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The end : Charlene Reaveley | 1980-2011

With her, random acts of kindness could happen anywhere, any time


 
The end : Charlene Reaveley | 1980-2011

Illustration by Jack Dylan

Charlene Reaveley was born on April 4, 1980, in Dundee, Scotland. Her father, Colin, was thinking of moving the family to New Zealand, but instead opted for Gosport, on the south coast of England, where he got a job with the Ministry of Defence as a hydraulics technician on war ships. Charlene and her mother, Mary, stayed at home.

In 1986, the family made the trip to Vancouver for Expo. “When we got there,” says Colin, “I decided B.C. was going to be our home.” They settled in Canada one year later, and Charlene fit right in at Chalmers Elementary School in North Delta. “She loved sports, playing softball and ringette,” says Colin. “She was a great team player. She just liked being a member of a team, no matter what goal she scored.” Char, as she was known, went on to Pinetree Secondary School after the family moved to Coquitlam. But after her parents divorced, she had a rough time at school. “She went through a rebellious period of a couple of years,” says her father. “I found out that she was out having fun instead of being in class.”

When Char was 17, she met a young man named Dan Reaveley at a house party. “There was this amazing energy about her,” recalls Dan of the girl with the beaming smile. They began dating, and moved into a basement apartment. Within two years, Char was pregnant. Dan jumped into a job in construction, and Char became a baker at a grocery store. In 2000, Kaeden, their first child, was born. Char went on maternity leave, and never looked back: being a mother became her full-time job. “Kaeden changed everything for her,” says Kim Debenedictis, a friend. “Char said to me, if it wasn’t for Danny, or Kaeden, she never knew what she would be, who she would be.” Three more blond and blue-eyed babies followed: Rebecca, Alicia, and Tristan.

In 2004, the year they married, Dan and Charlene bought a house in Port Coquitlam, which friends described as “full of life” and “organized chaos.” At the centre of the home was a big pile of clean, unfolded laundry. “The laundry was non-stop,” says Kim. “Char used to walk around singing ‘the never-ending laundry’ to the tune of The Neverending Story.” Someone asked her recently why she didn’t enlist more help from her brood, and, Kim says, Char replied, “My kids are kids. There will be plenty of time when they are adults to do dishes and laundry.”

Just as Charlene fiercely protected their childhood, she also had a habit of showering them with affection. “There wasn’t a day that went by when she didn’t tell them how beautiful they were, that she loved them,” says Kim. That love extended to other children. Giacomo Debenedictis, Kim’s husband, says, “Whenever she saw a child, she would sit there and play with them. Children were her thing.” Once, on vacation in Mexico with Dan, the pair got into an argument. To clear his head, Dan walked to the other end of the beach. Charlene tried another tactic. “As I walked back,” Dan recalls, “I saw her. She had grabbed a bunch of kids, and they were playing volleyball on the beach.”

At home, Charlene would leave the door open, inviting neighbourhood kids to play in the backyard, or stay for dinner. She’d even muse that if she won the lottery, she’d spend the money on an orphanage in Haiti, and adopt more children. “After four babies, she’d say her boobs were nothing, a set of pancakes,” says Kim. “She’d joke about getting a boob job. But she said she thought about it, and if it costs $5,000 to get a boob job, and $7,000 to adopt a child from Haiti, she’d adopt a child.”
Random acts of kindness could happen anywhere with Char. “She was always very generous,” says Giacomo. “When we were younger, we would go downtown, and if she saw somebody that was struggling, a homeless person, she would stop, and take them to buy food.” Then she’d sit there and talk, learn about the person’s life. “She wanted to give them a little bit of hope.”

On Feb. 19, Dan, Charlene, Giacomo and Kim were on their way home from dinner after midnight. They saw a car accident and stopped to help. “We told Charlene to stay in the car,” says Giacomo. “But good old Char said, ‘I’m coming out to help.’ ” As they stood by the side of the highway, another car slid into them, and killed Charlene. She was 30.


 
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The end : Charlene Reaveley | 1980-2011

  1. Lovely tribute, folks….but going forward would you consider changing the title of this section, perhaps? People's legacies and effects on the hearts and minds of those around them often continue on well after their brief time here on earth…as I'm sure will be the case with this young gal, Charlene. I think 'In Memory'…is a bit more open minded and sensitive….other than that, thanks again.
    Joe C

  2. Lovely tribute, folks….but going forward would you consider changing the title of this section, perhaps? People's legacies and effects on the hearts and minds of those around them often continue on well after their brief time here on earth…as I'm sure will be the case with this young gal, Charlene. I think 'In Memory'…is a bit more open minded and sensitive….other than that, thanks again.
    Joe C

  3. I do not like the title at all. How can you call it the end? she lives on through her children and in the hearts and memories of people who knew her. She was such a warm, loving lady. Everytime i saw her she was smiling and didnt complain much about anything. we will all meet again someday so really Char never left!! she's still her but in spirit! I will never forget you XO

  4. I do not like the title at all. How can you call it the end? she lives on through her children and in the hearts and memories of people who knew her. She was such a warm, loving lady. Everytime i saw her she was smiling and didnt complain much about anything. we will all meet again someday so really Char never left!! she's still her but in spirit! I will never forget you XO

  5. I do not like the title at all. How can you call it the end? she lives on through her children and in the hearts and memories of people who knew her. She was such a warm, loving lady. Everytime i saw her she was smiling and didnt complain much about anything. we will all meet again someday so really Char never left!! she's still here but in spirit! I will never forget you XO

  6. I do not like the title at all. How can you call it the end? she lives on through her children and in the hearts and memories of people who knew her. She was such a warm, loving lady. Everytime i saw her she was smiling and didnt complain much about anything. we will all meet again someday so really Char never left!! she's still here but in spirit! I will never forget you XO

  7. Correct me if I'm wrong but "The End" is a category of Macleans.

  8. Correct me if I'm wrong but "The End" is a category of Macleans.

    • Thats right. Its category name not specific to charlene. Look thru archives
      And some others also start with “the end”
      Regardless I sent a suggestion
      to editor to consider changing it to something
      more sensitive ie what’s wrong with traditional
      “in memory”? So all of you may wish to do similar.

  9. Thats right. Its category name not specific to charlene. Look thru archives

    And some others also start with “the end”

    Regardless I sent a suggestion

    to editor to consider changing it to something

    more sensitive ie what’s wrong with traditional

    “in memory”? So all of you may wish to do similar.

  10. This is just heart breaking to read about this amazing lady and how much love she had in her heart for her husband, children and it would seem even total strangers which is why she is no longer with us. My heart breaks for her husband as he tries to put the pieces of his life together and try to raise these four babies without a Mother. Strangers have offered financial support as a small gesture to this family as they try to get through these tough days ahead. However it should not end there now we need to pull together and make sure that selfish people that drink and drive will face tougher penalties as a result of their actions. This man has lost his world because another man was too selfish to call a taxi or take a bus. He should never be permitted to drive again and he should be made serve a life sentence as that is what he has inflicted on this family. Rest in peace sweet angel!

  11. This is just heart breaking to read about this amazing lady and how much love she had in her heart for her husband, children and it would seem even total strangers which is why she is no longer with us. My heart breaks for her husband as he tries to put the pieces of his life together and try to raise these four babies without a Mother. Strangers have offered financial support as a small gesture to this family as they try to get through these tough days ahead. However it should not end there now we need to pull together and make sure that selfish people that drink and drive will face tougher penalties as a result of their actions. This man has lost his world because another man was too selfish to call a taxi or take a bus. He should never be permitted to drive again and he should be made serve a life sentence as that is what he has inflicted on this family. Rest in peace sweet angel!

  12. I dont think the title has anything to do with the story. What matters here is that her story and life is remembered as pure and wholesome. She was and still is a huge part of life and her

    random acts of kindness will be forever remembered. She was my best friend my concience and my teacher. Forever in my heart. You will live on forever…. I love you xox. …..

  13. I dont think the title has anything to do with the story. What matters here is that her story and life is remembered as pure and wholesome. She was and still is a huge part of life and her
    random acts of kindness will be forever remembered. She was my best friend my concience and my teacher. Forever in my heart. You will live on forever…. I love you xox. …..

  14. below here are some eye opening articles/commentaries/ideas I wanted to share…maybe 'tis something we all need to pursue with the momentum gathered, as a final tribute to Charlene (and Lorraine) and their friends and family for such unneeded suffering.____ http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/02/22/br…. ___ <a href="http:// _http://openparliament.ca/bills/38-1/C-275/” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://_http://openparliament.ca/bills/38-1/C-275/” target=”_blank”>_http://openparliament.ca/bills/38-1/C-275/ ____
    ..and an excerpt below from a CTV news story done just after this tragedy occured: __…."The grief expressed by those who knew the women is a pain known all too well by the family of Carly Regan in Abbotsford. __Her family has tirelessly pushed for tougher penalties since the 13-year-old was struck and killed in 2003. __Today, the federal government said they're ready to revisit Carley's law. __"We are always looking at ways to strengthen the law and ways to hold people who commit heinous crimes accountable for their actions," Cdn Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. __The news comes as a sigh of relief to Carley's father, Barry Regan. __"Deep down, I've never given up hope. I've always hoped that somebody __would take it from where we left off. Now maybe when he's going to look at it maybe things are gonna change." "

  15. below here are some eye opening articles/commentaries/ideas I wanted to share…maybe 'tis something we all need to pursue with the momentum gathered, as a final tribute to Charlene (and Lorraine) and their friends and family for such unneeded suffering.____ http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/02/22/br…. ___ _http://openparliament.ca/bills/38-1/C-275/ ____
    ..and an excerpt below from a CTV news story done just after this tragedy occured: __…."The grief expressed by those who knew the women is a pain known all too well by the family of Carly Regan in Abbotsford. __Her family has tirelessly pushed for tougher penalties since the 13-year-old was struck and killed in 2003. __Today, the federal government said they're ready to revisit Carley's law. __"We are always looking at ways to strengthen the law and ways to hold people who commit heinous crimes accountable for their actions," Cdn Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. __The news comes as a sigh of relief to Carley's father, Barry Regan. __"Deep down, I've never given up hope. I've always hoped that somebody __would take it from where we left off. Now maybe when he's going to look at it maybe things are gonna change." "

  16. the 2nd link notes why various members of parliament supported (or didn't) the original bill aka 'carly regan's law' bill#..C-275

  17. For all of you that think the tittle should be changed, no it shouldn’t be. What Macleans does to remember these people young or old is special, remembering what these people acieved is just amazing. The title has been the same forever and the reason I think it’s called “the end” is because it’s the very last page in the magazine and it wraps up that issue and also connects Canadians to our fellow amazing Canadians. May all the people who ever gotten a “The End” written about them rest in peace and also all the unsung Canadian Heros rest in peace. <3

  18. I feel very bad about this tragedy. Charlene seems like she was a wonderful woman, and this accident is extremely horrifying. I wish you all the very best, and R.I.P Charlene. You deserve the best.

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