Monday, June 2, 2014

A Tribute

In my previous post I was on my way to Ontario for a bit of family connecting then off to Nashville for a trip with siblings and a spouse. I did have a wonderful Saturday with my eldest daughter in Toronto. Arrabel was amazing leaving me in awe of how some dancers can seemingly hold their own bodies in the air with little or no support from another dancer.

Connecting with my birth family turned out to be a time of letting my mother go. She would be 90 years old on June 2. She wasn't prepared to stay here on this earth until that date. Within three days of my arrival she was moved to palliative care where she died three days later. As I had attempted to prepare myself over the last few years for when I would get that call I always assumed I would be on a flight after I got word that she had died. She had other plans for me. The family believes she waited until she knew I was there to go. I feel privileged to have been there.

Her father called her his Peachy Girl.
With six brothers she surely was!

I had forgotten that there were "bride elects"!

She worked in a local bank after business college.
My father fell in love with this woman.

Her wedding day. Little did she know she would be the
mother of seven children within eleven years!

Legacy of Love

A wife, a mother, a grandma too
This is the legacy we have from you
You taught us love and how to fight,
You gave us strength, you gave us might.
A stronger person would be hard to find,
and in your heart, you were always kind.
You fought for us all in one way or another,
Not just as wife, not just as mother.
For all of us you gave your best,
Now the time has come for you to rest
So go in peace, you've earned your sleep.
Your love in our hearts, we'll eternally keep. 
(Two of her granddaughters shared this at her funeral)

Mom in the dark dress on the right. My father behind her and
all the children are theirs except the little boy on the right. What a day that was, getting
seven of us dolled up for the photo. My brother took off and played outdoors dirtying his freshly
polished shoes. There wasn't time to fix them before the photo!

These are her adult children now. One daughter couldn't be there
that day but she was with us in spirit.

This was written and read by Jane who allowed us to laugh and cry at the same time.

Love of our Mother – Helen Sawyer

First, we would like to thank each and everyone for coming and celebrating our Mother’s life with us today.

Mom was a very strong woman with a soft heart when it came to her family. She loved her family unconditionally; starting with her brothers and her wonderful sister-in-laws. We know this because she would call us every year to make sure we knew when and where the family picnic was being held!

We knew she loved us by how hard she worked to provide for us when we were growing up. She also taught us to grow, learn and love our own families.

I must tell you she had one little flaw, which she passed onto all her children; if you told her a secret about your family everyone would know by Sunday night.

Carol Ann, she leaned on you and you were there for her; we cannot thank you enough for taking on that responsibility.
Mary, she loved your independence and she lived vicariously through you.
Jane, she gave you security in tough times.
Barb, she loved your talents and your counsel.
Georgina, she worried about you always and wanted you to get healthy.
Richard, she gave you six "beautiful sisters" and definitely the O’Brien sense of humour.
Nancy was her baby and her best friend.
Susan, her seventh daughter she loved you like her own.
She also cherished all her son-in-laws
Her Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren were the joy of her life. The greatest thing she gave us was each other.

It was very a difficult decision when we had to move Mom to Cambridge 5 years ago; taking her from her friends, family and activities but it was our turn to watch over her.

                                                                         Your Life was a Blessing
                                                                          Your Memory a Treasure
                                                                      You are Loved beyond Words
                                                                       And Missed beyond Measure


  1. Very touching, tribute Mary. Today is her birthday, then? Which one are you in the family photo? I cannot get over how you, your mother and Megan resemble each other!

  2. I am the one with the bow stuck to the side of her head! Next to my uncle

  3. It's a lovely tribute...She was beautiful! She was also a gemini like me :)

    1. Thanks. I have a Gemini daughter too. She looks like my mum.

  4. What a beauty she was and what a loving tribute to your mother and her legacy - her children! I see where you get your looks!

    1. Thanks Wendy. I seem to have inherited my father's jowly face too!!

  5. A truly beautiful tribute! I'm sorry for your loss. I've never heard of bride elect! She was a beauty. xo