Be Sharing Your Story – Robyn (Corey’s sister/Violet’s Daughter)

Joanna,

I almost don’t know where to begin…We have been friends for…well…forever. I can’t really even remember a time that you and your family were not a part of my life. Clark Crescent holds so many wonderful memories for me. Spending time at your house was like my home away from home. Your Mom and Dad were always so welcoming and made me feel like an extension of your family. Swimming, sledding, birthday parties, creating crazy food concoctions, building forts in your basement, making workout videos…JoRob Fitness was amazing I might add…whatever we did we had a blast and your parents were there providing us with love and encouragement. I am picturing your Mom and her beautiful smile right now. She was always happy and laughing. I guess we gave her lots to laugh at 🙂

Volleyball was a big part of our high school years together. I remember the time your Mom and my Mom drove us down to Williams Lake for a volleyball camp. We tried hard not to let them leave us there but they stuck to their guns knowing that we would have fun in the end…and they were right. We ended up having a blast! Moms always know best I guess 🙂

Volleyball also makes me think of your pink volleyball uniform that your Mom accidentally washed with your red socks. That was so funny…you definitely stood out!

I see a lot of your Mom in you JJ. This you should be very proud of. When I think of your Mom I think fun, easy going, laughing, adventurous, supportive and loving. Throughout this journey I have seen all of these things in you. I agree with my brother, even though he called me annoying too…I am very appreciative of this blog and you taking us all along on this journey. None of this can be easy but you are making the best of every moment with your Mom and for that you should be very proud.

Please give your Mom and Dad hugs from me and tell them how special they are to me.

We love you and your family very much!!

PS – I’m going to try my best to dig up some fun old pictures for another post.

Be Sharing Your Story – Violet (Corey’s Mom)

Hi Joanna,

Your mom, Gwen, your dad, Mike, you & Michelle and of course your families are always in our thoughts, as you all move through this stage of your mother’s life.

I’m so glad that your mom and I were able to have a friend to friend visit in June at their house. It was great to see the beautiful yard and changes in the house since I’d last been there.

We have visited on the phone a couple of times since then. My last chat with your mom was just prior to us going to Edmonton for Thanksgiving. We had our usual long chat; once we started talking I forgot that she might be tired and chatted on-on-on. I was worried that I’d been tiring her out, after we hung up.

I have a few thoughts which I’d like to share.

Hi Gwen,

Thank you for being a such a sincere, valued friend for several decades. I’m so lucky that we ended up living on the same crescent for so many years. Your friendship is very special to me.

Thank you for not only being my friend but for sharing your family with us. You and your family were a special part of our lives.

I will always remember –

our times together at the skating rink
our helping at Heritage Elementary events
watching Corey, Michelle, Robyn and Joanna grow from preschool children, to elementary school, to teenagers in high school, to young adults in university, to getting married, to having children of their own
watching volleyball games together at home & away
listening to the DP Todd band ; being very proud of their participation; Mr. Mason & the band
tagging along on the band on trips
walking as fast as we could around the neighbourhood to get our exercise, chatting all the way ; even at 6:00 A.M.
visiting at one of our homes after the early Christmas Eve service at St. Andrews
the angels which Joanna & Robyn made at the Youth Group
the part which you played in Corey going to France for twenty-seven days
our chats over a cup of tea or at times a glass of wine
the kids enjoying each others company
including our children
I’ll never forget our trip home from Vernon after the girl’s volleyball tournament with the orange low gas light on for half of the way; we laughed all the way home wondering whether we were going to have to flag down the bus which the team was on
needless there are to many things to list so I will stop now

I’ve appreciated Joanna’s daily blog. It has brought tears but also smiles when reading the entries. It gave me the time to grieve but rejoice in your life and fight to live.

When the time comes I will be trying to smile, as you fly like a butterfly into the blue yonder.

You will be missed and remembered.

With love,
Violet

Be Going Inward

Transition.

Only a beautiful hi from mom this morning.

Down the path.

Moving forward.

Packed her bags.

Going Inward.

My Spirit sits with my mom.

I sit with my mom.

The scarf she knit around my neck.

My tear catcher and prayer shawl.

My Sexy Neck, my boys, my dad, my sister, C, Rea, Jamie, Marnie and Ron at my side.

Going Inward.

Waiting to see how this journey will be.

Knowing your love is holding us up.

Knowing mom is our guide.

She will do it her beautiful, thoughtful way.

Thank you world.

Thank you peeps.

Thank you for holding us close.

Thank you to my beautiful mom for letting me journey with her.

This is such an honour and privilege to be at her side.

I LOVE YOU MOM!

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Be Sharing Your Story – Don

Thanks for sharing your stories, Don.

Dear Mike, JJ, Steve, Michelle, Craig, Rea, and Families,

So many memories come back to me….eg; the story I related to you ,JJ, to tell your Mama about our time in Nice…so many, many good memories of our walks with her and with Art along the Promenade Des Anglais and our travels back and forth to our Hotel Trocadero from our French lessons!! I do hope you might still have my emailed story involving Brook Greenberg to relate to Michelle and Rea.

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It is hard to believe that the last time I saw you all was up at Sovereign x-c ski area…..on Boxing Day ….the same day of the horrible Tsunami in Indonesia….such a very long time ago !! I wonder if you might recall that meeting? I was skiing with my niece Katie.

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One of my indelible memories was of the surprise visit to the Vimy Memorial. Our bus was on its way to the Ferry at Calais and we had made good progress en route so had time to stop.
As we turned off the highway into the site….our bus driver( or our guide) told all of us that we were entering hallowed ground and the Memorial was actually legally a part of Canada located within France…. What I recall of our group was the almost complete silence….they were so respectful of what we were experiencing….everyone, when they said anything…spoke in hushed whispers…..and I vividly remember that there was not a sound from the whole bus for many, many minutes after we left this Memorial to our brave Canadian Soldiers.

A funny memory I have on that bus ride was the ‘impish’ Brook who decided to fix my hair with styling gel ….we were heading headed for the ferry, I believe…..not sure if any photos of that incident exist….I just sat in my seat as he styled my hair…I thought it was hilarious…wonder if your Mom, Michelle or Rea remember it?

The other incident occured in London….when 14 year old Marnie…and I think Tracy(?) decided to ‘ go out on the town ‘ .after we just returned to our hotel after a perfomance of Starlight Express. When Art or Gwen did a bed check…and discovered they were not in their room…well, were we worried??? !!!…and I remember Art and I going out on a dark London Street …flagging down a police car to ask if they had seen two girls out on the street . Can’t recall how how they got back , however, it all turned OK…. but for a time we were sure worried!!

I have a very funny slide of Rae trying to change at the beach in Cannes…with your Mom holding a beach mat around her…Kathy Jenkins also in the photo…..so many good, close-up slide photos of many of the group ..especially during the great afternoons sunning and studying(?) spent on the beaches…and also the fun at the water slides in nearby Antibes.

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The other funny story I related in an earlier email back in September, I think….was of Brook walking past Art, your Mom and me as we were enjoying une grande biere at a sidewalk cafe…it was a very hot, humid night …30 C at least ( Michelle or Rea…is Biere masculine or feminine??) I guess I could look it up in my French -English dictionary!! Brook said he was out late as he had been the Designated Walker for the evening ensuring that two of our girls made it back to their billets safely after the big beach party!!

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Be Sharing Your Story- Corey

Here’s another story of an old neighbour, old friend and great man. I am posting it even though he called me annoying.

Introducing Corey:

Joanna,

First, thank you for taking us on all this journey with you and your family. I grew up with you all at the end of the street. From walking to school with my lifelong friend Michelle and our annoying little sisters, who were also best friends 🙂 A group of us grew up in that house on the corner of Clark Crescent in the basement and in the pool. We went from toddlers to cut kinders to teenagers and then eventually left to find our way in the big world.

In life there are only a few people that really become “baked in” to your life and your family is like that for me. I can’t remember a time when your parents weren’t there for me when I was growing up. Gwen and Mike were always there to provide positive guidance and a smile and seemed more like friends than my best friend’s mom and dad.

From band trips to our school trip to France in the summer of 1987, your mom (Mrs. Jenkins, Mrs. J, Auntie Gwen…..I called her lots of things over the years). Always seemed to be there supporting us and helping us along. As a parent now I realize the sacrifice and the patience that she made to ALWAYS be there for a group of lucky kids.

I sit in snowy (and freezing) Edmonton and your stories and photos are bringing back many memories of a wonderful childhood with your family and especially your mom. I feel blessed to have had her in my life and am so grateful for you including us all in this journey.

Love Corey

Be Having Something About Butterflies

A butterfly metamorphosis painting sits on a table at a retreat two weeks ago.

Our retreat leader points it out to me.

My sister talks to mom about flying away like a butterfly.

My dad says the same.

The children talk about butterflies.

It is winter. There is snow on the ground.

Then I see this on the hospice fireplace:

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And then this note arrives from my mom and dad’s beautiful neighbour:

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The children draw some pictures:

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Yup, more butterflies. I just arrived home to mom and dad’s and guess what I saw on the fridge for the first time ever….

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I think either S and A drew it, but I am not sure when or how it got there.

Yup, butterflies everywhere in the middle on winter.

Beautiful butterflies.

Fly Mama Fly.

Be Snowing In California

I am not sure how you feel about God or prayer or miracles or signs and wonders BUT I DO FEEL VERY STRONGLY THAT YOU ALL KNOW ABOUT LOVE.

How is it possible that this little stay-at-home mom’s blog has gone from 20-50 hits per days, to now 855 today? The LOVE you share for my mom, Gwen, my dad, Mike and our family.

We are overwhelmed by your love for our family through this blog, through phone calls, emails, cards, food and visits. Everyone has used their own ways and their own gifts to love us. Thank you.

Also being a Northern girl we all know about snow. A few weeks ago, I posted about the significance of snow in our life here.

On Friday, when we transferred mom from hospital to hospice, the snow flakes were fluttering out of the sky. I asked Tom, the ambulance driver, if mom could feel the snow on her face. As dad, Sexy Neck, JC, CC, and OC came to greet Nana into hospice, the snowflakes fell softly on mom’s face lying in the stretcher.

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The next day, I received this email from my old University roommate and teammate, Jill. More snow stories. I love how God brings such miraculous signs and wonders to encourage us. And the greatest of these was LOVE.

Now, here’s Jill:
SNOW IN CALIFORNIA
I’m loving reading your blog. How did I not know you were writing this?

We have so much to talk about but I thought I would share this with you.

I read your blog about the importance of snow in your life.
Last night I was thinking – what if I asked God to snow here?

I never really asked, just thought about it.
In fact I didn’t want to ask, because it doesn’t snow here.

Anyway, this morning I looked out to snow. Tree snow.
The fluff has been coming off daily, but this morning it was like a little snow storm.

Then tonight, Ayla finds these two itsy bitsy Styrofoam bits. She takes one and hands one to me and says Mum let’s have a snow ball fight.

Made me smile and feel so warm.

Looks like you are surrounded by wonderful friends and family.

Your blog has turned so peaceful.

-Jilly

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