The end of an era
arrived very abruptly on Wednesday, June 12 with the passing of my mom, Gale
On behalf of my
family, I would like to thank everyone for the kind words, condolences, and for
sharing your memories of mom. Thank you
to the staff at the StettlerHospital,
and in particular, the wonderful nurse who was with mom when she passed, and a
very special thank you to her hospital roommate, Linda, for keeping an eye on
I’ve been told
while it’s not a surprise she is gone, it really is.
Yes, she had been
in the hospital for the previous 15 weeks, with the final 2.5 weeks in long-term
care. Yes, she had shrunk down to less
than 90 lbs and was in a wheelchair. Yes,
she had had lots of pain and major health challenges for YEARS - in fact, she
was sent home from the University Hospital in May of 1996 to die as her
internal organs were heavy damaged and scarred following a very severe allergic
reaction to a medication, and were operating at considerably less than 50%.
all of that, she’d always defied the odds somehow, amazing everyone as she
continued to live and be a vital presence.
As Mom was deeply
involved in her community, she touched countless lives, of all ages, in ways we
probably will never ever know, whether it was through Girl Guides, church
activities of all sorts, her various leadership and executive positions on
various community boards through the years, her involvement in schools as both
a teacher and parent, her creation of ladies’ crafting groups and starting the
ECS program in Mirror, or just her interactions with friends and neighbours.
Mom will be
remembered for her “craftiness” and her homemade goodies and gifts as she
remembered birthdays and special occasions. She will be remembered for her
encouragement and faith in the children she taught, and the girls she nurtured
through Guiding. She will be remembered
for her joking, witty comments, and so much, much more.
As one friend told
me: “Your mom can’t be gone, she was an institution.” Yes...Gale certainly was!
If you are of a
certain age, you probably heard this quote, or a variation of it, from a parent
or other adult at some point in your childhood.
The Puritan work ethic, that our society seems to have inherited with a
vengeance, frowned on taking time to just sit and do nothing but enjoy life.
Now there is a lot
I could say against that notion of always being busy and not being idle, but, I
have to admit there is a degree of truth in it.
all of our labour-saving devices, and great technological advances, as a
society, we are suffering from a lack of basic movement. And, I don’t mean the “artificial” movement
we do in fitness classes, and during “exercise,” but rather the natural
movements that used to happen as we went about our days. If you aren't sure exactly what I mean, look
at a toddler - though, preferably one who has never touched an electronic
device, or sat in front of a TV.
Back when people
predominately walked everywhere, and had to do the majority of their daily
tasks and jobs by hand, there was not only a sense of accomplishment and
achievement, because you could see your progress, but also because you could
literally FEEL it in your muscles, which led to greater mental and emotional
culture does not create that same effect even if we are pushing buttons on a
computer or on a smart phone all day. No
wonder we feel like life is flying by so fast, and there is so much stress and
anxiety. We are striving so hard to
achieve the sense of accomplishing something tangible, but there is nothing
tangible about bits and bytes. We
also used to get the sense of tangible progress through creative hobbies, but
now, even something as basic as turning the pages in a book is almost entirely
a thing of the past.
wellbeing depends on us using our hands and feet. Just as our feet were designed to walk, not
push the gas or brake pedals on a vehicle, our hands were designed to do and
make real things, not just push buttons or swipe.