Abigayle Rachel Kempton was born on July 27th, 1994 in Cobourg.
The first 4 years of Abi’s life were filled with the love of her parents, younger brother Riley, grandparents, aunts and uncles. She and her immediate family lived in the basement apartment of a home shared by her grandparents and aunt. At age 3 she was the flower girl at her aunt’s wedding. She was blessed with an extended family who loved her dearly.
Abi loved to brush hair, dance to Barney, have stories read to her, play games, and especially loved to go to the Fall fairs together with her family.
Abi was a very happy child, chubby cheeked with a wonderful sense of humour. She was easy to get along with and seemed to have many friends throughout her short life. She would talk to and make friends with anybody.
She and her family moved out of her grandparents’ house when her dad built their dream home in the country. That’s when Abi and Riley attended the same school as their cousins, Trent and Drew. She enjoyed being in the same school as her cousins because she played with them on the playground everyday. She always acted like their big sister and looked out for them.
In grade 7, she started at a school where students from three feeder schools merge together to form a senior public school. That’s when her appearance and behaviour changed dramatically. Abi went from a happy child to someone who showed a lot of frustration and anger at home. Her family tried to understand what was making her so angry and sad when she came home but it was only after her death that it became clear that the hurt and anger was a result of social bullying from kids at this new school like the incident on the bus when she was told to get off early and walk because she needed to lose weight. She soon became depressed.
She started dressing in dark clothes, started listening to sad music and kept dying her hair black. She didn’t talk much about what was going on and her family was hoping it was just a phase like some teenagers go through. She seemed so unhappy at school and at home.
On August 9, 2008, at the tender age of fourteen, our beloved Abi decided to take her life. She couldn’t handle the emotional pain she was going through anymore. Our community, her friends but especially her family, have all suffered immensely by Abi’s death and we continue to every day.
We all need to think about how we treat each other. We all need to be nice to each other; say nice things; don’t judge people because of their appearance or how they talk; include others at your lunch table; talk to someone who seems alone; make the new kid at school feel welcome; don’t spread gossip, start rumours or text about people. Start realizing how great it feels in your heart when you treat someone with kindness and compassion. The way we treat each other can make a difference in the direction our lives take.
Abi was no different than other teenagers. She was very tender hearted. She had a unique personality that was a treasure to those who knew her. She was fun loving, outgoing, sensitive and caring, but very independent and strong in many ways. She simply wanted to be loved and accepted by everyone, not just her family.
Her personality changed but through all the hurt she still took her schooling and grades very seriously. She graduated grade 8 on the honour roll and was very proud of her academic achievements.
Abi was artistic and enjoyed drawing and writing, horse back riding, gardening, gymnastics and she especially loved animals. Animation was her specialty and she had talked about becoming an animator one day. Those who knew of this talent, have seen the little green gecko she created and used as her cartoon trademark. We now use it as our symbol against bullying.
Abi never put limits on herself and wanted everyone to know that there is an enduring worth to every positive step taken. Good decisions will come back with blessings one day. She was always ready to put others before herself and to challenge others to live that kind of life. She had so much to give to life and talked excitedly about the future. Her vision, her intelligence, her determination, her sensitivity, her talent, her aspiration to help others —these are all rare attributes that undoubtedly would have led to great things had Abi chosen instead that fateful afternoon to talk to someone.
Grief was not all we were left with. There were questions about how such a kind and wonderful girl whose family loved her dearly, could feel so hopeless in her pain. Why couldn’t we help her?
Abi was, in her short life, able to impact the lives of many people—virtually all of whom considered her a friend and her death a great personal loss. In her absence, we are left to carry on her spirit.
By sharing Abi’s story we are hoping it will save someone else from the same fate Abi suffered. The consequences to bullying are real. It’s not just physical, it’s psychological and verbal, it’s intimidation, social exclusion, gossip spreading, and name-calling. To many it might only be a simple comment, but to another person it might be the final straw. You never know how someone will react to the way you treat them.
Abi, you are in our hearts always and will never be forgotten.
Remember me, now I’m gone,
from the cruel world I knew.
A world that left me all alone,
confused and hurting too.
My wish to all, be kind,
please do that everyday.
And always keep in mind,
gestures go a long way.
I was a sister, daughter,
grandaughter, cousin, niece.
Yet that was not enough,
to keep my soul at peace.
My final words from me,
sought kindness from my peers.
But that was held from me,
and all I found was tears.
Consider how you’d feel,
standing in my shoes.
People are so fragile,
too important to lose.
Now looking from above,
I’m an angel in a cloud;
All I wanted was love,
acceptance from the crowd.