A small crowd gathered in front of a Queen’s residence building on Saturday afternoon for a short ceremony celebrating the life of Kamilla Lebel-Farrell.
Lebel-Farrell passed suddenly in June at the age of 19.
The tree planting was coordinated by Queen’s staff and loved ones of Lebel-Farrell, and was planted across from the Gord Downie Pier in clear view of sunset.
Although she only spent a short time in Kingston, it was clear how significant and lasting an impact Lebel-Farrell-who friends and family called Kami-had on those around her.
Kindra MacKenzie, a Queen’s student and friend of Kami’s, said that she was the best person she ever met, and that she speaks for many when she says many lives have been improved by having Kami be a part of them.
“She always made sure to show kindness to the people she met and never let anyone feel left out,” MacKenzie said.
“She’d have your back no matter what and made sure to show you how much she loved you.”
The tree that will now mark the memory of Kami is a Serviceberry, chosen by Kami’s moms Brigitte and Jen with some input from close friends.
MacKenzie says the Serviceberry tree was ultimately chosen because of it’s bright colours in fall.
“The colours reminded us of sunsets when we picked it out, which was one of Kami’s favourite things in the world,” MacKenzie said.
“We also picked the Serviceberry because we thought it was sweet that because it grows berries that birds love, there’s always ones that hang around the tree and we thought Kami would love to have birds singing all the time and hanging out with her.”
Former Queen’s chaplain Brian Yealland stepped in to speak at the ceremony as Queen’s is in the process of filling their vacant chaplain role at the school.
Yealland remarked on the crowd support and said the love and pain felt for Kami was abundantly clear.
He said he hopes and thinks that those that loved her have been inspired by Lebel-Farrell and will want to honour her memory.
“That’s always kind of the sense that I have, people will do something with their lives that’s good and want to honour her memory,” Yealland said.
“There can be good that comes out of it, but just a horrible loss.”