About Me

My photo
I'm a mother of four grandmother of seven and great grandmother of three. I live with my husband in the house that we built with the help of my brothers and will have been married for 57 years this February.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Sometimes I hear people say that they have so much family relationship  problems yet it's something that has so far eluded me with my own personal family. We were a very large family when I was growing up and we only had the basic necessities but there was always plenty of love to go around. Helping around the house was a matter of fact and taking care of the younger ones kind of just happened without being told. That how it was with our large family.

As you can see in my Childhood Memories rug, I have many happy memories, even too many to put in a only one rug.  My family is still very important to me  and always will be. They were rallying behind me when I was very sick with breast cancer  in 2002-2003 and help me greatly.

 My family is spread from one end of Canada to the other but at my dad's funeral in October, 2008 everyone was there.  My dad was in a nursing home as my mom was too sick to care for him and this was the greatest cross she had to bear. He had severe pains and by the time they called the ambulance he was suffering of septic shock and died five days later on October 8, 2008 in the hospital.
My youngest sister having some time to say her goodbyes shortly before my dad passed away. Also my mom and brother by his side.
My mom in hospital waiting for her operation, knowing that her time on earth was coming to an end soon but still her cheery self. Her faith was so strong.
This is my family of brothers and sisters and mom in the wheel chair in the center at dad's funerals. 
As it is a rare occasion that everyone can get  together,  we posed for a family photo and my mom is in the middle. She was allowed out of the hospital for the funeral and her surgery was postponed for the following week. She was operated for  advanced stomach cancer the following week with no prospect of getting better but to save her from excruciating pain for a while.

Almost 10 months later on July 29, 2009 she too passed away in the hospital with her whole family at her side,  all 17 of us. We sang her favorite songs and prayed together and we also celebrated her life and we really felt  the presence of Jesus in the room with us. There was a serene peace and we were all sad to see her go but at the same time we were all at peace with her leaving us. She had done her duty as the best mom  we could ever ask for and she was blessed to have her very large family at her side, just like my dad. They both had  hearts of gold and would do anything for anyone in need. My mom would say that there is always room for one more. She did sacrificed an awful lot for her kids.

Some of my brother by mom's  side. Notice the throw on her bed made up from the previous family photo taken  ten months earlier.  She was so proud of her large family.

When mom passed away it was raining and overcast and on our way home from the hospital my sister and I were in awe of the beautiful opening in the clouds but couldn't stop to take a photo because of heavy traffic until we could safely stop at a cross road to take what was left of the spectacle. It almost felt like the heavens had opened up to welcome mom home.  This photo doesn't show the silver lining around the clouds like we saw.
One story told at dad's eulogy was this. One day when he was working and a fellow worker had gotten his socks wet and was suffering of cold feet. My dad was the only one in the group who took off his boots and removed a pair of his own socks and gave them to this man who was suffering from the cold. My dad was a gentle soul and always had time to talk to young and old alike and everyone loved him for that. My mom worked in a nursing home for years after she raise her family until she hurt her back moving some patients in bed. Then the doctor told her that she couldn't work any more. She still volunteered at the nursing home for years.
Mother and daughter about a year before she passed away.

My mother and me about a year before she passed away. She was sick then but at a young 82  she was still active in the community.
When I was growing up, I could see that we were missing on a lot of things that the other kids took for granted, like piano lessons, typing lessons, nice clothes, etc.  As I grew older and wiser I realized that my mom and dad never had any of those things either. But at their death they had a beautiful but modest house and a bit of money put away, had made their own funeral arrangements and everyone of their children got a surprise inheritance.  JB


  1. What a lovely family Julia. I hope you know how rich you are. So many of us wish we had lots of brothers and sisters to share our love. You have been truly blessed with wonderful parents and the great love of a family.

  2. You are definitely one of the blessed people, Julia. It's really nice that you have such loving good memories. /Deb

  3. Dear Julia,
    What a wonderful tribute to your family. Your love for all of them comes shining through your words!
    You have certainly inherited the gentleness and love that was so much a part of your parents.
    The memories will always live in your heart.

  4. What a Beautiful post!! How Blessed you are to have such a large family. And your Parents were certainly Blessed to have ALL of you! Each one of you so different, but Love all the same.
    How lovely your memories are and I love the story about your Dad and his socks. So touching, so thoughtful....

  5. You certainly paint a lovely picture with your words. I have often wondered what it would be like to have grown up with a large family. I am an only child. You make it sound perfect!

  6. Thanks for your comments everyone. It's funny how a kid thinks. When I was young, sometimes I wish that I would have been an only child because it would have meant that I could have new things instead of used ones and wouldn't have to share. Nothing was ever perfect, far from it. Growing up poor meant shame for not having something and it wouldn't matter how much one would want it, we knew that it was not going to happen so we just accepted and moved on.
    Growing up needy made us compassionate toward other' suffering and also made us humble. It's the best word I can use to describe what I mean. We learned how to share because we had to, not because we wanted to...I often fantasized of having rich parents and living in a large house where I could have my own room and bed and a place where I could study in quiet. It's only once we have gone through the process of growing in a large family that we can appreciate the blessings but it came at a lot of sacrifices. JB

  7. Oh what a lovely post and you are so incredibly blessed to have grown up in such a large family, that is amazing I love the picture, Oh your Mom and Dad were so blessed to have 17 in your family.
    Your Mom is just beautiful. I love the picture of the clouds too, just like the heavens were opened up. What number were you? It must have been awesome having all of those brothers. I only had four brothers but boy did we have a good time. Still do. I just have one sister and you have so many.

    Just like George Baily said, Julia, you really have had a wonderful life. :) I bet you do have a lot more you could put on a rug.

    Thanks so much for sharing this it really blesses me today. I love large families!

  8. Kim, (farm Girl) thanks for your comment. I was the third child. My mom was married at 16, and she was always pregnant, can you imagine that? Time were hard when she was a young girl and she was allowed to get married because in those days, it was one less mouth to feed and young men were more mature than today's. I have a photo somewhere of my mom and dad when they were young married but can't find it in my library. I might ask my sister to resent it to me if I can find it and will post it later. JB.