Monday, April 4, 2011

My Mom, 1922 - 2003

My mom passed away eight years ago today after a lengthy battle with cancer.  She was a wonderful woman and I still miss her every day.  The following is a eulogy that I wrote for the back of her funeral card.  At the time I thought I would be unable to deliver it live -- a decision I have regretted to this day, as the minister who had know her all her adult life, did and said nothing personal about her.  But he did have time, during his sermon, to rant about the aliens living in our country, and how if they didn't like it they should go home!  How was that representative of Mom, the most welcoming, hospitable and gracious hostess in the community? Thank goodness, he had passed away prior to Dad's funeral, and we didn't have to listen to such a diatribe again.


My mom was born to William and Jane Patterson on June 20th, 1922, the youngest daughter and third youngest child in a family of ten.  Dorothy grew up on the family farm in Sunny Slope, Ontario and attended the Sunny Slope Public School.  After completing grade ten, she worked in Toronto and Orillia, cleaning homes and various other duties.

In the fall of 1946, a young veteran came calling at the family farm, armed with a bouquet of gladioli.  Love blossomed and on August second, 1947, my parents were united in marriage at the bride's home.

George and Dorothy purchased the family farm from her parents and farmed until 1982.  They shipped cream, raised beef cattle, cropped and produced maple syrup.

1948 saw the arrival of the first son.  The one and only daughter was born in 1951.   A second son came in 1955, and I completed the clan in 1961.  Throughout her childrens' early years, Mom was an ideal homemaker, farmhand and mother.  She was perfectly capable of whatever task was at hand, whether pitching hay, gathering sap, planting garden, picking berries or making a batch of mouthwatering pies.

Dorothy came to faith early in life.  She and George opened their home and for many years were hosts to a small gathering of believers.  In the mid 1960's my grandparents home in the village was converted into a chapel and Mom and Dad became the backbone of the small congregation.   For years Mom taught Sunday School as many of the community well remember.  In 1982, Mom and Dad decided to move from the farm and convert the chapel back into a home.  From that point they attended chapel in a more distant community.

Dorothy loved to cook and entertain.  The traveling minister, or any strangers were usually welcomed back to our house after church, for a bite to eat.  She was always capable, at a moment's notice of converting a few simple ingredients into a memorable feast, as many can attest.  Most Saturday nights were gatherings of family and friends, sitting down to a meal, rivaling the finest chefs in the land, with a beaming Dorothy heaping generous helpings of her creations on each and every plate.

Mom loved her gardens.  In late winter, the window sills crowded with fresh green plants eagerly awaited the arrival of spring.  She liked a large, tidy garden and no produce was allowed to go to waste, as her children well remember.  By fall the freezers were full and the pantry shelves stacked with jars of canning.  Dorothy loved her flower garden as well.  Pansies, gladioli, roses and Canterbury bells brightened her life and all those around her.

Dorothy loved to sew and work with yarn.  She pieced many quilts together and was always available for a quilting bee in the community.  For years, Mom supplied all the socks and mitts for the family from her quickly flashing knitting needles.  In later years, she took up hairpin crocheting.  In all, she produced over two hundred afghans, most of which she gave away.  Those who received one of these, knew they had met approval in Mom's eyes, and this was just another tangible way she shared her love with others.

Mom loved music.  A strong singer, her voice could be heard, clear and true in any meeting.  She loved her records, tapes and CD's of gospel music.

Dorothy loved her family.  Four grandchildren graced her life.  This next generation carries a priceless legacy, from a wonderful grandmother.  Many of her skills and ways are evident in them, whether inherent or learned from the master.

In the spring of 2002, Mom was diagnosed with bowel cancer and surgery was performed.  Over the next months as the disease progressed she became increasingly weaker, but through the entire ordeal, her cheerful smile remained.  If you asked her condition, the answer was always "Oh pretty good."  On April 4th, 2003 at 2:07 am she finally surrendered her life and was promoted to glory.  Our loss here is difficult, but Heaven's choir no doubt is ringing with a new and wonderful alto voice.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful woman. The preacher, not so much.


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