September 18, 1931 – December 28, 2011
Evelyn Robertson Eulogy
This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write. How do you wrap words around such a remarkable person? How do you honour someone with words when you are overwhelmed with how much they meant to you?
Mom, you have been a very special person to many people. You have touched many lives. I want to take this opportunity to recall some of your journey. This is a journey that explored the High C’s. Not seas as in oceans. The High C’s refer to many values you lived by that demonstrated your high moral code. The High C’s of your journey showed Courage, Compassion, Conviction, Community, Charity, Creativity, and Comical Adventures. I would like to take a few moments to explore each of these.
Those that knew Mom knew that she was not afraid of life. She embraced all that life had to offer, including hardship. She brought dignity to any challenge that faced her and always dealt with these challenges head on. I have drawn a tremendous amount of inspiration by observing how Mom looked an obstacle in the eye and in her own way, said “bring it on”. Her spirit was not daunted by any of these instances, she would merely decide on a course of action, and do it. I remember moving to Halifax. She had very little to her name and was faced with entering the work force right away to make ends meet. Completely unfamiliar with the city, or what would be required, she reviewed classifieds, zoned in on a job, and started that leg of her journey without hesitation or fear.
Another fine example of her courageous nature had her riding in a trailer being pulled by a lawn tractor. Blake was driving the tractor and had an encounter with bees. He jumped from the tractor to escape the bees and mom found herself on a moving, driverless tractor & trailer. In true action movie style, she crawled from the trailer over the hitch and climbed into the seat of the tractor and safely stopped the vehicle. Danger averted; the brave save the day. This was typical of her approach to situations. It is a theme that prevailed throughout her life, including her fight with illness and cancer these past couple of years. She did not feel sorry for herself and would not accept any pity from others. Along with her courage, no matter what came her way, she would always count her blessings for which she was deeply grateful.
Mom was a care-giver. She was forever concerned with doing for others. Her own needs were always secondary to those around her. She would make sure everyone was well fed and tended to before considering herself. She made the world a better place with her volunteerism and deep regard for everyone she met. There are many wayward pets that have found their way to Mom’s door. They were brought in from the cold, given food, shelter and love. She was proud of her work with the Women’s Institute along with the Food Bank. Growing up, mom created a haven for many gatherings and events and would always make sure we were well cared for. Mom’s compassion knew no bounds or limitations. She held no grudges or resentment to anyone who may have wronged her. Her ability to overlook misdeeds and focus on love and forgiveness is a trait I greatly admire.
Mom was a woman that created her own opportunities. She did not sit idle waiting for life to hand her a roadmap, she forged her own path. There were many sources of discouragement through the years, however, she refused to believe in those words and instead chose to believe in herself. Mom worked hard to get her grade XII GED and her driver’s license. Those were symbols of her ability to achieve her goals and dreams. She was proud of those accomplishments, but she was particularly pleased that she received her Interprovincial Chef’s papers, a goal she worked very hard to achieve. There are few that could rival her wizardry in the kitchen or in the garden. She tackled her pursuits with dedication and love and accomplished wonderful things in the process. To further illustrate the deep reserve of conviction, a few years ago on a trip to PEI with Charlie, Karen, Justin, & Garrett, mom twisted her ankle. She did not wish to impose, so she remained silent about her pain and opted to take an Advil. Upon returning home, she decided to go to the Doctor to get it checked out only to find out she had broken her ankle. She was small, but mighty, treating many of life’s adversities or pain as a minor annoyance that she would not let impede her task at hand.
Mom had a very strong sense of community. It was not enough for her to care for her friends and family, she felt a compelling need to give her time and energy to the community. She spoke fondly of the events and functions she was involved with while she lived in East Gore, Nova Scotia. I know she felt a great sense of satisfaction from efforts. Not only did she embrace her community, but she was well embraced by it. The lives she touched, touched her back.
Giving was part of Mom’s nature. She always felt blessed to be able to share with others. The food bank was very important to mom. She wanted to feed the world. In the last few months, she was very proud to contribute to rescue missions in both Regina and Lethbridge. Over the years, there were numerous other organizations and events mom would donate to. Mom’s legacy of giving has inspired many. Her values and generosity live on in the people she inspired.
Mom was an absolute artist in the kitchen. Her exploits are legendary. She could look in the fridge, see a handful of leftovers, and turn them into a meal fit for royalty. We were constantly amazed how a left over baked potato, piece of steak and single cob of corn could turn into a four course meal to feed eight people. This creativity extended to her gardening as well. Her yard in east Gore, was often referred to as the “Garden of Eve”. She knew how to nurture and grow plants of a variety of styles and blended them all together in a wonderful, peaceful landscape.
Where to start? Mom was always up for new experiences and adventures. She loved to laugh. Many times when telling a story, she had to stop and regain her composure; her eyes streaming with tears of joy. Her laughter was pure and her joy was infectious. She continued to enjoy life and explore new opportunities right up to the end. Her zest for life, made her one of the youngest people I knew. When Phil, Roberta, and kids would travel east, mom would join them on various travels around the Maritimes. This included digging clams on a beach or riding on a large gunny-sack slide with her dress blown up above her head. In recent years she participated in the Lethbridge YMCA 5k fun run with Charlie, Karen and the boys. On a family trip to Waterton Park a few years ago, she insisted on hiking the steep Bear’s hump with the rest of the family.
She played many different board games and card games with our group of friends. In Regina, Mom was a favourite in our Texas Hold’em Poker League. I can personally vouch for her poker exploits as I was often eliminated from the game by the shrewd stylings of “Poker Mom”.
Mom would work hard, but also knew how to play. She was one of the gang.
We are not saying goodbye today. We are recognizing and celebrating the life of someone I truly admire. Mom’s lessons were many; not by her words, but by her deeds. She would not want us to mourn her passing, she would want us to love each other deeply and perhaps draw a page or two from her lessons in life.
Seize the adventures that life presents you with sincere zest and zeal. Look around at the people in your family, circle of friends, and your community. See and celebrate the good in them and overlook their misgivings. Place both hands on the sternwheeler of your ship as you sail the High C’s. Be steadfast in the storms and be grateful for the calm waters. May mom’s life serve as an enduring lighthouse from which we all draw inspiration.