’s life with us.