Our wonderful Mom slipped peacefully away from our world on August 30, 2015.
Mom, at the age of 90, was the last survivor of 10 siblings. Her Swedish father and Norwegian mother had come to Canada a generation before. They farmed in Wadena, Saskatchewan through the depression. Mom grew up in a sod hut on the prairies and was always grateful for what she had in life.
She came to the coast when her sister in Victoria was having a baby and they needed Mom to milk the goats, so we always chuckled about the goats bringing her to Vancouver Island.
She married Alan Pottage in 1947. Dad bought her a piano as an engagement gift and playing piano became her love and escape. She could learn to play anything she heard on the radio, and she played at many dances in her earlier years, and continued playing piano daily for over 60 years.
In 1951, Mom and Dad moved from Cordova Bay to Miracle Beach – a fairly wild forest with few people living in the area. She worked alongside Dad, pioneering and clearing half of the 300 acre farm, and raising a family besides.
Mom would ask us kids to take coffee down to the fields where Dad was working. We smiled as we passed him the thermos, and watched him struggle to take off the lid that Mom always screwed on so tightly. He’d mutter, “Damn Swede wife” but he was proud of her strength too!
Some of our city cousins remember as kids, how much they enjoyed their stay on the farm, where Mom taught them how to make pies, plant and tend a garden, and cook and prepare a garden fresh meal.
Our favorite memories include the family gatherings with Mom’s many brothers and sisters in Victoria. Live music, laughter, food, dancing and more music! They’d party all night long as the multitude of us cousins played together till the wee hours on these once-a-year family occasions.
Mom became a very good artist. Her beautiful landscapes and nature paintings are a wonderful legacy.
By 2010 Mom’s dementia had changed her life and she needed help, and moved to the Comox Valley Seniors Village. We thought she would be afraid of Nurse Oly, because her dementia brought up a fear of men. At their first meeting, she was sitting in a chair, when Oly came up and squatted down in front of her to welcome her there – typical of his kind, friendly, gentle person – and she quickly became fond of him.
Mom’s was a happy dementia, and she thrived on the love she got from the caregivers in the seniors home. Dad moved into the same seniors complex, and came to visit her almost every day till he passed in 2012.
Marco, Sandy, Sharon and Christine are some of the exceptional staff who loved and cared for Mom over the 4 & 1/2 years she was in the complex. The care aids and nurses became her family and friends, and I know she appreciated all the hugs, laughter, fun and love the staff gave her.
A big thank you from us, and from Mom’s happy spirit – now dancing in the clouds and playing piano in the stars. And when you hear a cricket, as we did the night she passed, that’s her musical way of letting us know she’s alright. Thanks Mom! From the kids: Gaileen, Larrie and Murphy.