Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Saying goodbye

Yesterday our family spent the day remembering Alex’s mom, Joan. After a difficult illness, she died in her sleep last week.

Joan was born in England and moved to Canada when she was a young woman to work as a draftsperson at the Avro Arrow. While in Canada, she met a young RCMP officer at Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Alex’s dad), who she eventually married. Their wedding was in England and then they moved to Ontario. Alex’s older brother was born there. After a few years, they moved to Burnaby and then to Surrey where Alex’s dad grew up. There they had two more sons.

joan and alex

The first time I met Joan, I felt like she had decided I was already part of her family. As an immigrant who married a man with a very small family, Joan was always happy to make her family bigger. I heard her squeal through the phone when Alex called to tell her we were getting married.

_DSC6633 alex and joan

She was so excited when we told her we were pregnant with J and when Alex announced cub #2 would be arriving some time in April, she was overjoyed. Joan loved her family and always wanted to do “something” to help us out…We never left her home after a visit with out “something.” Sometimes she had happened upon a sale on bath towels and picked up some extras for us. Sometimes we came home with a bag full of cold cuts, cheeses and buns to make our lunches for the week. Sometimes it was a folded $5 bill for J to do something special with – J would save her money up and take it somewhere with her. Those little folded bills bought souvenirs at the Aquarium, new books, and a visit to the movie theatre. More than once we came home with a turkey or a roast. One time, before I had any idea what to do with it, she sent us home with a massive hunk of pork – it was longer than my forearm. Alex liked it best when we were sent home with Costco sized boxes of goodies – Mint Patties and jellies were his favourites and Joan remembered that when she went shopping.


I will always remember how much Joan’s family meant to her and the kindness she always showed us. When I watch Alex, I can see some of Joan in him. Her love and desire for a big family lives on in him – I saw it when he met my huge extended family for the first time and instead of approaching them and all their loud, craziness tentatively, he dove in head first. And I see it every day when he plays with J and talks about our new baby and our plans for the future.

Rest in peace Joan. We miss you.

No comments:

Post a Comment