Continuing education: Why a Royston woman became a carpenter

It was a natural promise; one that many would make under the circumstances.

Mo Nordstrom donned a carpenter’s tool belt to fulfil a promise she made to her dying husband.

Mo Nordstrom turned to NIC for training so she could continue the renovation of her Royston home after her husband passed away. Her story was recently featured in a Chatelaine magazine feature on the choices women make.

After all, her husband Rick was the key player and “I was support staff.”

“We planned to move into this old house and fix it up step by step,” she said, perched on her couch in front of a collection of photos showing various stages of home renovation.

But in an instant their plans were forever altered after Rick had a seizure and was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, a glioblastoma multiforme. Their focus changed from renovations to precious time together.

“Before he died, I promised him I would finish the house. I would finish what we started.

It was a natural promise; one that many would make under the circumstances.

But when Mo first ventured into Rick’s workshop alone, she realized the enormity of her pledge. Sure, she could hire contractors to work with her on large projects, but what Mo really wanted was to be more self-sufficient. When she heard that her next door neighbour, Dale, was enrolling in a construction foundation program at North Island College she decided she would sign up as well.

“When I first arrived at NIC and saw the carpentry shop I was like, wow, this is it. This is where I’m supposed to be,” Mo said.

It wasn’t long before she flourished in the previously foreign and intimidating environment and learned not only how to operate her husband’s tools, but her own.

“When I started, I thought I’d be the last person in the room to get hired. I don’t feel that way anymore. I now have a skill set I can bring to the workforce.”

It was a transformational shift from that first foray into Rick’s workshop.

“If there is an opportunity to work outside, to swing a hammer and stay fit, that’s the best job for me. It’s the first time in my life I’m not responsible for anybody’s happiness but my own and I’ve decided not to allow guilt or worry or resentment into my life. It’s a waste of time — and it makes your face wrinkly,” she said with a laugh.

Instead, Mo focuses on finding a piece of joy in every day, from working on small construction projects to sharing precious time with family and friends in her backyard. Following her late husband’s advice, she makes room each day for two things — laughter and fresh air.

“The biggest thing I learned is everybody dies but not everybody truly lives so I don’t waste any time,” she said. “It’s very liberating to know that today is a gift, to be healthy and active, I don’t take it for granted.”

Just Posted

Transitioning back into the world

Courtenay man had been living outdoors before starting Sally Ann program

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

Comox Valley Santa’s Workshop in need of bicycles for youngsters, gifts for teens

Santa’s Workshop, at 464 Puntledge Road (formerly the Red Cross building), is… Continue reading

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Liquor store robbery suspect arrested

The Comox Valley RCMP have identified the suspect in relation to the… Continue reading

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Most Read