My Mom and Canada Day

I’ve always had a tough time remembering my mom’s birthday.

Mom was born a couple of days after Canada Day and I was usually off in La La Land celebrating the end of school, moving, or doing lord knows what before I remembered that her birthday was just around the corner.

All that changed this year when Mom passed away suddenly the day before Canada Day.  While my friends were exchanging Happy Canada Day texts, my family was sorting through funeral arrangements.  From this point onward Canada Day will be bookended by the day Mom was born and the day she died.

There’s a harmonic logic to this.  Mom immigrated to Canada after WW2.  She was young and intelligent.  She knew her future lay in Canada, not Europe.  She got married, had children and devoted her life to ensuring her girls had the support they needed to succeed.

She was proud to be a Canadian citizen.  She was never “too busy” for politics and voted in every election because she knew from personal experience that our rights and freedoms could go up in smoke if we didn’t pay attention.

flag-heart-3d-250From now on when I think of Canada Day I will think of the generous country that gave my mom a chance to live a rich and beautiful life.

Thank you Canada.  Thank you Mom.

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58 Responses to My Mom and Canada Day

  1. Elaine Fleming says:

    What a beautiful tribute, Susan. My condolences to you and your family.

  2. Einar Davison says:

    Susan you have my deepest sympathy, and sorrow for your loss. My mother was born on Remembrance Day 1931 and every Remembrance day I think of her more than any other day. I remember what a great mom she was and how she always sacrificed for us. All mom’s are special but some are even more so, I suspect your mom was one of these and you will always have wonderful thoughts of her even though you might miss her. Take care!

    • Thank you Einar for sharing your special story. My sisters and I have wonderful memories of my mother. One minute she’d be talking politics, the next minute she was dancing to Freddy Mercury’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Amazing woman.

  3. J.E. Molnar says:

    My heartfelt condolences on your loss. Your mom sounds like she took democracy seriously and raised some truly great kids. May your mother’s memory long burn in your heart.

    • Thank you J.E. for that beautiful sentiment. She was very insightful. When the Americans invaded Iraq she dryly pointed out that the people the Americans labelled as “terrorists” were likely considered “freedom fighters” by the locals. Indeed.

  4. Peter says:

    Condolences to you and your family.

    As a child immigrant who has now spent 63 years in this beautiful and liberal democratic country I completely concur with the sentiments you expressed.

    • Thank you Peter. My mother witnessed the introduction of socialized medicine. My father was injured on the job and availed himself of worker’s compensation. They understood the importance of the social safety net. Sometimes it takes having nothing to make you understand the importance of what you have and why you have to fight for it.

  5. Duncan Cameron says:

    My sincere condolences on the loss of your mother Susan. May your memories always be in the spirit of what you wrote and shared today. Warm regards, Duncan Cameron

    • Thank you Duncan. My sisters and I shared so many wonderful memories as we sat by her bedside over the last few days. She has had a lasting impact on our lives and the lives of our children.

  6. Susan Hughes says:

    Please accept my sincere condolences, Susan. Your mother sounds like a wonderful person, a life well-lived and an example to all of us to be grateful we live in Canada. I sure your mother had quite an impact on your life, as witnessed by your keen interest in politics! I really enjoy your analyses!

    My father passed away this past January and through the process of preparing for the funeral and talking to people, I learned a lot about the impact my father had on others.

    Susan Hughes


    • Thank you Susan. I agree with your comment about preparing for your father’s funeral, it’s an odd hiatus that gives us the space to share stories and learn more about our parents. Invariably we learn that they were so much more than just “mom” or “dad”.

  7. I’ve very sorry to hear of your loss, Susan. It’s a lovely column.

    • Thank you Donald. She was an incredibly intelligent woman. She spent her last few years in a long term care facility. While the other residents were engaged in gentle exercise she was scooting around in her wheelchair looking for the newspaper so she could figure out what that nut who was president of the US was up to. She could never remember his name but she couldn’t stand the man.

  8. Thank you for these wonderful words, Susan, about our Wonderful Mom. I smile every time I think about her and what she did for us over the years.

  9. Linda, she certainly had her hands full with us four girls and yet she met the challenge of our unique personalities in exactly the right way. I’ll see you soon little sister 🙂

  10. Katie Pearlman says:

    Beautiful sentiment and so sorry for your loss.

  11. Survivor says:

    Our thoughts and prayers with you at this time. Regardless of one’s age, death is a loss and we wish you all the best during this time.

  12. Anita says:

    Very nice sentiments about your Mom and good to always remember what a privileged it is for those of us lucky enough to live in Canada.

    • You’re right Anita. My mom never forgot how privileged she was to be here. She was grateful to the Canadian government that allowed her older sister to sponsor her. She was grateful for all the social supports that made her family’s life a little easier and when she finally became too frail to stay in her own home, she was grateful to the staff in the publicly run long term care facility who made her last few years a joy. An incredible woman.

  13. Jennifer Koshan says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Susan. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman.

    • Thank you Jennifer, she was deeply curious about humanity. She was in her 70s when she learned her neighbour’s son was gay. She’d known this boy, now a man, for years. She was surprised but more important, extremely supportive, saying it really wasn’t anyone’s business who we love.

  14. Delphine Jamieson says:

    Susan, I’m so sorry to hear if the loss of your mom. These are beautiful sentiments and memories of your mom. A heartfelt tribute to your mom – she had four wonderful daughters! Our heartfelt condolences to you and your sisters and all your family as you work through this difficult time. She reminds me a lot of my mother. Hugs, Delphine and Walter.

  15. Delphine, thank you. Your mother and my mother had many characteristics in common, wisdom, kindness and a wonderful sense of humour. They would have gotten along very well.

  16. jay says:

    My condolences on your loss. It’s a beautiful tribute.

  17. Anne McClure says:

    This is a beautiful tribute post.

  18. Carlos Beca says:

    My deepest sympathies Susan. Like you I had the privilege of having a wonderful Mom.

  19. Peg Hofmann says:

    Peg & Deb say:
    Our deepest condolences to you Susan at this time of the loss of your mom. We feel honoured that you shared so personally in your Soapbox and am reminded, particularly at this time when some situations in the world have not been kind to mothers/parents and the children they love and cherish. Your mom sounded quite special as did your relationship with her. Lots to cherish there!

    We can’t thank you enough for your constant revealing of the conundrums, failures, deceits and sometimes ludicrous things happening in Canada’s political scene. Valuable contribution to the political discourse! Our thoughts are with you. Peg & Deb.

    • Peg and Deb, thank you. When I started to write the tribute I immediately thought about all the children who have not been as fortunate as me and my sisters. As you said there are many places in the world which are not kind to parents and their children. But we’re here, we will fight for them.

  20. Jane Walker says:

    Sincere sympathy and loving regards to you at this very special time, Susan! Reflections on the connection to one’s mother begins a journey filled with most special memories and even some surprises. You have been influenced in more ways than one can imagine .. it sounds as if you truly have been kindred spirits!
    To this day, I miss our mom more than words can say. You will never get over this loss but you will adjust. Blessings to you and your sisters, Susan!

    • Thank you Jane. Your comment about “kindred spirits” twigged a thought. My mother had four girls with a 13 year age gap between the eldest (me) and the youngest. We’re all very different and yet my mother managed to be the “right” mom for each one of us.

  21. RED says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Sending lots of hugs and love. ❤

  22. John Gulak says:

    Susan, a lovely reflection on your mother – and my sincere condolences.

    • John, thank you. She was a courageous woman who escaped from Hungary in the dead of night carrying false documentation in search of a better life in Canada. I get chills up my spine just thinking about what would have happened to her if she’d been caught.

  23. C.J. Papoutsis says:

    A beautiful tribute. My sincere sympathy to your family for your loss. May her memory be eternal. From what I’ve heard she was a wonderful woman and an amazing role model.

    • Thank you CJ. She was indeed an amazing role model. She brought us up to be self-reliant, saying women had to be able to take care of themselves so they wouldn’t be dependent on their husbands. It was excellent advice.

  24. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I miss my mom. She passed away, many years ago, when I was almost three years of age.

  25. Dwayne says:

    Susan: What a nice tribute. May your mom rest in peace.

  26. Oh Dwayne, how sad. My sisters and I were very lucky. We have a lifetime of memories.

  27. Edison says:

    She sounds just like my mom was. We both are similarly blessed, and so very lucky

  28. Edison says:

    She sounds just like my mom was
    We are similarly blessed, and both so very lucky

    btw, my mom was born April Fools Day which always cracked us kids up

    • Thank you Edison, your note made me smile. My youngest daughter was also born on April Fools Day. We used to call her our little April fool, but she soon caught on and made us stop. 🙂

  29. Dr. Robert C Dickson says:

    Lovely tribute, thanks!

  30. jerrymacgp says:

    Heartfelt condolences to you and yours at your loss. Sounds like she truly valued being Canadian, something we should all now value more than ever, given the state of the world today. I sometimes wonder whether those of us who were born here truly understand how lucky we are.

    • Thank you Jerry. My mom used to ask the same question. She worked hard to ensure we understood just how lucky we were to be born in Canada and how important it was that we stayed engaged in politics (vote!!!) to protect our way of life.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Susan you were right about my Mom – she was not born here and she never actually lived here. She visited Canada a few times and she use to love going to the mountains with me. Like your mother she was an extraordinary human being. I miss her tremendously. Her compassion for those that are less fortunate than us was what defined her to me as an amazing person.

        The way politics are heading here I think that voting is going to be the least of our worries. We can easily have dictatorships with a voting system. I had the privilege of living under a such a system where the voting cards had one choice.

        I can feel the mounting aggression by people like the new Ford in Ontario and the influence of Harper who is now openly supporting dictators and anti-democratic ideologies. I remember when he became prime minister the talk about his hidden agenda and I never doubt it but fortunately our system was strong enough to withstand it but he certainly used his skills to knock it as far as he could so that others can finish the job. The attack on the Supreme Court was an example. The strategy is to get people used to the attacks and lack of respect so that they can then move to another level. It is disgusting but that is what Ford and Jason Kenney are ready to do. They have no respect for democracy whatsoever, at least what we understand It to be.

        I believe we have a lot of work ahead of us. Democracy cannot be taken for granted but it is in Canada – I certainly do not think Canada is a democracy but whatever is left is in great danger.

  31. Erin says:

    Sincerest condolences to you and your family, Susan. Thank you for sharing – I think it’s really important that we share these stories, and continue to educate each other on the importance of, and positive impacts of, immigrants and refugees to Canada. Your mom’s greatest legacy is surely her amazing family!

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