I still have her birthday in my Google Calendar, but did not add the date she passed. For a while, as a family, we would get together and run an annual classified in The Guardian newspaper with her picture to remember her. I felt weird about it, I didn’t want to remember her death, I only wanted to remember her living. Living life to the fullest was what she did, with a big laugh and a big heart.
Now today, posts on Facebook and Instagram remind me it’s been 10 years since she’s passed. We lost Mom at 60 after a series of strokes over time. 10 years is a crazy long time to not be with someone. I still miss her but try not to dwell on that. Instead, I focus on the great memories. She was with me for 37 years. I focus on the years I spent with her rather than the years spent without her.
As a family, we feel her presence in other ways, like how she leaves my Dad pennies from heaven all the time and I feel like she is watching over us whenever an eagle flies overhead at specific moments.
10 years ago I finished writing her eulogy at 5 am the day of her burial. I had 90 minutes of sleep and somehow she gave me the strength to deliver it to a standing room only crowd of around 200 people.
Here is what I said:
My Mom had the gift of gab. You could give her a call with nothing to say and have a 1-hour conversation about anything and everything. You never quite knew if you were going to end up laughing, crying or both. I could not let this day go by without celebrating her life and what she has taught us about compassion, friendship and family.
Mom loved life. Little things, big things – it didn`t seem to matter. As long as she was on the go, spending time with Dad, family or friends – she was happy. She enjoyed taking walks, going for ice cream, playing cards, gardening, dancing, restaurants, watching her favourite shows, nursing, shiftwork chats, Tims runs, knitting club, cross stitch, quilting, baking sweets, preparing Judy-size meals, listening to us complain about being too full and, of course, bargain hunting. Rarely did Mom spend time by herself, she was happiest either doing things to help people or spending quality time with them. My favourite memories were when we’d be on vacation from Moncton and set aside a day to spend with her.
Mom loved each and every one of us. She supported us in any way that she could, cheered us on and was proud of our accomplishments. We are grateful for her advice, guidance and patience. Some of us may have given Mom a few grey hairs, but each experience made our relationship stronger. We did not always follow the path she set out for us, but I truly believe she was happy with where we all ended up.
She was compassionate and kind like her Mother. This made her a great mentor, friend, nurse, doctor and therapist all rolled into one. If you needed someone to listen to your problems – she was always there. If you needed encouragement – she was your biggest fan. If you needed an opinion – she would give you nothing but pure honesty. If you received a card from her – it was underlined to express her true emotions.
She was determined and handy like her Father. This gave her the knowledge and strength to never let anything stand in her way. If she needed to use a cane – so be it, nothing could keep Mom from getting where she wanted to go. If something was broken – she would try fixing it. As Taylor would say, `my Nan can fix it, she can fix anything`. Nanny taught Taylor how to knit, crochet and do crafts. And Taylor showed Nanny how to play Solitaire on the computer.
If only there was more time, `Grandma Judy` would have clearly demonstrated to Taylor, Trysten, Brooklyn and Skye the importance of compassion, friendship and family.
She lived and breathed these values each and every day of her life.
We will remember her by striving to do the same…
By taking care of each other, enjoying life and laughing along the way.
We love you and miss you already.
Judy Elaine Tremere, LNA
September 9, 1947 – August 18, 2008