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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Eulogy For Edith





The photos above are from the 'Celebration of Life' Service for Harold's and my Mother, that was held on October 23rd in Truro, Nova Scotia. The top three were the flat screen panels announcing the details, inside the funeral home. There is a picture of the table with family flowers and one from a company that Harold (my brother) works with in Saskatchewan, Western Canada. The last pic is of the cousins we share here in the east, following the services.

Mother’s Eulogy Notes

First, thank you for being a part of Mother’s life, and for the support you have given Harold and me, as well as our families, over the years. Your being here today and last evening is testament to the decision Mother made a long time ago, to stay here in Truro where she came in the early 1950s.

This is a great place to call home, and I have said more than once that where ever Lynnda and I live, it is nothing more than our home-away-from-home. Mom knew this and decided to never leave. She developed loving relationships here in what became Her Hometown.

Mother was successful in so many ways… as a golfer and youth golf coach; as nurse, and later as a palliative caregiver; as a bridge player and as a friend to many people. She had an influence on many folks, and the stories we have heard since her passing bear witness to this.

Her life successes were normally achieved with a level of modesty and stoicism that is rare… in the closing days of her life on earth, she seldom complained or asked for pain medication when it was obvious that things were very painful. I spent a lot of time with Mother through those five months since she was diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer… it was a real learning experience, although it was her stoicism that I learned the most from...

This stoicism is not what Harold and I remember from early in our lives… I remember one hockey night in Truro, Harold and I were both kicked out of a Bearcat game… we went to our dressing room… Harold showered and said he was going out to watch the rest of the game… next thing I know is that he had gone to the other team’s dressing room where he continued a fight that had originated in the penalty box… I got there and three guys were whaling on Harold… I got to one of them and had him pinned up on a wall; I was about to start pounding on him and suddenly a face popped up in between the guy and me… it was Mom… she said a few words meant to ensure I didn’t hit the guy, they had the desired impact, and probably saved us from further pain from someone bigger than her.

Have you heard the ‘Brick in the Purse’ story? It is worth repeating, one last time… Harold was playing for the Bearcats in the East Hants Arena, against the Penguins… it was a playoff game with a full house. Mother, along with some brave Bearcat fans were in the stands when some East Hants fans were hounding Harold along the boards in front of them… Mother whacked one of them with her purse… the guy wheeled around with his fist cocked to hit whom ever had whacked him… this is when the Bearcat fans stepped in, and Robbie Cook’s Father said “Edie, this is where the men take over!” a melee ensued, police were called and it spilled onto the ice… no charges laid.

Fast forward to the next game in the playoffs a few days later… apparently Mother didn’t hit the guy hard enough, because the Bearcat fans presented her with a brick to go in her purse for the next game… the fans were much more respectful!

There is the ‘Dora’ Story as well. Mother always signed her name Edith “H” MacLane… she just didn’t like here middle name. In fact, until she died, I doubt anyone in Truro knew her middle name other than her maiden Hyndman. A few years back, Lynnda and I were looking for a place in Florida where we could retire one day… we came upon the beautiful village of Mount Dora. It is all of 148 feet above sea level, but in Florida that is the equivalent of a mountain, I guess. Anyway, we went to a t-shirt shop and bought one that had “I CLIMBED MOUNT DORA” emblazoned on the breast… we presented it to Mother… she wasn’t all that amused, but wore it at least once… but not outside!

Golf was at the center of Mother’s life… whether it was her playing; her young friends learning; Arnie or Tiger on the TV, or reminiscing about the many trips to Florida or fine courses she played with her friends here in Nova Scotia or the Maritimes. Her Hole in One in Florida was a significant highlight… on a par three with her three wood… never a long hitter, but always in the fairway, and great around the greens. She was most proud to be a member of the Truro Golf Club and volunteering as score-keeper for the club championships or other tournaments. She was women’s club president, and president of the Nova Scotia Ladies Golf Association… I remember how worried she was taking on those responsibilities… but as usual, she mastered them, and truly enjoyed those periods of her life.

Mother was also a traditionalist when it came to nursing. She was very proud of having graduated from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. She wore that nursing pin on her uniform all the way through her nursing career… yes, I said uniform… she wore crisp whites, starched and hand ironed to perfection until she retired, and she was just as formal about every aspect of nursing… except for the patient’s emotional needs… she really cared about her patients. And she really cared about her fellow nurses on 3rd North. Countless times she came home from work exhausted, but excited about this patient or that co-worker who was getting or doing better. In the last five months, when Mother was in the hospital, and we were here in Truro with her, we heard many testimonials to this central part of her career and life.

Over the years, Lynnda and I lived most of our lives together in the USA and Europe. When we came home, Mother liked to go for drives around the town, to experience the subtle changes that were occurring. And she really enjoyed the Palliser, but liked the less notable places where the staff was always helpful… the Wooden Hog, the Emporium, and Murphy’s Fish and Chips. But it was the Chinese food that she loved the most… we had a feast of it on her birthday a month ago.

I want to thank the many people who have communicated to us in various ways this past couple of days. You have validated Mother’s belief that Truro and its people are wonderful. Mother was incredibly appreciative of the care she got at the hospitals in which she was a patient… the nurses, LPNs, and other caregivers… Thank you! To the physicians and their staff, all a part of a very caring healthcare team here in the province… Thank you! To the friends from The Windsor Way Apartments who didn’t stop caring and calling right to the end… Thank you! To the staff and friends at Parkland, where Mother spent the last years of her life, and where she called home, thank you! There were more people than imaginable who kept in touch, and we appreciate it… and to Harold and our family… thank you for being there, and here… Mother appreciated it.

It would be inappropriate to close without mentioning the impact that the First United Church, and especially its ministers have had on Mother’ spiritual and intellectual life. Names like McQueen, Mumford, McNaughton and McLean have been interspersed in our conversations through every crisis Mother had… health or family. Mother believed deeply in God, and in the here and the after of her religion. She didn’t wear it on her sleeve, but it was in her heart. Thank you to the church, the elders who keep it going and the ministers who help us understand this life, and this death

Thank you all.



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Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!