For myself I always knew if this sad event this year ever occurred Carolyn deserved a Legacy - a place anyone can visit and think about the great memories she gave us all. Carolyn worried in 2020 that her demise was sadly coming sooner than she wished. Funny thing is and typical of her she wanted to know what I planned to do with my life ending and how the family should carry out my wishes. I couldn’t get her to tell me what she wanted. Obviously a needed dialogue that never found a conclusion.
Memories are something that no one realizes at the time are part of your segments of life by decades.
Who would have thought that searching your head space about what life was like in the 1960s then arriving at today, with Carolyn we never experienced any voids of time. It passed by way too quickly.
Too many families take in my opinion the wrong direction regarding how to remember this very sol emn moment that should have substance for as long as possible. Thus this Bayview Mausoleum and the Rock Garden Memorial Bench.
“As empty Nesters we moved to a spectacular Condo beside Lake Ontario in 2005. At first Carolyn didn’t like the void of no gardens but she was worn out from all her hard work in the gardens over 27 years. But as with every thing else, she adopted to her new surroundings with vigour - travelling became 4 major trips a year and of course a great new addition - a weekend home in Collingwood. We were always in motion to somewhere.”
Meeting someone at age 5 is never in anyone’s Crys tal Ball to see growth and friendship forever.
One always feels it is the great memories that makes one look forward to expanding those cherished moments which will uncover even more of them - thanks Carolyn for hanging in for so long - we could have hit 90 years but as you always said only if you had your health and mobility. Vegging through the final years was never your wish.
There is no question that Carolyn fought the fight of her life over the last eight years. She has left us surprised, and reeling, but appreciative as we reflect on her undisputable impact. She has left us far too early, but without pain or suffering. Today, we want to talk about who she was, how wonderful she was, and how much Mom meant to us.
Carolyn was married to our dad Tom for 51 years, sadly, she passed away just five days before their 52nd wedding anniversary. Tom and Carolyn knew each other for almost 70 years, having met at Sum merlea Public School in 1950. Coincidentally, they were both born in Ottawa and somehow…ended up together in kindergarten class a few hours away. We have received so many touching notes from her friends, many of which included school mates from the early 50’s and 60’s. They described her as sporty, beautiful and full of life. It’s no surprise that she caught Tom’s eye. Our friends who remember our Mom describe her as strong and independent but also generous and with a big smile. She was all of those things.
Tom and Carolyn married in 1968 in Montreal and moved to Toronto where Erin, and then Stephanie were born. The house we were raised in was in Streetsville. Over 26 years, Mom planned her garden and took so much pride in the quiet retreat she had eventually created. We had flowers, bushes, vegetables growing and rows of raspberries which one of us would be tasked with picking (if we hadn’t already eaten them…). If you wandered around our home, you would always find a project that Mom had started but left unfinished – for now. Open the freezer and find a tray of frozen berries bound for a jam jar, a shoe box of photos meant for a scrap book or a collection of items she planned to donate or share. She sewed us Barbie clothes and she knit extra sweaters for our dolls. You come across these little mementos every now and again and wonder when she had the time. I’m touched by her drive to do the little things that meant so much.
Though –not everything was a grand slam… Remember the apple doll project? She would carve faces out of Macintosh apples, pop googly eyes in them and stitch them little outfits. They were creepy. I think we were all pretty happy when that project faded.
Mom’s curiosity got her involved in so many things that helped people too. The star on our Christmas tree was a gift from a family she’d worked with, teaching English to them when they moved to Canada. The years she spent volunteering as we grew up shows us the power of networking and contributing to your community and the things you involve yourself in. When we look back and remember the neighbourhood corn roasts, the Bread & Honey volunteering and recently, the walking groups and book clubs she joined she loved meeting and connecting with people and sharing stories. The Ladies were ‘The Girls’.
Mom was a sentimental and curious person, the kind who took lots of photos, marked every holi day and travelled extensively with Dad. When Erin and Oren would visit and offer to make dinner, she would stand in the kitchen asking about the ingredients and techniques instead of just putting her feet up. And even in the face of her unknown illness, Mom and Dad travelled to Spain, Costa Rica, Hilton Head, Greece, Rome and Israel – and that was just in 2019! She was adventurous and liked to push herself to maximize the moment, no matter what she was doing.
Stephanie and Christian’s kids, Autumn and Jack, were the source of a lot of excitement for Caro lyn. The kids would have sleepovers in Burlington, often over holidays like Canada Day. They would wear their ‘Canada gear’ Nana had organized and eat themed cupcakes while watching huge fire works shows. Erin and Oren would join the visits in Collingwood to see the kids, sure, but also to coordinate the dinner and keep her on a schedule because she got caught up in crafts and playing with the kids.
Mom loved just chatting with her grandchildren and getting to know them. She was curious about their school and friends. She was so excited to hear they’d started to take piano lessons. She thought it was fun that they tried oysters and hot sauce and went for weekend lunches for big bowls of ramen.
She treasured the art projects they left behind and bedtimes – which were usually much later than they should have been – because her bedtime stories would have props and other stories about the story she was telling.
A year ago, after the Christmas visit to Collingwood we stopped into the ski hill in Barrie for a bit of snow tubing before the kids went back to Toronto. Erin and I flew down the hill with Jack and Autumn while Mom watched. She was probably freezing, but she didn’t care. The day wasn’t complete without a run with all 5 of us. At 73 she didn’t hesitate to jump in and head to the top of the hill. We have a selfie that captures her spirit to a tee. Smiling widely and enjoying the moment. We weren’t surprised at all that she wanted a turn too. This was just a couple of months after her indoor skydiving day at iFly. Carolyn loved adventure.
Mom insisted that things were done right. Every detail was paid attention to, regardless of the task. She’d stay up late, “puttering” as she poked around the house finishing up little projects and sending one-last-email at 11:30 at night.
We joked that she had terrible time management skills. Actually, she was just really busy. She was busy planning family parties, sharing photos with friends and just keeping in touch. She was busy doing all of the little things that mean so much.
Rock Garden Memorials - Located at M09 & M10 at Main Building at outside entrance rear of building.
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