A Tribute to Mothers

(L-R) Gerry, G-Grandma, Mom, Grandma, Joan

I've been thinking about this post all week wondering if I was ready to write it. Unfortunately, my mother unexpectedly died of cancer on August 9, 2009, and coming to terms with it has been a long process.

My mother was born on December 30, 1940, in Viking, Alberta, where she grew up. Unfortunately, I only visited that little town two hours south-east of Edmonton when we buried her ashes last June. It gave me one more piece to the puzzle of my mother's life. I was able to see the farmhouse where she grew up, the endless prairie and the great big beautiful Alberta sky that she woke up to every morning. As you'll also see below, in a small-wooded area we also found  the remains of my grandfather's model-T, which was apparently a source of embarrassment for my mother.

Viking was not the original homestead. My great grandparents came to North America from Finland and the original parcel of land they were given was in Jenner, in Palisser's Triangle, which in spite of its rich soil was unsuitable for agriculture. My great grandfather, who was apparently shrewd, managed to get rid of it and buy land in Viking. For reasons unknown to me, returning to Viking for a visit was never high on my mother's list of priorities until a few years before she died.

Grandma in front of the Model-T
Although both my parents are from Alberta and British Columbia respectively, I spent my entire life without any extended family growing up in Eastern Canada. But strangely enough, as I discovered last year, I feel very much at home in the west.

The Remains of the Model-T
My mother still returned to Alberta once a year to visit her family, but she spent most of her life in Ontario, attending college there and later graduating from Carleton University with a BA in Art History. For the last 25 years of her life, she lived in a village south of Ottawa, a farming community much like the one she grew up in. She belonged to countless clubs and organizations, working  tirelessly as a local historian.

We really miss her, especially her grandchildren who have endless questions about crafts, which I'm at a loss to answer. This post is for my mother and my grandmother, who are probably having breakfast together somewhere.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!



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