With unspeakable sadness and hearts full of love, the family shares the passing of Jennifer (Jenn) Evers, on the evening of September 20, 2021. Jenn took her last breath as her mom was kissing her goodnight. We were blessed to not only welcome Jenn into the world, but to also walk alongside her as far as we could.
Jenn was born at the Selkirk General Hospital, on March 8, 1975, on a cold and sunny day. She was the third of three daughters born to Tannis and Garry Evers. Jenn was welcomed by big sisters, Lisa and Allison. Lisa was like a second mom to Jenn, and Allison was her first friend and antagonist. The family spent many happy years on Louise Bay in Selkirk, before moving to Kelowna, and then returning to live on the other side of Louise Bay.
As a child, Jenn loved to play outside with the neighbourhood kids and was continually frustrated with Allison, who always wanted to stay inside and read. She hated her ballet costumes and Brownie uniforms, leotards, and black patent shoes. She was creative, artistic, and imaginative. Unlike the rest of her family, Jenn loved to play sports. One of her greatest joys was going on “little adventures” with her big sister Lisa.
Jenn’s mom refers to her as “unique,” and that she was. She was also feisty, funny, and didn’t hesitate to tell us what was on her mind.
Jenn had a natural and intuitive way of relating to people, and with her innate empathy and kindness, she put people at ease. Jenn excelled as a health care aide at the Betel Home and then as a Home Care worker. She loved many of her clients and they loved her in return. Jenn went above and beyond for those in her care, providing compassionate and gentle companionship.
Jenn had a deep love of nature, a passion for gardening, and an affinity for animals and birds. It was in the natural world that she felt most at home. Jenn found peace and comfort in a quiet life. She loved nothing more than working in the sun and putting her hands in the earth, with her pets by her side.
Perhaps Jenn’s greatest gift to us came by way of her greatest burden: her mental health. Jenn’s mental health struggles were apparent at a young age, and in adulthood, she suffered greatly. Through her challenges, Jenn taught us patience and kindness, and how to recognize and sit with people in distress. We will always remember and miss Jenn’s sensitive soul.
Over the past several years, Jenn’s physical health began to suffer. Despite her relentless pursuit of a diagnosis, doctor after doctor dismissed her concerns, almost certainly due to her mental health history. We were devastated in July 2020 to finally learn of her incurable stomach cancer diagnosis. Jenn bravely accepted treatment and attended many difficult appointments and scans. Over the past year, we have spent many sad times grieving Jenn’s difficult past and the things she will miss out on in the future.
The family is grateful to Dr. Therese Racette, one of Jenn’s first doctors and earliest advocates. We are also grateful to Dr. Phoebe Theissen, who has provided thoughtful and compassionate care to Jenn and our family over the past several months. Finally, we would like to thank the staff at Cancer Care in Selkirk, and the staff on the Medicine 2 ward at the Selkirk Regional Health Centre, for their kindness and care.
Jenn was preceded in death by her beloved grandmother Sigrun (Cissy) Jardine, friend Norma Gowen, and her pets, Cady, Cole, and Jenna.
Missing her companionship and love are her heartbroken parents, Garry and Tannis Evers; her sister Lisa Evers, brother-in-law Stan Warsza, and nephew Nicholas Warsza; her sister Allison Evers; and her special friend of many decades, Chris Stefaniuk. Jenn’s dad will especially miss their morning coffee chats, and Chris will miss their wildlife-watching adventures in the Selkirk Park.
As a family, we are determined to raise awareness about the gaps in the medical system that plague people with mental illness. In honour of Jenn, we ask you to pay close attention to the people in your life, and offer empathy and support where needed. Medical professionals, educators, family, and friends alike need to learn how to listen to and truly hear people with mental illness. The following quote, attributed to Brene Brown, resonated with Jenn: “In order to empathize with someone’s experience, you must be willing to believe them as they see it, and not how you imagine their experience to be.”
We will say farewell to our beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, at a private family service.
We love you, Jenn. We are so thankful for your presence in our lives and we will forever miss you. We won’t hesitate to speak your name, and the stories we tell about you will soothe our broken hearts. We are sorry for the times and ways in which we failed you. Our greatest hope is that you are now at peace, and that we will be reunited one day.
We’d like to share the Irish Blessing which Jenn loved and which, like Jenn, has a deep connection to nature.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
In light of Jenn’s interests and challenges, and in lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations to:
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
My Gut Feeling - Stomach Cancer Foundation of Canada
Klinic Community Health
Condolences may be left on her tribute wall at www.gilbartfuneralhome.com
Gilbart Funeral Home, Selkirk in care of arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jennifer Evers, please visit our floral store.