Monday, January 29, 2018


Last night, just days before her 94th birthday, Pearl passed away.  Mother to my sister-in-law Bev, and mother-in-law to my late sister Carole, Pearl holds a special place in my heart.

I first met Pearl about forty years ago, when she welcomed me - a young single mom - into her home for Christmas.  And she continued to welcome me, to make me feel loved and cared about and special every time I saw her after that.

She made the best ginger cookies and the most delicious canned peaches.  She sewed wonderful gifts, and I still have a beautiful lap quilt she made for my mother, a stuffed mouse she made for me, and some amazing outfits she made for  the teddy bears who were always a big part of our family's story.

Peark having a chat with Henry W.,
one of several bears who often accompanied us on picnics. 

Pearl loved animals - her own and mine - and always asked after my dogs and cat by name.  She had the best laugh, a full-bodied, whole-hearted laugh that expressed her genuine delight in what had been said or what she had seen.

One of my favourite photos of  Pearl,
enjoying a good laugh.
But mostly, I loved her for how she loved my sister - unconditionally, enthusiastically, loving her like a daughter. I wrote the following poem for Pearl's 88th birthday, two months after my sister's death, to express how grateful I was for the relationship Carole had with Pearl.

                                                              For Pearl, on her 88th birthday
With loving thoughts, from Jean.

If my sister was here, she would say
Thank you for being my second mom.”
If my sister was here, she would say
You have given me laughter and love
If my sister was here, she would say
Thank you for accepting me for who I am,
For supporting me when I needed support
And for loving me like a daughter.”

If my sister was here, she would say
You make the best canned peaches and ginger cookies.”
(Okay, maybe that is what I would say…..but I’m sure Carole liked them too!)
If my sister was here, she would thank you
For being such a big part of her life.
If my sister was here, she would give you a hug,
And a bag of silly little gifts that she’d bought throughout the year and stashed away in boxes and drawers and closets, but each bought because she’d been thinking of

But my sister’s not here.  So trust me…..
She still thanks you for all that you are,
For all you have done for her,
For all the fun times you had together,
For your laughter and smiles and hugs and love.
And on this special day of yours,
 Please feel her arms around you
As her spirit hugs you tight and whispers in your ear:
Happy Birthday, Pearl.

Yesterday morning, when we knew the end was very close, Bev and I talked about how we could feel, could see, Carole reaching out to Pearl, ready to meet her and guide her on her journey.   And last night, she did just that.  I know there will be tears and hugs all round - both here and on the other side.

Rest easy, Pearl.  You are forever part of my heart, my memories, and my family. 


Brigid said...

So sorry for our loss, Jean - that's a beautiful tribute...

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jean. I feel so good to know how Mother was important to you. Love Bev

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute to a woman you loved... My condolences go out to you and Bev....Mary

Nancy said...

Jean - what a most wonderful tribute to such a beautiful, loving person. She also welcomed and showed love and kindness to both Donna and myself over the years and I know that Donna will be at the gate, along with Carole to meet her with open arms! I too have and cherish a beautiful blanket (made out of blue jeans) made by Pearl’s loving hands. And I will always remember that fantastic sense of humour ; beautiful smile and infectious laugh. Thank you Jean and RIP Pearl. Love Nancy said...

Yes what a lovely tribute. Her sense of humour was infectious. She Loved a hug and particularly from my husband, John. And she loved our little dog, Mitzy as well. She shall be missed.

Del said...

This is just a beautiful post Jean!
I never had the pleasure of knowing Pearl and you've tugged at my heart.
I am certain she is smiling as she watches over all those she loves. The photo you posted of her smiling is simply an Award Winning photo. Beautiful!
Thank you for sharing Pearl with us.