A funeral took place Wednesday for a mother and her child who were stabbed to death outside an Edmonton school.
Carolann Robillard, who was 35, and 11-year-old Sara Miller, who had recently started using the first name Jayden, were described as loving and joyful with huge hearts.
“Seeing them together was beautiful but it was really sad because they were both taken from me,” said Donna Robillard, Carolann’s mother. “It hurts so much.”
Carolann and her child were buried together in a single casket — a symbol of the bond they shared — something the priest noted was the first he’d ever seen.
The pair were killed in what police describe as a random attack outside Crawford Plains School on May 5.
Officers shot the 33-year-old man moments after the stabbing. He died in hospital five days later. Police said he was the sole person responsible for the deaths.
“I have to learn to live and go on in peace,” Donna said. “It’s going to be very hard … all the memories we had together. We have a strong family and try to stick together.”
The family is also being supported by the larger community, Donna said, who have created ribbon skirts and memorial pins, making food for the service, bringing flowers and supporting the GoFundMe.
“What happened to them… I can imagine it was a bad battle they went through and they didn’t deserve that, especially my little granddaughter… only 11… full of joy, loved her cousins, her aunties, Carol too.
“They were joyful and lovely,” Donna said. “My late mom taught me to stick together, love one another no matter what because you never know what’s going to happen.”
Amanda Robillard wore purple, her sister’s favourite colour. She also wore a sweatshirt with Carolann and Jayden’s picture on it.
“I loved her so much. She cared for her kids. She was a great mother. I’m going to miss her a lot,” Amanda said through tears.
Jayden had the biggest heart, she said.
“Such a big heart. She loved everyone. She loved her friends, her family. She lived life to the fullest. She was such a good kid.”
Some of Jayden’s classmates attended the funeral service, which included drummers and an elder smudging.
“It just goes to show how much people loved and cared for them,” Amanda said.
“They were beautiful people and lots of people cared and loved them. They’re really going to be missed.”
Carolann was going to school to be a teacher’s assistant. She was very involved in her Cree culture, loved attending powwows and round dances.
Jayden loved playing sports and wanted to become a professional basketball player in the NBA.
Carolann has two daughters who survived the attack.
Police said the man who killed Carolann and Jayden was known to them and had mental health issues and a record of assaulting children.
“This could have been prevented,” Amanda said. “Something needs to change with the justice system.
“He shouldn’t have been allowed out. They were taken from us and it tore our family apart.”