My mum passed away on December the 3rd, 2019. She died swiftly and painlessly at her retirement home in Ottawa, Ontario. We had a lovely funeral a few days later after a whirlwind of organizing and planning the event. It was lovely to see so many come to pay their respects. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in years. So lovely to catch up. Such a pity that it took such a sad occasion to see them. I read a speech at the funeral. The body of it is thus:
We are gathered here today to remember my mother Marianne.
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the wishes of those who couldn’t be here today. Her sister Maggie would dearly wish to be here today but couldn’t be. She feels sad and lonely because she is the last one left in that family. My thoughts and prayers go out to her in this time of grief. I’d also like to acknowledge my cousins Janet and Susan, my niece Bethany, and my nephew Matthew.
I couldn’t have asked for a better mother who loved and cared for us so well. She was kind and funny and wonderful. She was an avid gardener for many years tending the plot at Athol Doune. She enjoyed watching the birds come to the feeder. I can remember when there were too many Evening grosbeaks on the lawn for us to count. She enjoyed x-country skiing many winters up in the Gatineaus with my dad and around the Champlain Park neightbourhood in the woods. There was the time when she was skiing up at the trails from Camp Fortune and lost her balance and fell heavily onto a tree and broke her collarbone. She wanted to eat dinner first at home before going to emergency I remember. Always practical was my mum.
When she was a young girl about 6 or 7 she didn’t want to take a test at school. So she walked home really slowly hoping the day would pass quickly. She hid in the garage when she got home and Nanny found her and marched her back to school. My grandmother Ethel who we knew as Nanny was a school teacher for many years and she was tough, as my mum said, after she had her as a substitute teacher. My grandmother was a pillar of the church for many years and a Sunday school teacher. My mum knew, until her death, all the books of the Bible.
She and my dad rolled with the punches when the Avro Arrow project got canceled. He got a job in Montreal and she was left juggling two young boys and a move to Hudson Quebec. I arrived a couple of years later in Montreal in 1961. She said how much she appreciated having her mother’s help at times when she came to visit them in Hudson.
There was the time when she was fed up being our house cleaner and we found all the shoes, coats, hats and mitts and bags from the front hall thrown out onto the front door step of Athol Doune. Maybe then you’ll learn to take care of them yourself she muttered to us.
I learned my love of cooking from her and appreciated her patience. She noticed and let me know that I was all keen to do the mixing and baking but the clean up part? I was nowhere to be seen was her comment.
I’m glad that she and my dad got to enjoy so many of their retirement years on the boat down south in the Bahamas and then in Mexico for 20 years. Nice to be a snowbird, isn’t it and fly south for the winter months.
Thank you Mum for being the best mum I could have asked for and being cared for. You did a fabulous job for all of us. I love you Mum.