Obituary for Paisley Leask
Paisley Scott Leask was born January 29, 2008 to extremely proud parents Mac and Cindy Leask and an anxiously awaiting big sister Macy. Macy’s love for Paisley was evident from the start. Even though Macy was hesitant to share the love and affection from Mac and Cindy, her fear didn’t last long as they had more than enough love to go around.
In 2009 the Leask family was complete with the arrival of daughter #3 and this might be safe to assume this is Mac Jr started losing his hair. With Sage’s arrival what I will call the Leask trio was formed. To the visible eye the love that these 3 sisters have shared though the years is something that they will forever cherish. They played, laughed, and truly loved each other just as sisters should. Ultimately they were inseparable.
Paisley’s early years already started to show signs of her love for animals. All animals really, but in particular horses. Even before she could walk she wanted to be on the back of a horse. She would sit in front of the saddle with her dad and when her turn was over she would kick her legs and arms wide open waiting for someone to put her back. She was persistent enough that hitching a ride on a stranger’s horse seemed like an option, particularly if they rode a black horse.
Butterflies found a special place in Paisleys life, so much so that one afternoon while in the truck with Grandma Jackie delivering salt to the cows she proceeded to holler “watch out”. Grandma Jackie unsure of what was going on stopped the truck and all Paisley has to say was “You just about hit a butterfly”.
The trio of girls spent countless hours collecting worms and frogs in Tupperware containers often leaving them to sun bathe on the deck all day while they were gone at school. At this point Cindy had to implement a catch and release program.
Paisley had a personality that was undeniable. She was able to make friends everywhere she went: at school, the auction mart, a local rodeo, or at the roping arena. It didn’t matter it just happened; kids and animals alike were drawn to her.
She loved to sing whether it be with her family at church or on her and Macy’s very own rendition of Fellers Heights Got Talent. Macy was the MC and Paisley was the performer as she belted out the lyrics to her favorite song “head over boot” into her cat tail microphone. Grandpa Mac proudly watching as the captive audience. They made even the chore of fencing fun.
She was a little prankster. She loved to hide and try and spook you. This may have started for her after a visit from the boogie man behind the bathroom wall one day. She was very crafty in not letting you spook her back. She was very aware of her surrounding so that she had the upper hand in the scaring department. Mac was able to finally get her back this past month but that didn’t sit well with Paisley as she was quite upset that she let her guard down.
Her love for nature inspired her to become an avid rock and stone collector. There wasn’t a driveway that was left unturned as her piercing blue eyes would gaze at the ground looking for that perfect stone. Ziploc baggies, pocket and handfuls of rocks made their way all over the house: the washer, the dryer, and even into her pillow case.
Not many people are fortunate enough to be born and raised into a lifestyle that has chosen them. Paisley was one of these lucky little cowgirls. Paisley did not choose this way of life it truly chose her. The one constant in her life was her true passion for the ranching lifestyle. A passion that was handed down and made earlier generations beam with pride and so very grateful that this was also her calling. Paisley wasn’t afraid of getting to work and getting her hands dirty. She loved being on the branding crew or spending a night at the arena with many friends and family.
Paisley was a home body. She never wanted to wander far from her roots. Even with Uncle Marty’s coaching and Grandpa Mac’s participation her short career at baseball didn’t last. She was always worried that any activity that didn’t happen at home on the ranch would be time away from her riding her beloved horse. Her only exception to this rule would be spending time on her other family farm. She carried her inquisitive nature across the border and never stopped asking questions about how their family operation ran. She wanted to spend her time in the dairy barn helping with any chores that needed to be done. She was more than willing to help with milking the cows, opening gates, really anything that could make her feel included. Paisley loved spending time with Grandpa Lorrie on the tractor or swather and never tired of it. She was grateful for the opportunity to visit with her cousins at the family farm and always enjoyed a game of Pictionary that seemed to always incorporate a horse into every picture.
Grandma Jackie was one of the inspirations behind Paisley’s riding career. Jackie now had the task of every time she was going for a ride not only having 1 horse to saddle but now 4. The feeling riding with 3 granddaughters in tow made Jackie feel complete. Watching Paisley set off across the field doing what she loved in the same saddle that Jackie rode as a young girl was the true gift for any grandmother to see. Jackie was the one who made the time when everyone else seemed too busy to make sure Paisley’s horse was saddled. Paisley had no fear on horseback she would go through the bush and cross any creeks often encouraging Macy and Sage to follow.
Mac Sr spend countless hours in the shop over the past couple winters teaching not only Paisley but all the girls to rope. Cindy had come to realize she was destined to be surrounded by all things cowgirl. Cindy, not too sure about this so called cowgirl thing herself, always encouraged Paisley to follow her dreams. Cindy appreciated the time with her girls that riding brought to them. She saw the joy in Paisley and wanted to be a part of that, so she saddled up and rode with her girls.
Some of you may wonder the significance of this particular horse or even this arena. This arena holds many memories for family. Mac, a very proud dad, hauled Paisley and the girls in here all last winter and spent hours tracking the hot heels; teaching Paisley everything a young cowgirl needed to know when starting to rope off her horse. Which brings me to the horse. Let me introduce you to Wally. Wally is not just any horse, not even just Paisley’s horse, this horse was truly Paisley’s companion in life.
I’d like to share a story about Paisley and Wally that I had the pleasure of witnessing back in July. My family was over roping with the Leask family and I spent the whole evening not watching the roping activities but rather what was happening outside the arena: Paisley busily making an obstacle course for the old black mare. She used chairs, rails, a fire pit really anything she could find to build this course. As Paisley made her way over to the trusty twig she had her reins clipped to, something that to this day that I feel was extraordinary, happened. Wally so very carefully followed Paisley through her course and just as Paisley knew she would she lifted her old arthritic knees one by one and followed Paisley all around her newly designed course. This horse would literally do anything to be with her little cowgirl. This was a bond between a little girl and her horse like I have never seen before in my life and I am certain I will never see again.
Paisley could be outside even at 30 below spending time with Wally. Wally has seen many of Paisley’s rocks that she had gathered over the last few years as this horse was treated like more of a dog and joined Paisley on many adventures on foot. If you couldn’t find Paisley in the house it a pretty safe bet that Wally’s pasture should be the first place you look.
This past summer was full of so many memorable events that Paisley could have only dreamed of. She entered her very first rodeo barrel racing and even though she didn’t make the winning run the pride she felt about being a contestant was undeniable. She had her first experience at summer camp, she attended the Robertson/Leask Family reunion, she made a trip to the zoo, and she went on a family camping trip to Whitecourt where she made great memories fishing with her Uncle Jorgen. But possibly the highlight of her summer was her being selected to perform at the Dawson Creek Stampede with Niki Flundra. She beamed with happiness, her smile was ear to ear, this was every little cowgirl’s dream and it was a reality for her. She was in awe of riding with someone who loved horses as much as she did. She soaked up the experience and cherished every moment.
And of course we can’t forget that she and Macy made their first run at tracking a cow down the arena together out of the box this past summer. July 18, 2016 will be a day etched in Mac Jr’s mind forever. The rest of the Leask Ladies went out berry picking. Paisley in true cowgirl fashion stayed behind to help her dad shoe horses. Mac was hopeful that Paisley would follow in his foot steps and become a farrier but no such luck. Paisley’s mind was already set; she wanted to be a veterinarian. Paisley waited anxiously all day until her dad was done working. At around 5:00 that evening they saddled up Wally and Trigger and off they went. They left the yard with Paisley having one very specific goal in mind. She was bound and determined to see her dad’s special spot. They rode the unmarked trail not exchanging many words but just enjoying the bond between a father and daughter. When they finally arrived Paisley felt privileged to share this special spot with her dad. Something that no one else had has the chance to do just quite yet. As they made their way back home and into the yard Paisley carried her mischievous grin all over her face. Sharing with Grandma Jackie that “not even you Grandma know where this spot is”. This special spot will now be carrying much more meaning for all who loved this little cowgirl angel. This is the special spot where Paisley will find freedom, peace, all the animals and rocks any little girl could dream of, and of course all the beautiful butterflies she could imagine.