“As you moved in the light with joy, love lifted you. As you brushed against this world so gently, you lifted us”. – TC Ring
Dylan Martin Sterling was deeply loved by everyone who knew him well. He was an extremely loyal and devoted son, brother, grandson and friend who made it his mission to seek out the very best in himself and the best for those he loved.
Dylan excelled at everything he set his mind to. He could read 800 words a minute and would retain it all. When he wanted to read a book, he read it voraciously until it was finished. When he wanted to play guitar, he learned how in a month. When he wanted to beat a video game, he played it until it was beaten. When he wanted to write a new electronic music piece, he would work for hours without stop until it was finished… you get the idea, the man was driven!
Dylan loved our pets (cat Isis and dog Seymour) and was always looking for new supplements and nutrition to help them stay healthy. Likewise, he was always suggesting vitamins or products for his family to help with whatever ailed us. His knowledge was so extensive, we often just called him for advice instead of bothering with Google as he was far more helpful than any search engine.
Dylan was a valued employee of Good Health Mart and very quickly became Assistant Manager of the Brampton store. He loved living with his grandparents but also was planning for the day when he could get his own apartment with his best friend and brother Justin.
Dylan’s passion was writing electronic music and his goal was to become a producer and play at the music festival Shambhala which he went to last summer and said was the best experience of his life. He also was very encouraging to his sister Eden to pursue music by giving her his personal guitar and buying her a professional microphone and recording equipment this past Christmas.
Dylan was a wonderful son who could always be counted on to help out. He and his mom went on regular hikes together and she relied on him for everything from household chores to help driving his siblings around to entire house moves.
There is a huge hole in our lives without Dylan. We celebrate the beautiful and amazing man he was and are thankful to have known him for the brief time he was here.
Dylan was exceptionally bright right from the beginning. I know all mothers say this but in this case, it’s actually true! He learned his alphabet on sight by 18 months of age. I remember sitting in a restaurant with him when he was 18 months and pointing to alphabet letters in one of the books we had. The waitress kept asking over and over “How OLD is he?” By the age of 2 ½, he was reading fluently. My mother shared a memory yesterday of him at age 3 sitting in the shopping cart. He looked up and read “Zellers… where the lowest price is the law”, “What does that mean Grammy?” He asked in his young toddler voice. In kindergarten he was often sent upstairs to read aloud to the 2nd grade kids at school and by 2nd grade, he was reading Harry Potter books by himself. He re-read those books often and became quite the HP authority. We have a friend from Holland who just wrote me that he told her the story with such detail, she’s never felt she had to either read the book or watch the movie.
In higher grades in school, his reading was tested at 800 words per minute with full comprehension and retention. Perhaps this is why school held so little interest for Dylan – most of the time he was pretty bored. In grade 8, he won the Canadian Math award for receiving the top 3% score on the standardized test for all of Canada. His math teacher was in shock that this kid who was barely passing his class had just won the top award for all of Canada. Dylan shrugged it off and was very casual about it as he never bragged about his accomplishments.
Electronic music was one area that really challenged Dylan’s mental abilities. The music software programs were vast and dense and the user manuals were often 600 pages long. Many of which he photocopied by hand just so he could have an extra copy to share with a friend. Most songs would take upwards of 30 or 40 hours of work as each sound would be manufactured from scratch. No way would Dylan use a pre-fab beat or track… he was a purist.
Dylan felt that talk was cheap and would rather do things than just talk about them. When he set his mind to something, he was like a pit bull with a bone in its jaws. He didn’t let it go until it was mastered! He had an incredible work ethic and was amazingly strong. When he was only 13, he started helping me install saunas. Some of those panels were incredibly heavy but he never lost his temper or complained.
When he was only 16, he helped me load our entire 4 bedroom house into a container for our move to Kelowna. Justin and Eden were away in Toronto and it took us 8 hours of non-stop work. He never complained, he just lifted and carried until the job was done.
Dylan started working from the age of 14 at McDonald’s and was almost always employed after that. One of his favourite jobs was as a sous chef for a nice restaurant in Kelowna, BC called Hannah’s. Even with the long hours and hard work, it was the fun camaraderie in the kitchen that he enjoyed and the head chef was someone Dylan truly respected. For a time, we thought he might become a professional chef but Dylan didn’t want to keep the late night hours necessary for a career in the kitchen.
This only meant that Dylan was an incredible cook and we all enjoyed his “next level” meat loafs, lasagna’s and sesame maple salmon that I still cook today.
From an early age, Dylan took an interest in baking. When he was 4, I let him make the croutons for our salads in the toaster oven – “Crouton Dylan” was born and he was making butter tarts with me by age 5; by 12 he was baking 4-braid challah bread and selling loaves locally in Kelowna. I remember helping him make 120 challah buns for a wedding at a golf course. The secret was that he rose the dough in the infrared sauna - he was 13.
Every time I asked Dylan to help, he did, no matter how unpleasant or difficult the job; it was reassuring to know that I could count on him to always keep his word and lend a hand.
I have always thought that the entire Martin work ethic was rolled up and handed to him. He physically resembled the Martin physique and there were many times he reminded me of my grandfather and uncles.
Dylan has always cared more for others than he has for himself. His first pet was an adorable dwarf bunny with long ears named Cottonball. Dylan was fastidious with his care and even at age 12 would always be the one to take care of his cage and feeding.
Our dog Seymour and cat Isis also became a top priority for Dylan and if the slightest thing happened to them, he would immediately go online looking for answers. Even after he moved to Ontario and was no longer living with his pets in Vancouver, he would ship out supplements for the pets and make suggestions about the optimal diet for them.
Dylan’s care also extended to all of us. Every time he learned of something new that he thought would help one of us, he would be on the phone or offering to send some out. He never hesitated to put others first and was generous with his possessions, often giving things he valued away if he felt it would help someone else more.
No one has ever made me laugh as long and hard as Dylan. His razor sharp wit, linguistic prowess and insight into the foibles of human nature combined with an often dead pan delivery that would have me literally in tears. Often the long hikes we would take in North Vancouver would be punctuated with laughter… his observational humour was always bang on.
Dylan’s rants were legendary and when he was on a roll could rival Rick Mercer – he really should have had someone following him around! He would often call me on his way home from work as it was a 45 minute drive and he would be bored. So often, something would have happened in the news or at the store that he would share with biting accuracy.
Dylan was a real news junky and was entirely well versed on world politics. I often thought he could have been a fantastic correspondent for Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.
I believe that one of the greatest roles Dylan played in our family was that of catalyst – he brought about change: sometimes painful, always necessary and ultimately for the greater good of us all. Dylan would not tolerate fluffy, meaningless conversation or bull shit and would always tell you the truth as he saw it whether you were ready to hear it or not. If you were trying to kid yourself, justify a lazy habit or play the victim card, you could always count on Dylan to call you out.
He expected so much from himself, others and the world around him which is likely where his finely tuned cynicism was born and nurtured – it’s really hard not to be chronically disappointed when your standards are so high! He was an altruist at heart and did believe things could always be better. He did what he could for himself and those he loved to make their world better in whatever way he could. Even now, he is bringing about change for the better in each and every one of us and how we treat ourselves and each other.
Dylan loved his family and let us know that every time we connected in person, on the phone, or by text or Facebook chat.
He was very grateful to his Grammy and Grampy and the opportunity to live and work with them at Good Health Mart. In the year and a half he spent in Ontario, the change in his confidence and maturity was beautiful to see. Dylan was highly valued and respected by his co-workers and it was so wonderful to see him evolve into a strong, confident young man.
Dylan would have made a wonderful boyfriend to some lucky girl but he was only just starting to walk through the mine field that is romance. He would have been a faithful husband and a devoted father if given the chance and I am so sad I will never know the beautiful grandchildren he would have given us.
I can only carry his memory now in my heart with deep gratitude and appreciation that I had the privilege to know and love the bright and beautiful shooting star that was my son Dylan Martin Sterling… here for a brief moment and gone too soon.
Gone but never, never forgotten.