My mother was born on St. Patrick’s Day 1945 and was an only child. While she may have been an only child, she certainly wasn’t a lonely child as she grew up surrounded by her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My grandmother's family was large and to them my mother was like the baby of the family. Two of her uncles held a very special place in heart. When she needed anything they would be the ones she would call. She could always depend on them and they on her.
My mother worked in a pharmacy for 30 years and during that time, she delivered medication to the elderly; most of whom had no family. She had a real soft spot for them and she always listened to them and treated them with the utmost dignity and respect. She felt obligated to them and responsible for them.
It is that sense of responsibility that she passed on to her children. She taught us to always be compassionate, independent and respectful (not only of others but of themselves). “Treat others as you would like to be treated” she always used to say.
My mother dedicated her life to her three children and her three grandchildren. She would have done anything for us even if that meant she had to do without and she never complained. She never complained about having to raise three children on her own on a very modest salary. Yet to the amazement of most, she managed. We were never hungry, never had holes in our shoes and always had brand new clothes for the first day of school.
When my brother wanted to play hockey, she made sure he played. When my sister and I wanted roller skates for Christmas, she made sure we got them. There were no obstacles for my mother, merely bumps in the road. She was so committed to her children that she never missed one of our sporting events.
My mother didn’t just come to games and practices because we were playing, she actually loved watching sports. She was a real hockey and football fan. She loved watching the Toronto Maple Leafs play at Maple Leaf Gardens and at the Air Canada Centre. She also loved football. She followed whatever team my brother worked for whether it be the Ottawa Roughriders, the Ottawa Renegades or the Hamilton Tigercats. Her allegiance was not so much to the team as it was to him.
Perhaps my mother's most important commitment was to her parents. When my grandfather was in the hospital, my mother visited him twice a day every day for three months until his passing in March of 1995. Later, as my grandmother couldn’t get out of her apartment on her own very much, my mother visited her every day and telephoned her at least twice a day. She would take my grandmother her medications, and get her groceries and she would bring her coffee and muffins on Sunday. Sometimes she would just go to my grandmother's to watch the football game. It didn’t matter what the weather or the time, if my grandmother needed her, my mother was always there.
My mother's godchild once said “you could always talk to her and she never judged you. She just listened and she always made you feel better.” That was her way. Her heart was always open.
My mother's life was selfless and her love was endless. I will always take comfort in knowing that there are angels among us and my mother is certainly one of them.