SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY
~ George Gordon (Lord) Byron (1788-1824)
SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
A Tribute to My Mom:
This page remained blank for some time while in my emotional argument I debated the finality of it all if I put the words to page. Would it be admitting it was okay in some way? My strength comes from within just as it will for all of us but it also resides in the love I knew she held for those who were close and for all of those who came to know her. She knows the connection I have to words and I pray she hears them now as I share them with you today. In our grief we can take solace in the comfort of knowing she no longer suffers and will not endure more pain. The monster cancer was caged when she took her last breath and her sleep allowed her to move peacefully to the next stage of her journey.
I am certain I speak for my family and all her friends when I say she will be missed. There is a void there that will never be filled. She will be remembered always – when we meet for special times, when we resume our normal days; when we lie to sleep in the quiet of the night and our heart aches while tears fall. Even in our understanding that everyone’s time comes to pass, it will be difficult to accept she is not here to comfort us, support us, and stand beside us. Even in our understanding that her spirit will be with us no matter what, there is little comfort right now in the belief of what we cannot see. Even in our understanding that this raw wound will slowly heal and we know as times passes, the hurt will diminish. Even in all this, our love will not fade…
An Alberta soul, through and through, my mother’s roots kept her anchored here – she was born in Edmonton at the University Hospital in May of 1936. She lost her father soon after her birth and she and her four sisters were raised by their mother, my grandmother, Martha. Mom was the youngest and the last of her sisters to say good-bye to this earth – she leaves us to join them now. I find comfort in the fact she will not be alone.
BJ, as she was known, loved music and as the choir sings and the heavenly host plays on, she will be part of that beautiful sound. She asked me in the early morning hours while she sat in her hospital bed holding off sleep for as long as she possibly could – “do you think there is music in heaven?” I assured her she would hear music. I am sure she will have a table reserved right up near the front to listen or to participate in its making.
She was creative – loving crafts of all sorts. She was an artist – drawing fantastic portraits of great leaders sold years ago. She wrote pages and pages in her journal of her most inner thoughts – and although I could not yet convince her to write her story, over time she came to share stories of her life and so enjoyed reading what others wrote. She loved to cook – we fondly remember the dishes she made over the years while growing up. She loved her garden and nature was her solace. When she moved to the acreage to live in what we lovingly call the “little house” she planted trees. Surrounding the back yard are six large evergreen trees – each one representing a member of our immediate family. They stand as sentinels to protect not only from the north wind but as a reminder of the closeness she felt as a family. She loved her dogs – not only her own over the years but the neighbor dogs that came to visit keeping her company, watching out for her – they visited recently probably wondering why that caring person was not coming to the door to acknowledge them. She loved horses and their beauty although their size scared her; she watched for the geese to return each spring and listened in the fall to their sounds aloft as they left for another winter. Born under the sign of Taurus she was grounded and real and practical and solid and generous and loving. Although she had dreams that perhaps were changed by the turns life took, she raised four kids and kept a wonderful home. She loved to the end the man she spent over 60 years with – my dad.
She was raised in the ‘40s; met and married my dad in the ‘50s; providing a loving home for her husband and us kids – myself, my two sisters and my brother. She was a role model for us in that she always strived to obtain something better – not extravagant or out of reach, but modest and humble and not wasteful. She grew up with little so she appreciated what was out there and worked hard toward bettering herself and her family.
In 1972, my family moved to Sherwood Park when my parents bought their first home. We were lucky to be able to have a mom who stayed home with us while dad was away working and as soon as we were old enough to take care of ourselves she went to work. She got her GED and completed the education she didn’t have opportunity to finish when she was young. Her influence on us and the gifts passed down through our family are evident in all we do. We have singers, musicians, artists, writers, and hard workers who are compassionate, caring, and giving. She taught us well.
There are lessons to learn and life is not easy at times. We question why things work out the way they do and are upset by things we don’t understand. In the unknowing, there is fear. Even in her weakest hours, she knew she was loved and she was never alone. She understood the severity of it all yet found humor at times to make us laugh and never lost her sense of adventure – when asked if she’d wanted a drink she replied “vodka” and when Kelsey offered to read to her to pass the time she suggested “50 Shades of Grey.”
Now if I got this far without breaking down, it has been a miracle. I suppose I will not be able to continue much more so I will simply close with – my beautiful mother, we will miss you. We love you and will remember you. Always.
Thank you to the caring staff at the University of Alberta Hospital – surgery and 3E3 ward.
Thank you to the wonderful, amazing people at Glenwood Memorial Gardens – your help and compassion made a difficult time run smoothly.