Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22, 2013 - Two years later

This is a week of anniversaries…

Today marks two years since Mom left us.

Forty years ago she helped me with last minute preparations for my wedding which was just four days away. 

April 26, 1975

Mom was an optimistic and visionary person. Grandma used to tell me that Mom performed in piano recitals but sometimes made mistakes and stumbled in her performance. The missed fingering didn’t stop her and she persevered with enthusiasm and confidence to the end. As a young child, she organized her things for school the night before without prodding and was always ready for the day ahead. She loved to be around people, was a leader and wasn’t the least bit shy. And so she was as an adult too.

I remember her singing joyfully as she did housework. She played the piano in the afternoon after she finished making dinner while waiting for Dad to come home. Our family ran on schedule whether we were in a house, on a ship, or on the road. She had 5 children, crossed the ocean 4 times, lived and worked in two different cultures, all by the age of 32. She must have been exhausted at times but I never heard her complain. She and Dad left Canada with my three younger brothers shortly after my wedding and started a new life and ministry in Mexico. 

Sometimes her eternal optimism and extroverted personality were at odds with my more timid and reserved nature and she pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I mostly appreciate the prodding now even though I didn’t at the time. 

Life was not always easy but Mom never lost her joy, optimism and hope for the future. In later years she sometimes mentioned things from the past she would do differently, but old mistakes did not keep her from moving ahead. She never really accepted that she was dying as her bucket list had several more items she wanted to cross off. The physical difficulties of her last few years and the emotional distress they caused are still foremost in my mind. Memories of earlier events, stored in the attic of my mind and shaded by the curtain of time, come to light randomly. 

She lives on in me, in my brothers, our children and their children. She modelled what it meant to be a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend and a servant of God. We learned from her successes and her missteps. The virtues and values she instilled in us need to be nurtured, especially her ability to move ahead in faith in the face of difficulty and uncertainty.

Philippians 4

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


  1. I trust that with this time of looking back,come many wonderful memories.

  2. Ruth, such a sweet post. Even after years, in fact it is 24 years since my mother died, I still note the day and celebrate her wonderful love and life.

  3. This picture reminds me of the first time I saw Grandma Tolman brush her hair, I don't remember how old I was, it was in Mexico though. It seemed so impossibly long to me at the time to fit up into the bun she wore it in. I told her (without understanding at the time whatever reasons she had for wearing it up) that she should leave it down because it looked magical. She joked that she couldn't leave it down or she would be mistaken for a witch.

    I love this picture of the two of you very much. <3


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