This week you will not be hearing from me the Lazy Girl! I get so many questions about my Bronco Sisters and have given them the opportunity to write a post. I will feature an article once a month on a different sister if they decide to write one! Please enjoy this beautiful story written by a beautiful girl.
Hi everybody! I’m so happy to be back on A Lazy Girl’s Guide to Survival, and I just wanted to thank Mckailyn for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and share a bit of my story. You may have seen me before in a video a while ago where I asked McKailyn a few questions about Logan.
As some of you may know, my late boyfriend’s name is Jacob Leicht. He was a left wing that very proudly played for the Humboldt Broncos during his SJHL rookie year, which was the 2017/18 season. He wore number 11, which has been his hockey number since he was a kid. He was killed on April 6, 2018, due to injuries sustained in crash. Jacob was one of the boys who was pronounced dead on the scene, which brings me a bit of peace because I know that he didn’t suffer. But before I get more into Jacob (because believe me, I could go on forever), allow me to share a bit about myself.
My full name is Kayleigh Marie Feschuk, and I’m eighteen years old. I was born in Calgary, and spent most of my young life here. When I was eleven, my parents, siblings, and I moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. I lived there until late August of 2018 and then moved back to my home city to continue my schooling. I’m currently attending the University of Calgary with aspirations to obtain a degree in business with a minor in psychology.
I have a few different hobbies. I was a competitive soccer player right up until the end of grade 12 (and miss it terribly!). I love skiing, and was probably on skis before I could walk properly thanks to my ex-ski racer momma. I absolutely love writing, whether that be stories, poetry, or songs. I play guitar and sing a little bit too, which is a huge stress reliever for me. My other hobbies include procrastinating, watching true crime documentaries, and occasionally annoying my wonderful roommate Eliza or sister Emily, depending on where I’m living.
I’ve done some traveling recently as well. In late March of 2018, I joined the Prince Albert Youth Travel Club on a 18 day trip to visit Vietnam and Thailand. I was sold on the trip once I found out that our tour group would be visiting a Thai elephant sanctuary. I saved up my money for a little under two years so I could afford to go. I embarked on this adventure with a few of my very best friends, along with about 80 other kids. This trip contained some of the best moments of my life, until it contained the very worst news I more than likely will ever receive.
What I’ve chosen to write about today is how I found out that the love of my life, Jacob, passed away. It’s a question I’m frequently asked, and I figured that it’s a chance to help overcome some of the heaviness I hold in my heart about this day. So, here goes.
On April 6th in Canada, it was April 7th for me in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This day was a very important one from the moment I woke up. It was my best friend Eden Harriman’s 18th birthday, along with the day that our group would be visiting the elephant sanctuary. I woke up, and just like I did every day, I texted Jacob. I told him good morning, that I love him, and that I was thinking about him. Jake and I continued texting and snapchatting all the way up until I had to leave at about 7:00 AM my time, which was about 5:00 PM Jacob’s time. I still remember the very last snapchat he ever sent me. It was a picture of him frowning while sitting on the bus on the way to Nipawin for one of the last playoff games in his season. The caption said something about how he hated his green playoff hair and how he couldn’t wait to dye it back. I sent back, “Hush, you’re perfect”, and then hopped on the bus to go on our tour. I had no idea that Jacob would never read that message. We must’ve been talking to one another minutes before he died.
My morning at the elephant sanctuary was nothing short of magical. It was surreal to watch these massive, beautiful creatures roam the same ground I was standing on. I have videos of me running around the park, screaming about how my life was officially complete. We fed them, played with them, and eventually bathed the elephants in a small pond. It was at this point that I noticed some of my advisors beginning to act strangely. I was being told to be at the forefront of pictures and smile lots, which I just assumed was because everyone knew I was mainly on this trip for the sake of seeing the elephants.
After bathing the elephants, it was time for lunch. I noticed that a few of my advisors, Jamie and Donna, were watching me eat. I now realize they probably did this to make sure I had something in my stomach. When they pulled me aside I was freaked out, mainly because I assumed I was in trouble or something. They also pulled away my best friend Eden and this other girl that went to my high school. After being seperated from the rest of the group, my advisor said, “There has been an accident back at home”. For some reason, I immediately just assumed that a teacher from my high school had gotten into a car accident, as they only pulled away us three girls that attended the same school. My advisor took a deep breath, looked right at me and said, “The Humboldt Broncos bus-”. I didn’t hear anything else because I fell to my knees and began screaming. I didn’t even know how bad it was yet. I was scared that he was hurt or scared, and I needed to be home with him.
At this point, I lose all concept of time. Donna eventually got on the phone with somebody from Saskatchewan to get more answers, but nobody knew anything for certain yet. I sat on the ground with Eden crying and dry heaving. It was the most scared I’ve ever been in my life. My advisor Jamie told me to try to relax, because Jacob might be perfectly fine for all we know. I remember saying back, “Jamie, he’s not very big. If he’s hurt, he’s hurt bad.” After what felt like an eternity of screaming for somebody to call my family, I eventually took it upon myself to phone my dad from the international phone line Donna had. My dad didn’t pick up, because he and the rest of my family were on a flight back from Mexico at the time. Sometimes people talk about “knowing” or having a “gut feeling” at some point when awaiting bad news like this, and I think this was the point where my gut feeling started telling me something was terribly wrong.
After unsuccessfully being able to reach my dad, I decided to call Jacob’s mom Celeste. When she picked up the phone, I frantically asked her where Jacob was and if he was okay. Celeste was very quiet on the phone, and didn’t say anything for a second until she said, “Kayleigh? Are you with somebody?” I said yes, and could feel my stomach sink to my feet. I’ll never forget the next words that she said: “I’m so sorry sweetheart, but I don’t think he’s alive.”
I stuttered for a minute, told her I was so sorry, and that I’m coming home now. The phone fell from my hands, and then I began trying to wake myself up. I was determined that this had to be the worst nightmare of my life. There was no way he was gone. I began getting aggressive with my attempts to wake myself up, and a different advisor gave me a tranquilizer pill called Ativan so I wouldn’t get hurt. After that, there was nothing anybody could do. Eden and I just walked around this elephant park and I told her I couldn’t wait to wake up. She said that I hoped I would wake up too.
At some point, my parents called me. My dad wanted to make sure I knew what happened, and was crying on the phone. I was in shock at this point so I don’t remember everything he said. My mom told me she wished she could suck all the pain out of my body and take it for herself, and I just remember saying, “I know mom. But I have to do this one on my own.”
After many hours, it was time for me to hop on a plane and make an emergency flight back home. Due to my mental state, my advisor Jamie Zurakowski went home with me. I don’t know where I would be without her, and I owe her absolutely everything for taking on such a taxing role. I said goodbye to my friends and hopped in a cab to the Chiang Mai airport. The flight was about 36 hours total including layovers, including a 12 hour layover in Shanghai, China.
For the whole flight home, I was wearing the anniversary present I had bought for Jacob the night before the elephant park. It was a silver chain with a cross on it. In the Chiang Mai airport, I told Jamie that I wanted to find a ring with Jacob’s birthstone, an amethyst. I wanted to wear it on my ring finger as a tribute to him, as Jacob and I fully intended and planned to marry when we were older. The ring was too big to fit my finger, so I wore it on my chain until I got back to Saskatchewan. I still wear the ring every single day, and I gave Jacob his chain when I viewed his body on April 9th: Our anniversary.
I arrived back home at the Saskatoon airport on April 8th. I was scared to see my family, because in my head, that’s when everything would begin. In a sense, it is when everything began. That being said, there isn’t a single second I would take back of loving or losing Jacob. Every ounce of heartache is nothing compared to all the love he gave and continues to give me, just in different ways now.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for your ongoing support. It means more to me than I could ever express.
Until next time,