Friday, 11 May 2012

Favourite Thing- Aunt Mary

Last Friday, I wrote about family and at the end of my entry included a note to my Aunt Mary. You can read the entry here. She died earlier this week (which would explain my absence from the blogging world) but I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to see her on Tuesday.

I struggled with what to say in order to honour her and I just couldn't come up with the right words or tribute. My aunt (and I) live(d) in a small community and she was a high profile resident- very involved, well known and respected. When walking around town yesterday, I overheard so many people talking about her, how great she was and how much she will be missed.

Earlier this week, someone had asked me about my aunt and I said; everyone who knows her, knows how great she is. How kind, giving, generous, caring she is. She is an amazing role model and inspiration, anyone who knows her, knows this. I feel so blessed to have a woman like this not only in my life, but in my family too.

My cousin Teresa wrote my Aunt Mary's obituary, which I feel was beautifully written and paints an excellent portrait of the woman she is:

Mary Elizabeth

was born on May 23, 1933 to Alma and Wyllie; an older sister to John, a step daughter of Sadie. As a child, Mary and her family spent summers at their cottage outside of Goderich. Their cottage neighbours were the [name] family. It was at the cottage, that Mary met Jim. They married on December 31, 1955.

Mary trained as a nurse at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. After marriage, Mary switched careers - leaving hospital nursing to become a full-time mother and community volunteer to which she added Race Secretary at Goderich and Woodstock Raceways in the late 1980s. Mary and Jim made raising 10 children look easy - swimming lessons, bowling, horseback riding lessons, sailing lessons, baseball - the kids did it all. Even with 10 children, Mary had lots of room left to love - so she added pets into the mix - a donkey, ponies, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish and a monkey named Floyd.

Family celebrations are steeped in tradition, family meals are legendary - and Mary did it all. Thirty-four people for dinner - daunting for most - not for Mary. For her the more people who were home, the more she loved it. Our families and friends were always welcome in her home and at her table.

Mary loved her expanding family - her children were her pride and joy but if it is possible she was even more proud of her grandchildren and their accomplishments. Mary knew she had many blessings in her life - her husband, her children, her grandchildren, her faith. She also knew that many people were not so fortunate. For 30 years she was a tireless, committed volunteer for Community Living Central Huron. She was passionate about her politics - Conservative of course. She was the Financial Officer for the local riding association. Her volunteer work included the local Blood Donor Clinic, the Separate School Board, Chairman of the Goderich Recreation Board, Member of the Nursing Home Review Board, Director of the Canadian Pari-mutuel Association and canvassing for cancer. She was an avid gardener, horse racing enthusiast, and a Life Master Bridge player.

By her example, she taught us about tolerance, acceptance, respect and inclusion. She was loving, proud, bright, strong, courageous, and fearless. An inspiration for us all.

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