The grieving Kaufmann family is getting ready to say goodbye to Tanner on Saturday.
The 37-year-old was killed in a crash Sunday north of Regina. A 19-year-old is facing impaired driving charges for his alleged involvement.
Tanner’s family is publicly sharing the man they believe he was in the hopes the father won’t be just another statistic.
His sister, Amy Kaufmann, recalles the many moments they would share, often in Tanner’s garage, talking late into the night.
“We weren’t just brother and sister, we were best friends,” she said.
The Kaufmann family was together for a wedding this weekend when Tanner and Amy shared a special moment together after everyone else had gone to bed.
“We told each other we love each other and we gave each other big hugs,” she said. “Then we saw each other on Sunday and again had that time together.”
Clutching a tissue, Kaufmann said she can now hold in her heart they remembered to say “I Iove you.” It was something the family made sure to do after they first faced tragedy.
Kaufmann is the oldest, with Tanner as the middle sibling and Matt the youngest. Matt was killed in a car crash in 1999.
“I said to the boys, my nephews, now we have two guardian angels looking over us,” Kaufmann said through tears. “I’m sure they are cutting up and laughing and doing all the fun stuff that they did together.”
She describes Tanner as her protector, who kept people safe when they had been shown so early the harsh realities of life.
“Once you lose one person at a young age, you realize the importance of telling someone you love them, because sudden death, you have no chance to say goodbye.”
A tone of defiance comes through in her grief when she said they took steps as a family to stay safe, which makes the manner of his death all the more frustrating.
“There is no reason to get behind the wheel if you have had drinks.”
Tanner and his wife made sure not to drink and drive, with Kaufmann remembering occasions she had picked her brother up or taken him to his vehicle the next day.
The man she will remember
Fun-loving, a trickster, protector and “super hands-on dad” are just some of the ways Kaufmann describes Tanner, whose greatest pride and joy was his two sons.
“When Parks was born, you couldn’t get a smile off his face,” Kauffman recalled.
“He was such a good dad, he played with those kids and made up funny stories and songs and if auntie was babysitting and tried to do the same thing it was never the same, because daddy did it better,”
In her grief, Kaufmann is trying to see the light, saying at least a love of sport, activities and the outdoors has been instilled in the boys who will now grow up without their father. He was outdoors with the wind in his hair and his dog by his side when he died.