On Sunday evening Sydney received a call from his brother, Nelson. Their mother, Dora, had just died after a battle with cancer that lasted nearly two years, and that involved surgery, rounds of chemo, and trips to Mexico for further treatment. A sudden change in her condition caused them to cancel their planned trip to visit us over Christmas, and things worsened this spring, which is why Sydney flew out to visit in February. Last week she was hospitalized, and we knew that there had been an even steeper decline, but her death still came as a shock to many family and friends.
A few hours after I arrived home from my trip to Pennsylvania, Sydney booked plane tickets, and we arrived in Nova Scotia late Monday night. Sydney will be giving the eulogy at his mother’s funeral today, which is also his daughter’s fifth birthday. Dora loved that her granddaughter’s birthday was only three days before her own. She would have been 59 on Sunday.
If you would like to learn a bit more about Dora, the obituary that Sydney wrote can be found here. We have been showered with condolences and help from friends and family, colleagues and students. I am taking off a week of classes–not an easy thing to do when we’re so close to the end of the semester–and colleagues have offered help of all kinds. One even picked my kids up and took them to school. My students have sent dozens of emails letting me know of their condolences and prayers for our family. David and Lisa came to our rescue and took care of the kids (in addition to their own four) until my parents arrived to take over from Iowa (a ten-hour drive).
Although we left the kids in Kentucky for practical reasons (Katherine’s passport is currently being renewed, among other things), I am reminded of them constantly. Dora filled her house with their pictures and drawings. She also insisted that her funeral be held in English, even though she comes from a German-speaking community. She knew that she had two English-speaking daughters-in-law, not to mention many friends in the wider community here, and she wanted to make sure that all felt welcome and included.