Sunday, May 09, 2010

Bob*: Eulogy for Mom

IMG_1026Let me begin by quoting an excerpt from an email I received from an old classmate, Lee Hope, upon hearing of Mom’s passing: “Losing one’s mom is unlike any other loss we have, and I think, you being the only boy, Bob, I know you held a special place in her life and loves … I spent considerable time remembering her, especially in those years when she was raising a family and busy contributing to her community in all kinds of ways. She and Mom shared their joys and sorrows of life in a friendship that lasted many years…”

Our mother was as sweet a person as you would ever wish to meet. One could not ask for a more loving, downright interested and dedicated mother. She loved baseball, curling and hockey and whatever book you were reading. Being a tiger on the roads, hers was the ride of choice for many of us traveling to sporting events in other towns before school buses. We always arrived first. She must have been fast, because according to our Dad she was never ready to leave on time for anything. She had to make sure the house was tidy in case anyone visited while she was away. That was our Yellow Rose of Texas.

Mom was a woman who lived her beliefs and never compromised them. She was respected by all who knew her for her commitment and dedication to God and the church. She always seemed to see the good in people and gave some of the most incredible reasons that might explain bad behavior in others. For many of those her prayers have since been answered and all is well.

For those who grew up in Spiritwood in the ‘40s and ‘50s, we were privileged to be raised by a wonderful group of neighborhood mothers: Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Hope, Mrs. Konsmo, and my second mom Mrs. Sidoruk, aong others. We didn’t need ‘neighborhood watch’ or marked safe houses. They were all safe houses and, of course, a place for a good lecture if it was required. In Spiritwood your deeds never went unnoticed and the word often beat you home. The end of an era indeed.

I know that at heaven’s gate there would have been the sounding of trumpets and the singing of angels as a dear one was welcomed home to join our father and the others. I can only pray that we will all be worthy of joining them when we too shall pass.

Rest in peace, dear one, and thank you for your love and prayers. They will be sorely missed.


*Lorrie and Bob were not able to come back from Australia for the funeral. But they were in Canada for a family wedding—in the rain!—in August.

Lorrie: Eulogy for second Mum

IMG_2088 My name is Lorrie Bowes* and I am married to Robert.

I have said many times in the past that it has been a wonderful gift from God to have been a part of the Elmer and Madge Bowes family. And so as I write this my heart is filled with a mixture of  sorrow and joy.

Sorrow because I am saying goodbye to a lady who was my second Mum for 38 years. A lady who was so like my Mum with her strong belief in God and her  quiet Christian ways. After my Mum passed away I blamed God for many years but Madge, in her quiet, gentle and loving way, was able to help me heal and I came to realize that while I had lost one mother I had been blessed with a wonderful “second Mum.” She was always there when you needed her—whether it was to give you a hug or just listen to you talk—she would always make the time no matter what she was in the middle of doing or what time of the day or night you turned up. She listened and guided but never criticized although there were many times when I am sure she wanted to.

I loved her and I thank her for so lovingly including me in her wonderful family. I thank her also for being such a wonderful example of

doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

So in spite of the sorrow, I also feel joy in knowing that she is at peace, but more importantly I am convinced that she has been welcomed with the words

“well done thou good and faithful servant.”

That is as good as it gets and that is no less than “our Mum” deserves.


*Lorrie and Bob were not able to come back from Australia for the funeral.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Sherry: Eulogy for Mom

Dust&Sabs_wedding 015 a Mom had a gift for seeing the good in everyone and truly loved each of us for the individuals we are. And if I were to describe my relationship with Mom, I would call her friend.

Friends are fun and people one likes to go on adventures with. Whether going on an adventure through one of Mom’s captivating stories or, ad Bob said, “venturing out with the tiger on wheels,” Mom was a fun companion. I had many adventures with Mom, but since I am limited to only one I will share this one with you.

One morning I woke up to discover that I’d slept in. Running down the stairs from my bedroom I hollered at mom, “I’m going to be late—could you please drive me?!” Looking up from her coffee cup Mom said, “Oh Sherry, I can’t, I’m still in my pajamas!” I pleaded, “Please Mom—I can’t be late this morning!” So, realizing my dilemma, Mom grabbed the car keys and, clad only in her housecoat and slippers—curlers in her hair, we hopped into the car and headed down the highway. We turned off the highway and were rapidly approaching the intersection beside the school when I began to be concerned at the speed with which we were approaching. I was thinking, “Sheesh, Mom, I know I’m late but shouldn’t we be slowing down?” Just then I noticed that even though Mom was madly pumping the brakes, we weren’t slowing down!  I also noticed a school bus lumbering along and about to collide with us should we keep going the same speed. Thus I yelled, “Goose it Mom!”

Mom tromped on the gas, sending us back into our seats like were were on some kind of circus ride, and as we cleared the intersection just in the nick of time, Mom’s next dilemma was how to get slowed down enough so as not to end up in the trees at the end of the street, for at that time the street beside the school was not yet a through-way. The only thing Mom could do was ‘peel donuts’—well ‘squeal donuts’ might be a better term—until we had lost enough momentum that we could finally coast to the edge of the street and park the car beside the school.

All of the ‘smokers’ used to gather at the end of the school facing the trees, since there were no houses there yet and huts, there was less chance of getting caught. As we pulled alongside the school I looked up to see a line of guys standing there, mouths agape, cigarettes in hand, looking dumbfounded at this spectacle before their eyes! Poor Mom stared wide-eyed ahead and as the reality of what had happened hit home I could read mom’s mind: “How in the world am I going to get home looking like this?” Just then a white knight appeared in the form of Bill Andres, a bus driver. Seizing the opportunity, immediately after Bill had dropped off his kids Mom jumped out of the car, ran to his bus and begged a ride home.

Friends are fun, and yet a true friend doesn’t always say what you want to hear—rather they say what you need to hear.

With the stresses of these past few weeks and as we stood and watched as our beloved Mom lay slipping away before our eyes, and with the reality closing in that she was, in fact, dying, it was difficult not to want to lash out at anyone who might be perceived as a threat to the little bit of strength she had left. In writing my portion of this eulogy, I was reminded of what she would have said to me had she seen my reaction to those around me in my panicked state of mind. She would have said, “Sherry, if I was not responding to those around me with kindness because of my state of being, my dad would say, ‘Madgy, Madgy! It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it!’”

I have learned so many, many good things about life and loving from my mother, and it should only seem fitting that on her dying bed she had taught me yet another lesson to be cherished, and that is, no matter what life brings—be it waking up late and having your day start off bad, or having a child rope you into doing something for them that you would rather not do, or finding yourself panicked because of ‘no brakes’—whatever the case may be, one can choose to act, and treat others with dignity and grace, even when one is facing something as monumental as death.

Linda: Mom’s Eulogy

Aunt Linda & Grandma Mom enjoyed so many things of a creative nature. She sewed for us, reupholstered our old furniture, made quilts and crocheted, could play the piano and guitar. One of my favourite childhood memories is of lying in my bed at night listening as mom played the piano and dad the violin or harmonica, singing around the piano. Madge kitchen coffeeBut of all the interests, talents and gifts mom possessed, there was none she enjoyed so much as having people over. She truly had the gift of hospitality and almost every Sunday after church, if we were home, she invited someone for dinner. Not lunch, but dinner with all the trimmings. Tea and coffee were always on.

My family certainly benefited from her generous nature and at one time ended up staying three months with them. This was not uncommon as others in the family had similar experiences. Someone said they had said to mom, “How can I ever repay you for all you’ve done?” Mom replied, “You won’t need to repay me. Just pass it on.”

And it was always fun at Mom and Dad’s. Mom and Dad shared a great sense of humor and a repartee that was so much fun to watch and listen to. Dad got such a kick out of mom and no one could bring a sparkle to mom’s eyes and make her laugh like dad could, right until the day he passed away.

Mom was like the family dispatcher, getting all of us, including Dad, ready to go somewhere, sending us off or taking us to one thing or another. I remember one time she came to Rosetown to babysit while Glenn and I went on a trip. One morning at about 8:30 Rick casually mentioned to Grandma that he needed 25 bags of popcorn for a school popcorn and candy sale that morning. I can just imagine Mom’s gasp as she realized she would never be able to get that done by 9:00. She sent them all off and delivered the popcorn to the school in time for the sale. Rick said her popcorn sold first. She asked him how he knew that, and he said because there were butter spots on the paper bags and so everyone knew it was buttered popcorn. She sure laughed about that.

Then there was the time Terry—or was it Tammy?—who always enjoyed Grandpa’s Sunday morning pancakes, said, “Grandpa, these are the best pancakes you ever made!” Grandma and Grandpa exchanged amused looks as Grandpa said with a chuckle, “Grandma made the pancakes this morning!”

Mom’s teaching, her wisdom, her love will always surround us. I would call her the Proverbs 31 woman: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all. Her children rise up and call her blessed.”

new song: My Mother’s Day by Colleen

For my mother and her sisters, who said good-bye to their own mother just a few weeks ago. I love you all very much.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Madge’s 91st birthday


Madge’s 91st birthday party in Idyllwild Lodge. Linda, Madge, Martin & Betty are joined by two other Lodge residents.