written for Mom


On Saturday, October 23  – I gave the following eulogy for my Mom.

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Mom was born in Windsor, Sept 29, 1925. Her parents, Frank & Ida and older sister, Connie had emigrated from Bradford in Yorkshire England.    She loved history and English though math was not her favourite. She often figured that those of us who were good at math must have got that gene from Dad. 

Connie being 10 years older, married and had children who Mom spent much time with.  She adored her nieces and nephew: Peggy, Patsy and Frank and many of the stories she would share of her youth involved the antics with them. Frank recollects how she was a mother to them when their mother was in the TB san.

Her best friend was Eleanor.  In those days, church was a centrepoint of the community, and Mom would go to the Anglican church on Sunday, she often went to Salvation Army with Eleanor on Saturday and the Catholic church on Friday with another friend.  

She was a shy young woman with a close circle of friends. When looking at old pictures, grandson Jason was surprised that the “hottie” on the beach blanket was his grandmother at 13.  Wow!  One day, the red-head Eleanor and this blonde bombshell Betty walked into a bowling alley where Dad and his friend Jimmy were bowling.  Dad & Jimmy talked them up.  Next thing you know, Mom & Dad were dating. Sometimes, they would even go to the Sunday midnight show – very risqué in their time.  Mom loved a good movie, and enjoyed going to the movies with her kids and grandchildren or watching chickflicks at Teri’s with all the family and at Wesley. 

Mom and Dad were married in December, 1944 knowing Mom had to go into the sans for her tuberculosis.  They  spent the first year of their marriage apart, but for 65 more years they were together.  Her lungs were permanently damaged from the tuberculosis, with only partial usage.

She saw many things in her lifetime. She told the story of Hurricane Hazel coming through Windsor in 1954, and how the house was saved by having the windows & doors open, when those around were demolished.

She became a great cook, not a fancy French chef, but someone that you knew would have a beautiful roast on the table Sunday night.  Everything was made from scratch.  As kids, we didn’t realize how much energy and resourcefulness and love went into that preparation, but those of our friends who didn’t have such a mom, were aware.

She had a great sense of humour and loved a good joke. When her niece Peggy & husband Dick were coming, she would make one lemon pie for Dick, one for Dad, and then something for the rest of us.

Dad was often in trouble. One night he came home quite late from work and saw four different pies on the kitchen table: strawberry/rhubarb, lemon, apple and raspberry – took a pieceout of each, and liked them so much that he took a second piece out of the strawberry/rhubarb one  but she had baked them for the Women’s Institute.  She woke up in the morning, and was a wee bit upset…then quickly made 4 more pies.

Before Christmas, Mom would fill the freezer and the fruit cellar with cookies, squares and Christmas cake. This worked pretty good, until Jack & Ralph got older and decided that frozen cookies tasted just as good.  Mom wasn’t too impressed that Christmas when she pulled the tins out, to find only  the bottom layer left.

She & Jack have 5 children, Jack, Ralph, Gayle, later me, then on Jack’s 19th birthday, Teri.  With Dad’s work we travelled up the 401, Puce, then London and finally Cambridge. Mom had a hot temper, and the worst thing you could do was tell a lie.  Trust lost was a something one had to recover.  Money never abounded, yet mom made those pennies work.  She learned to sew, and for most of my youth, all of my clothes were home-made, finally as a teen drawing the line at lingerie after she took a  “stretch & sew” course. 

Mom never quit learning. She went back to work when her kids were grown up, first as a seamstress, then at Zehrs head office where she made many friends. She loved a good game of Euchre, her rumikub when camping  and a good book. 

Like any relationship, a marriage of 65 years has its ups and downs.  There were tough times, times without money, time when love seemed hard to find.  Yet, those who had the opportunity to witness their deep caring for each other knew that somehow they had found their way through the trials to know they were well and truly loved.    

Mom lived that love in all she met.  Her welcoming of all to our church was part of that love…just a few weeks ago,  she told the young person who arrived at our church  asking, are you the church that welcomes lgbtq….mom said “dear, we love everyone here”…and then proceeded to ensure she was cared for.

Gold & silver did not blind Mom.  She cared not if you wore furs or rags, who you loved or the colour of your skin,  it was how you treated the person sitting next to you, or the child that skinned its knee.

Do not be sad for Mom. She was tired from the leukemia.  She was ready. She had a strong faith.

and Her spirit lives on in each of you:  in how you care for each other,  how you welcome the stranger.

You will have your own memories of  the woman that we call Mom.  We invite you to share those stories with Dad, and each other in the days to come.    So, put on the kettle, make a cup of tea, and spend time with someone you love…and do that in remembrance of Mom.

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