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