Funeral held for 3 Alberta sisters smothered by canola seed

A funeral service was held Friday in central Alberta for three young sisters smothered under a load of canola seed on an Alberta farm last week.

'Why? Why? Why? How is it possible that they could be suddenly swept away from us?' pastor asks

Three Alberta sisters laid to rest

7 years ago
Duration 2:45
Highlights of the funeral for Catie, Dara and Jana Bott who died in a farming accident last week.

Catie was growing taller these last few months, proud to be catching up to her older cousins.

She was half-an-inch shy of the next cousin in line when she died.

Jana was the quiet one, the peacemaker, the cake baker.

Dara loved cats. Her recent favourite was Clancy, an orange tabby with six toes.

On Friday, in a massive church in Red Deer, five cousins of the Bott sisters took the stage in front of a huge congregation. They shared stories about three farm girls who rode horses and quads and loved animals, and worshipped Jesus Christ with a faith as solid as a sun-baked country road.

Cousins of the Bott sisters took the stage in church to share their memories with the huge congregation. (CBC)
One by one, the cousins stood before the microphone and recounted stories that would likely have seemed familiar in farmyards and small towns across the country.

About laughing girls splashing through mud puddles on quads, or riding horses behind cattle herds.

About girls who liked to snuggle with bunnies, or their cousins, and girls who collected stuffed cats, and real ones as well.

About Catie, who was proud to finally be a teenager and was, they said, growing into a fine young woman.

About Jana, the painter in the family, who loved sunsets best. About how she had recently sewn her own nightgown, out of purple cloth, of course.

About Dara. The youngest, by half an hour. About how she had stubbornly out-waited her twin so she could be born just past midnight, and therefore have a birthday of her very own.

Dara the tomboy, who lived up to her name, and would dare anyone to do anything. And how last Christmas she asked for an Oilers hat, in camouflage pattern, and a very specific stuffed cat to add to her growing collection.
Pastor Brian Allan was a close family friend who married Roger and Bonita Bott years ago, and on Friday helped them bury their three daughters. (CBC)

Pastor Brian Allan is a close family friend who married the Bott parents, Roger and Bonita, and baptized Catie. He said he was looking forward to baptizing the other girls.

Now he will never get the chance. 

Catie Bott, 13, and her 11-year-old twin sisters, Dara and Jana, were on a grain truck at their parents' farm east of Rocky Mountain House Oct. 13 when they smothered under a load of canola seed.

Allan said when loved ones die, especially when they are children, people ask how such tragedy could possibly make sense, or be part of any plan.

"We ask the question why?" he said. "Why? Why? Why? How is it possible that they could be suddenly swept away from us?"

The answer to that question, he told the audience, can only be found in heaven.

On the last Sunday the whole Bott family was in church together, the congregation was treated to a slide show Catie had made, photos taken on a wonderful day she spent with her father.

On Friday, the mourners in Red Deer watched the same slide show.

In his sermon, Allan spoke about the earthly body as little more than a tent, a temporary place for the soul to camp until it returns home to heaven.

He quoted scripture, and told his own stories about the girls. How happy they always were, and how happy they are now to be in heaven, where they have always belonged.