Monday, February 11, 2013

going home...

A dear relative of my wife, her great-aunt, passed away today in Calgary.   She was 98 years old.

When we last visited with her last Wednesday at the nursing home, she had not eaten a good ten days or so, and had her eyes closed the whole time. Her bedsore wounds had become so unbearable that she was under medication to ease the pain, but we sensed that she knew we were all there as she garnered enough strength to blurt out "bye" after our teary goodbye greetings and prayers.

Although at times a difficult journey -- including life in the internment camp, the death of her first husband and enduring a difficult second marriage -- she lived a life rich in stories, many which my wife continues to recount to me with much longing. These stories usually revolve around the house near rural Redwater (north of Edmonton) where she lived alone for decades and well into her 80s. A vast cohort of relatives and friends of my wife's generation (mostly urban) were embraced wholeheartedly, spending time to experience the prairies as the prairies should be experienced -- on a farm. She had no children of her own, but took in all kinds of visitors under her gentle wing, often teaching new young immigrants from Japan (many who had never set foot on a farm in their lives) the joys of the vegetable garden and where to pick matsutake mushrooms.

That legacy flourishes to this day as many of our own friends trace their Christian spiritual journeys to those moments of time spent tending the garden and witnessing the fruit of their labour nurtured by the grace of God. I have only known her for ten years or so, but witnessing the beauty of that farm (sadly sold off several years ago) was a powerful event for me. It connected the humble history of the struggles and the joys of an entire ethnic Canadian community to my own, and somehow I was comforted to know that I too could make my life here on the prairies...

She was a rather quiet woman, a strong silent type, but often with a down-to-earth humour and playful wit. Her giggly laughter will always be remembered... and we are comforted to know that that is what she is doing in Jesus' presence as she worships Him in heaven.

No comments:

Post a Comment