The train to Mariposa
My mother was a remarkable woman and none of her great qualities died with her on Monday. Thank you for allowing me to share some of her with you this morning and thank you for all the tweets, texts and e-mails expressing your sympathies. Mom appeared on the show from time to time and certainly featured regularly as I passed on stories of my parents back in Montreal. And mom will live on because she instilled in me a love of language and a relentless curiosity about people that is such a part of what I bring to the show.
We had a great Christmas together as a family but we were steeling ourselves against a difficult year. Mom was fighting cancer -something she wouldn't let me share with you- and doctors had told they were out of options. ON Sunday December 29th she and dad went to church, had lunch with friends, enjoyed their afternoon and ate dinner together. She went to bed and suffered a stroke and never really woke up again. We spent two weeks in the hospital, the last in the palliative care unit of St. Mary's where they showed such tenderness and kindness that words fail.
Mom loved language and literature. She was a teacher in Toronto, on the Prairies and in Montreal. She raised three happy kids and enjoyed great friendships with fascinating people. She loved good conversation and she delighted in the success of her kids and grandkids.
I resolved years ago to enjoy a strong adult relationship with my parents. I went home frequently to spend time with them. We spoke on the phone constantly. We left nothing unsaid. So as much grief as I feel today, the only regret I have is that we did not have even more time together.
During mom's time in the hospital we read to her from Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. The last story in the book is about a train that leaves the city every day at five for Mariposa by the lake. It's a train big city life makes you forget about but it leaves every day nonetheless. On Monday mom caught that train and went home.