Sitting in the sun in his home he reflected on his daughter, speaking mostly about the gifts she gave him, her mother Mona, her brother Yves, her companion, Shane Pastershank and many others.
Chrystal Gayle Rivet, 30, passed away early last Thursday morning after her car was struck in a three-car collision, on Wednesday night. The driver of the car who struck her is currently facing seven charges, including impaired driving.
Chrystal was a woman who loved her family and friends.
Mona and Chrystal were extremely close.
“They weren’t just mom and daughter they were girlfriends, they were confidents, they were mentors to each other … they would sit there and put tunes on and get a bottle of wine and sing and dance … just the two of them together,” he said.
She was very passionate about the children she worked with at Children’s Choice Child Development Centre.
“The amount of time and effort that she put into it … It was a passion. It really, really, really was,” Claude said.
She always had a new project or idea she was working on for the kids, or even embroiled her father in the project by asking him to make gadgets for the kids to play with, Claude recalled.
Chrystal was also a woman who was embarking on a new stage in life, with a new home she had yet to make her first payment on and a barely-bulging belly holding four months of pregnancy.
“She always loved babies. It’s kind of ironic that she was four months pregnant with her first one,” Claude said.
The Rivet family has been fielding two or three hundred condolence calls a day, Claude said.
“She knew so many people … and she affected those people, because the response has been just so overwhelming … I’ve had people phone and say ‘Mr. Rivet’, and start crying and hang up,” Claude said.
Calls have come in from New York, messages from Mexico, New Zealand and the Philippines.
Mourners have come from thousands of kilometres away for the service.
“I have people coming in from New York. I have a personal friend of mine flying in … from Sweden … people from all across Canada are coming. I got people from B.C., people from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, people coming in from Ontario,” Claude said.
“To me what it goes to show is how many people she affected,” he said.
On Monday morning Claude and his wife Mona were greeted with a surprise.
Mickey MacGillivray, the director of Children’s Choice and a longtime friend of Chrystal, spoke with Claude.
The annual Children’s Choice Art Gala has changed its name.
“Mickey told me that they are gonna change the name of the fund to a memorial for Chrystal,” he said.
The Chrystal Rivet Memorial Framed Talent Art Gala will be held on March 8.
“Chrystal had great passion. Great passion for those kids. We miss her around here,” MacGillivray said.
Chrystal and MacGillivray have worked together at Children’s Choice for eight years. For the last three MacGillivray has been Chrystal’s director.
“It’s just been amazing watching her. I didn’t ever have to worry about what Chrystal was doing. She just did her thing,” she said.
Chrystal’s child-like attitude made her perfect for her work.
“I think deep down when you work with children, you have to almost be a child, you know and Chrystal was a child at heart and she loved exploring. There was always some kind of an experiment in Chrystal’s room, oh yeah,” MacGillivray said with a laugh.
“Lots of people are scared to make a mess and Chrystal was never scared to make a mess. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter what’s gonna explode or corrupt, but it I didn’t matter to Chrystal, it was never the mess it was always the process that was important to her,” she said.
“There was always a kid on her knee or in her arms -- no matter the age,” MacGillivray said.
For MacGillivray the loss goes beyond the workplace.
“Three people text me on my phone. My daughter, my wife, my son. So the texts are gonna be a little fewer than before.” - Claude Rivet
“We did so much together out of work … we became such good friends that it’s a double whammy,” MacGillivray said.
Chrystal was a busy woman. She had also been waiting tables at Ricky’s since 2011.
“The customers just love her,” said Carla VanDamme, a co-worker at Ricky’s.
“You could just talk to her about anything … (she was) really comforting and caring,” said Ashley Stich, another waiter.
VanDamme said she was an amazing, positive and hard-working person.
“She’s gone but she’ll never be forgotten, not just here but with everyone,” said Carla VanDamme.
Claude made a point of saying who would carry his daughter home.
“Const. Troy Dumont, he’s the one who came home and woke me up … She got cremated and we asked Troy and he said it would be an honour and he said he’ll be at the funeral and he’s gonna bring my daughter back home,” Claude said.
“She’s gonna be a big, big, big, big miss here. But I can still hear her. You know, she in her kindness … her rule was you have to go out of your way to be nice and kind.”
“She’s gonna be my new angel … to keep us all on the straight and the narrow. To be kind … to go out of our way to be nice to people and smile … she always smiled, always joyful,” he said.
“This one taught me a lot about girls but she taught me a lot about life too … she taught us so much that that is really what is going to keep us going.”
“Three people text me on my phone. My daughter, my wife, my son. So the texts are gonna be a little fewer than before.”
Father Maurice Fiolleau will be officiating Chrystal Rivet’s service at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at the Sacred Heart Cathedral.