Thursday 25 February 2021

Primo ....

This morning before a coffee and chat with buddy Alan, we went for a wander along the Lunenburg harbourfront.

Recently making the local news headlines has been the 55-year-old Primo. Formally a Clearwater trawler, it has been docked in Lunenburg for about 12 years. Following a winter storm on February 7th, the trawler took on water and partially sank at its harbour berth. Fortunately, no pollutants were released and now work is being carried out to salvage the vessel.

Saturday 20 February 2021

Elizabeth Helen Wright ~ "Bet"

My mother "Bet" passed away on Saturday 20th February 2021, at the South Shore Regional Hospital, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

Over the past few months and during the last 45 days in hospital, Bet received the best possible care available. I would like to sincerely thank the following from the South Shore Regional Hospital, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia ~ Dr. Heather Robertson, the staff and nurses of the fourth floor medical, including Louise & Irene (Palliative Care Nurses), Tara and Brittney. Also, a special mention has to be made to the marvelous home support Bet received from Nurse Practitioner Lori Giffin, Palliative Care Nurse Kim Carlow-Berkeley, VON Nurse Liz Lawson and Kelly Newell from the Lunenburg County Home Support Services. Throughout my mother’s illness and decline, their exceptional care, understanding and respect was far beyond perfect ~ my sincere gratitude goes out to all of them.

At another time and under different circumstances, I would have delivered the following written eulogy and photographs ~

I remember during chats and discussions from my past, I often heard my dad Gordon say these words ~ “what’s for you won’t go by you”. He would say this, because he believed every part of your life had been carefully written down in advance within the pages of a book with many chapters. Each of those chapters representing a milestone period in one’s life, be it your infant years, your time at school, marriage, raising children, your retirement years, memorable holidays, in fact any and all events and circumstances, that we experience as we navigate through the twists, the turns, the ups and the downs of normal life.

In recent years perhaps due to certain life experiences, I have also considered the possible existence of such a book, the contents of which we cannot alter or control, because all that is written between the covers, has been decided for us ahead of time by some greater being. The only part of such a book we know for absolute certainty, is the subject of the final pages, which describes an occasion like this ~ the end of life.

So, it is with this notion and thought in mind that I close the final chapter and in fact the book on my mother, and I suppose also my parents. It is almost 40 years since I clearly recall my parents closing a similar book on my grandparents. For me those years have passed by very quickly ~ such is the incredible rate and controlling influence of time, the power of which we should never underestimate or ignore, but instead always respect and keep in mind the astonishing way that it pulls us along in each of our own life cycles.

Since this eulogy is partly about closing the book on my parents, I would like to pause and take a few minutes to remember my dad, who died on Friday January 14th, 2005 and to share with you my own personal video tribute to him.

The following five-minute video tribute can be found by clicking on the photo.

“Gordon Wright Tribute” ~

In tribute to my dad ~

“He never told me how to live life, he lived and I watched him do it”

My mother Elizabeth Helen Flesher better known to all as “Bet” was the oldest surviving child to parents Frederick Patrick Barrett Flesher (Fred) and Elizabeth Kerr (Liz). She was born in the family home in the Scottish east coast town of Grangemouth, one month premature on the evening of Saturday 5th April 1930, during a time when sentiments and attitudes, were shaped by influences which are now increasingly being erased from living memory.

Uniquely within the family and primarily due to my grandmother’s membership of the Salvation Army, my mother was never christened within the Church of Scotland, she was instead dedicated to the Salvation Army, at a ceremony conducted by a Captain George H. Stead on the Monday 14th July 1930.

A couple of months prior to my mother’s fourth birthday on Saturday 24th February 1934, she became an older sister with the birth of Mary Maxwell Flesher, who from birth was always known as Moira. Two years later in 1936 the family moved from my mother’s birth place at 212 Dundas Street to 34 Jackson Avenue, Grangemouth, where on Tuesday 22nd February 1938 the family was complete with the arrival of a brother Frederick James Flesher, who all his life has been known as Eric.

I recall many times my mother telling me this, that on the day her brother Eric was born, she and her sister Moira aged 8 and 4, argued as to whether the doctor had brought Eric to the house in a brown or black carrier bag ~ certainly a lovely reminder of the delightful and sweet innocence of childhood.

One of my mother’s earliest memories was of her time at infant school in Grangemouth, where one of her first teachers was a Miss Porteus, who she remembers vividly as being very stern, disciplined, with a frightful demeanor ~ a typical characterization of the old strict school teacher profile of days gone by. My mother’s description of Miss Porteus, was that her brown hair was always kept back in a neat bun, adding much prominence and highlight to her thin metal rim glasses, which provided no hint of protection from her staring eyes.

Later at the age of seven my mother moved from infant school to Grange School. This was an all-girls complex where she remembered clearly the joy of having Wednesday 12th May 1937 off from Miss Wright’s class, for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

During late 1938 or early 1939 the family made their final move within the town of Grangemouth, when they flitted (a Scottish word for moving house) from Jackson Avenue to 69 Newlands Road.

Soon after international events unfolded which would forever change the way of life for the Flesher family and many others throughout Britain and indeed the wider world. It was on the morning of Sunday September 3rd 1939, my mother was getting ready for Sunday school, when at 11.15am British Prime Minster Neville Chamberlain announced on BBC radio, that with much regret, Britain was again at war with Germany. She remembered almost immediately air raid sirens went off in Grangemouth, causing great fear and concern for both herself and young sister Moira. She recalled at the tender age of 9 feeling overwhelmed, hesitant and deeply worried about the uncertain future which lay ahead.

During those early years of the war my mother was able to witness some of the related activities in Grangemouth associated with the local Royal Air Force base. A location that was used as a training facility for overseas pilots, who had come to Britain from many of Europe’s occupied countries. I remember her telling me of one particular memory from that time ~

One day while walking home from school with a friend, she saw an aircraft, probably a Spitfire or Hurricane, which appeared to be in some kind of serious trouble. Keeping firmly focused, she watched in horror and disbelief, as the aircraft unable to make any sort of recovery crashed to the ground and exploded not too far away, killing what was a young Polish pilot ~ a tragic war-time event that was seared into the memory of someone so young and never forgotten.


At the outbreak of war in September 1939 my grandfather Fred was employed as a lorry driver with The London Midland and Scottish Railway, known as the LMS. But with the exceptional war time demands driving the movement of resources and manpower, it was during 1940 that Fred left the LMS and took a job with Rolls-Royce in Hillington near Glasgow. This during a period when Rolls-Royce was working 24/7 supplying Merlin aircraft engines and parts to the Royal Air Force, in direct contribution to the country’s survival during the Battle of Britain.

At this time in 1940, the location of Rolls-Royce Hillington in the west of Scotland was considered a great distance away from Grangemouth on the opposite side of country. Therefore, for a brief period this caused some hardship for the family, with Fred living in temporary accommodation in Glasgow, while my grandmother Liz and the three children remained in Grangemouth.

It was on Boxing Day 1940 the family was finally reunited, when they all moved into a brand-new house at 26 Lanton Drive, Cardonald, which was built for and supplied by Rolls-Royce. This move was remembered by my mother as a very sad day, having to leave Grangemouth, her extended family, school friends and all that she had ever known. I suppose in reflection, it was a 10-year-old's own personal sacrifice to the war effort.

The house in Lanton Drive remained in the family for a further 79 years until the death of my mother’s sister Moira in July 2019.

After the move to Cardonald, my mother enrolled at Hillington Primary School and on a Sunday, she attended St Nicholas Church of Scotland for Sunday school. A notable event for her while at Hillington Primary, was being chosen to be part of the school choir, who were invited to the BBC radio studios located at Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow, to sing in a live war time broadcast to British troops serving in India.

Still related to the war years, I recall as a young lad being very impressed to learn of my mother's ability when she was about 11 years old, to identify the difference between the engine drone of British and German aircraft, which on occasions were flying above their home in Cardonald. If the aircraft was German, they would likely be on the way to bomb the nearby Rolls-Royce factory in Hillington, where at the time both my grandfathers worked. If it was not Hillington, then it would be the shipyards of the River Clyde and their adjacent towns.

During the period of 1940/41, the family would spend many nights in the hopeful safety of their backyard air-raid shelter. From there they would hear the whistling of bombs dropping, then wait for the inevitable blast, before witnessing the not far-off bright glare of wars devastation.

At the age of 12 my mother passed the required qualifying exam and moved up to Govan High School, where she focused her academic time on commercial studies and typing. Armed with credentials in those subjects, it was just a few months before the end of the war in January 1945 and much against her father's best wishes, she left school at the tender age of 14 years and 8 months to join the workforce.

Through connections she took up employment with the very well established and prominent shipbuilder Alexander Stephen & Sons of Linthouse on the River Clyde. Due to the war effort, “Stephen’s” as they were known, had a full order book, repairing, refitting and supplying ships for the Royal Navy and Britain’s merchant fleet. My mother's first appointment was as a typist in the apprentice supervisor’s office reporting to a Mr. Bennett. Later she moved to do administrative and typing duties in the engine design and drawing office. It is interesting to note, even up until recent times, she would often say that her time spent at Stephen’s Shipbuilders was one of the happiest of her life, contributing to many great and lasting memories.

While leaving work at Stephen’s on Monday 7th May 1945, my mother was told that the European war was over. Her first reaction to this news, was to ask ~ “Do we get a day off...?”. Well, in fact they did, the next day was declared V.E. Day; for which Prime Minister Winston Churchill said in his Victory Speech ~ “… we may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing ….”.

On January 2nd 1952, after 7 years at Stephen’s, my mother left and moved to Rolls-Royce in Hillington. She initially worked in the Shipping Office reporting to Mrs. Helen Clinton and remained in their employment until April 1954, a couple of months prior the birth of my sister Linda.

On Saturday August 14th 1948, just one month after my dad’s return from his National Military Service in Malaya and de-mob from the 1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders, my parents went out on their first date. It was to the Regal Picture Hall in the town of Paisley, to see the 1937 movie “Elephant Boy” starring the widely known Indian actor of the day, Sabu.

I have been told that my mother actually had an eye for my dad years before their first date, I understand she would often pass by Robert Pollock’s, the local butcher's shop on Tweedsmuir Road, Cardonald, where he worked as an apprentice butcher, just to get a glimpse of him through the front window. I should mention, years later it was absolutely no surprise to learn that my dad was completely oblivious to what was going on, he had no clue that a young lady with loving eyes, was peering at him through the front window of the local butcher’s shop. Three years after their first date on my mother’s 21st birthday, Thursday 5th April 1951, they got engaged.

Much delayed due to the death of my paternal grandfather Thomas Downie Wright on November 11th 1951, my parents eventually married on Saturday August 22nd 1953 at Cardonald Parish Church, in a service conducted by Reverend Thomas Murchison and afterwards honeymooned in London.

As a married couple their first home was at 805 Mosspark Drive, Cardonald, where they had the luxury of a single room and kitchen.

Not wasting too much time, almost 11 months after their marriage at precisely 9.25pm on Sunday 11th July 1954, my sister Linda Elizabeth was born, at the Southern General Hospital, Govan Road, Glasgow, becoming the first grandchild of all my grandparents. When Linda was only a few months old, the family moved briefly to Kennedar Drive in the Linthouse area of Glasgow. Unable to cope with the poor and deprived conditions there, it was not long after, in March 1955 the family moved to 12 Dunn Street, Paisley. Their home on Dunn Street was a tenement flat, they bought for the pricey sum £450 (about $800), which came with the luxury of a shared outside toilet.

Later, on the 31st March 1961 they left Dunn Street and Paisley, with a move to the brand-new town of East Kilbride. At the time in 1961, East Kilbride could be described as a work in progress, with many houses, shopping centres and streets in construction mode, their new family home was a two bedroomed flat at 29 Glenluce Terrace.

Just 4 months later at 3.21pm on Saturday July 15th 1961; I was born at Bellshill Hospital. By late 1962 there was a desire for an extra bedroom and a backyard for young Graeme and Linda. So, on the Friday 21st December 1962, the family moved just a short walk around the corner to 56 Burncrooks Avenue, where my parents remained until moving to Canada in September 2004.

A great family life continued during the 1960’s and into the 1970’s highlighted by many excellent camping holidays’, which allowed us to explore, discover and thoroughly enjoy much of Scotland’s unique beauty, which provided us with lots of unforgettable adventures and many delightful life-long memories.

The next significant event for the family took place on Monday 28th October 1974, when 18 days into her marriage, my sister Linda at the age of 20, left Prestwick Airport on Scotland’s Ayrshire coast and flew off to a new life in Canada.

Just over a year later in December 1975, my parents learned they were to become grandparents and naturally both were thoroughly excited about the prospect. For me in my early teens, I recall it was complete shock, I had not at any time considered the role of an uncle, quite simply it was something that had never entered my mind. Indeed, my sister was married, but having kids…!!!, not once had I contemplated that possibility; it was a hugely significant time for me.

With enormous delight on Friday July 16th 1976 my niece Lisa Ann was born at St Josephs Hospital, Sarnia, Ontario. Incidentally, Lisa chose to arrive 3 hours and 35 minutes after midnight, narrowly missing my own birthday. I recall saying this at my dad’s funeral in January 2005 and again at my sisters in October 2010 ~ I remember very well the moment when we learned of Lisa’s birth, my mum, dad and I, received the news while crammed tightly into one of those traditional red British telephone boxes, in the beautiful village of Pitlochry in the Scottish Highlands. It was truly a moment I have chosen never to forget; I was so incredibly proud at the age of 15 to have become an uncle.

During August 1978, mum, dad and myself came over to Canada for a holiday, this was my first trip to the country and it was marked by the birth of my parent’s second grandchild and first grandson Scott Alan, who arrived on Friday 25th August and like his sister Lisa at St Joe’s in Sarnia, Ontario.

After I immigrated on April Fool’s Day 1988, my parents began a period of many summer visits to Canada. They would share their time equally between Linda and her husband Remi in Ottawa and myself and family in Oshawa, Ontario.

During May 1993, my mother came over to Canada by herself, at the time of the birth of my son and my parents second grandson Brian Michael, who was born on Saturday 22nd May 1993. Almost two years later, on Saturday 28th January 1995, Brian became a big brother with the birth of my parent's second granddaughter Lauren Elizabeth, who like her brother was born in Oshawa, Ontario.

On the Thursday 20th February 2003 the branches on family tree extended further into a new generation, when my niece Lisa became a mother, my sister Linda a grandmother and my parents, ventured into the unknown territory of great-grandparents, with the arrival of Abigail Elizabeth born in Ottawa. Then on Tuesday 18 October 2005, Abigail took on the responsibility as a big sister to Samuel Gordon, who was also born in Ottawa.

Those who have got to know my mother will recognize that she was a person who liked to get herself involved. This was very typical whether in the workplace or as a member of an association, a committee or a local group.

I recall in the mid to late 1970’s she worked part-time as an assembly worker, in a company who manufactured record player turntables in East Kilbride. After a short time in this job, she accepted the task of union shop steward and later actually led a successful strike.

For many years she was a member of the Cooperative Women’s Guild in my hometown and held the position of secretary for most of the time. Part of her duties as secretary was to keep weekly minutes, which she did in her normal dedicated and disciplined manner. Eventually over the years this resulted in many volumes of carefully hand-written notes. When my parents immigrated to Canada, those minutes were handed over to the local East Kilbride Heritage Museum for safe keeping, where they remain to this day.

Another activity my mother got herself involved in was the community council in East Kilbride, she became a Community Councilor. Within this position she would work on many issues and concerns at local government level. The role sometimes involved her being invited to various civic functions, which sometimes also extended to my dad. During such events certain protocols and customs had to be observed and carefully adhered to. When demonstrated correctly, those formalities would leave nobody with any doubt, that it was my mother who was the invited guest and my dad, was just the “hanger on” or “her shadow”. In a similar way for example, in the past with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband and Dennis or with the Queen and Prince Philip, the “hanger on” was always present but should not really be seen ..!!!

My dad thoroughly enjoyed playing up to this formal observance, by deliberately walking a few steps behind my mother, always nodding politely to those who cared to look on and perhaps wondered who he was.

At such functions official photographs would often be taken, occasionally with great amusement it was just possible to make out the deliberate or otherwise intrusion of my dad’s right foot, left arm or shoulder leaning into the remote corners of such photos.

I have been told, at those council events my parents were jokingly known as “Margaret and Dennis” in reference to the Thatchers’. My dad got a huge amount of mileage and many good chuckles out of all the theatrics of that time.

In addition to her Community Council involvement, my mother continued in employment right up until a couple of weeks before immigrating to Canada in September 2004, she worked in a local taxi office answering the phones. In reality it was more than just a job, it was a means of her getting out and keeping up with all the local news, recent events and more importantly, any scandal and gossip which was going around in the town.

I am sure this will not be a surprise to those who knew my mother and therefore appreciated how much she liked to talk ~ she could speak for what seemed to be hours without ever stopping to take a breath ….!!

While working at the taxi office, it was well known for her to keep customers on the telephone chatting for the longest time. On many occasions, this resulted in the taxi driver sitting patiently outside a customer’s home for extended periods, waiting for them to appear. Under such circumstances. it was common for the driver whose patience had all but expired, to eventually call into the office on his radio, to ask or rather request that my mother get off the phone, so that the verbally restrained customer could get out their house and into the taxi.

A lifelong interest of my mother’s was her handcraft in the form of knitting, crochet, cross-stitch or any kind of craft work which kept her hands busy.

She had tremendous skill, patience and an enormous talent for this, resulting in the most fantastic detail, which was always extremely impressive. Growing up we all had an amazing amount of knitwear, so too did many newborns and kids throughout our local neighbourhood in our home town and also her grandchildren.

With all their family now living in Canada, and feeling the need to be closer to them, it was during April 2002 that my dad first suggested a permanent move to Canada for him and my mother. I remember at the time, I often felt during many related chats on the subject, that my parents wanted me to make the final decision for them, as to whether or not to pack up and leave Scotland. For me, there was no way I would ever have done that, it was a huge responsibility that I had no interest in taking on. The decision had to be theirs, without any hint of influence from myself or my sister Linda. They did know that we would always be available to fully support and help them in whatever direction they chose.

During their summer visit of summer 2002, more discussions took place with respect to a possible move and the application process. Finally, during September of that year after a great amount of careful consideration, the first of many related immigration forms were submitted to Canada Immigration in London, England. It was from this point, that immigrating to Canada became my dad’s main focus and top priority.

During February 2004 some 17 months later, my parents received notice to make arrangements to proceed with their immigration medicals. In parallel with the application process, I had begun to casually look at houses for them in Oshawa, Ontario, where I lived at the time.

The specification was simple, at least two bedrooms, a minimum of stairs and within walking distance of my own home. By late March I found the house, my sister Linda and her husband Remi came down from Ottawa to see it, and agreed that this would be the perfect place for them.

Meanwhile back in Scotland my parents had successfully passed their immigration medical examinations. With that in place they were given the final approval to emigrate and had until February 2005 to do so.

I can say with absolute certainty what followed over the next few months was close to being one of the most stressful times in my life and I know it was much worse for my parents in Scotland. On this side of the Atlantic, with great help from Remi and Linda, the huge task of completely renovating their house had started ~ never could I understate the amount of work and effort that went into that project, it was truly enormous.

During the spring and summer of 2004, the house renovation project had a major cloud of uncertainty hanging over it, a period when none of us were actually sure as to whether my dad would make it over to Canada. He had been developing life threatening Blood Clots since late 2003 and had spent time in hospital. For all involved, the future was becoming increasingly uncertain, with no hint of a clear direction. We had to wait until late July 2004, for the results of a related medical examination, before my dad was finally given approval by his doctor, that he could fly to Canada. With this news I booked their flights for September 17th ~ Immigration Day.

What followed then until Immigration Day, was again a very demanding and difficult time for all of us. My parents had to sell their house, a process they had never done before. They had to clear out, pack up, say their goodbyes and deal with many other related issues, all of which could be summed up as ~ completely dismantling their long established and deep-rooted lives in Scotland. Although none of us on this side of the Atlantic were ever physically present in Scotland during that time, we did share and could feel the emotional tension my parents were going through, I have no doubt, this was perhaps one of the most difficult periods in all the years they had been together.

So, it was on Friday September 17th 2004 my mum and dad aged 74 and 76 respectively, landed in Toronto to became Canada's latest immigrants. Later that day after their arrival in Oshawa, with much pride and lots of excitement, my sister Linda and I walked our parents to their new home. They had no idea what the place looked like; they only vaguely knew its location, but nothing else. Upon seeing the house, I can honestly say I had never before witnessed such delight in both of them, I especially recall the absolute thrill on my dad’s face. It was one of life’s rare and extremely special moments, which made us all feel very good and completely satisfied. Against many medical odds he had made it to Canada, and as a reward he and my mother had a beautiful home to enjoy with it.

His words from that day will always resonate with me, they were simply ~ “What a wonderful family I have …”. Hearing him say that meant a huge amount to both Linda and myself, it made all our hard work over the previous months worthwhile and extremely rewarding.

Almost immediately he created plans for the garden which he would have started in the following spring, but unfortunately, with much regret and tremendous sadness, this was never to happen ~ he died on Friday 14th January 2005, just four months after arriving in Canada.

Over the years since my dad’s death, I was never sure if my mother was completely happy here in Canada, it was a question I never dared ask ~ in reality, I suspect I may have been fearful of the answer. There were many reasons why she should have been happy, but perhaps just as many as to why she may never have been. While fully appreciating that some families witness death in far worse and more tragic circumstances and sometimes at a much younger age, the death of my dad four months to the day after his arrival in Canada was devastating to us all, but perhaps my mother took the brunt of that. I have often heard it said, that moving house is one of the most stressful things a person can do, but in a space of just four months, she had done that, immigrated to Canada and then became a widow, it was a lot to bear and would probably be a test of strength for many of us.

The illness and the eventual death of my sister Linda on Friday October 15th 2010 was yet another emotional hurdle which had to be managed. I say "managed" because it tragically came with a much-increased dependence upon me by my mother and occurred during a time when my own personal circumstances were becoming increasingly challenging.

As a means of coping during that time in 2010, I had to learn to trust that when faced with major life challenges, which are sometimes beyond our power and control, it becomes an opportunity to examine your faith, inner strengths and courage, all in the hope and desire that they will carry you through. It is also a favorable time to charge yourself with determination and resolve that the future will be better, to appreciate that all situations and challenges could actually be much worse, and to realize it is how you chose to deal with them, which will play a significant role in their eventual outcome.

Following my retirement in January 2016, plans were set in motion for a move to the South Shore of Nova Scotia. After a few very busy months of packing up, selling houses and making many other related arrangements, my mother came out to Nova Scotia in August 2016 and moved into Drumlin Hills in Bridgewater.

Although on more than a few occasions she, like others, complained about the meals, this grievance was always tempered to the good side by the genuine companionship of the friendly, delightful and dedicated staff at Drumlin Hills. I am sure that Shelley, Tracy, Melissa and others knew when they entered my mother’s apartment, they would have to be well prepared to be verbally abducted for the longest time ….!!

For the most part, I think my mother enjoyed discovering a little piece of Nova Scotia. I always felt that it was really great, that she was once again able to see and live close to the ocean. I know prior to immigrating to Canada in 2004, trips to the coast and other beautiful locations in Scotland was a common occurrence for her and my dad, but while living in Southern Ontario, this was all very much a void in her life. From a personal point of view, the ocean has played a very important part of my life, I have always felt completely committed to the sea. Having spent 28 years landlocked in Southern Ontario, I missed it in a way that is really impossible to explain. With the move to Nova Scotia’s South Shore, I had satisfied my own deep desire to get back by the ocean ~ I hope the very same was done for my mother.

My mother’s move from Oshawa, Ontario to Nova Scotia did bring with it a huge absence in her daily life, in the form of her neighbour “Eva”. Originally from Cape Breton, she is someone who I could easily describe as a gift from the East. Throughout the almost 12 years my mother lived in Oshawa, Eva continually displayed deep friendship and lots of kindness, often thoroughly entertaining my mother with many comical narratives given in her lively and very sharp Cape Breton accent. Eva’s presence and companionship towards my mother was always very much appreciated by myself and I know also by my sister Linda.

I am not sure what the general thoughts may be about death and the loss of someone close. Understandably it is perhaps a subject that some may not want to dwell upon too much and certainly not for very long.

Unfortunately, in recent times I have not had much choice in that respect, with the loss of my father, my sister Linda, my nephew Scott (20th March 2016), my mother’s sister Moira (22nd July 2019), my dad's brother Ronnie (19th April 2020) and now my mother. In many solitary moments since my dad’s passing and certainly more than any other time in my life, I have thought more about death, perhaps it is a natural reaction.

On occasions, I have found myself quietly thinking about him or staring at photographs, always resulting in the question ~ Where are you…?

In need of some input on this, a couple of times I discussed this very question with a very good friend of mine, who at the time had recently dealt with the death of his parents and young brother. Like me he could provide no clear answer, but instead offered this ~

“We the living are all together here and the dead are all together someplace else”.

A simple but thought-provoking response, which reminded me of the personal inscription I saw in Northern France years before at the grave of a young Canadian soldier, who had been killed just days before the end of World War I in November 1918, which read ~ “Among those other living whom we call dead.”

Regardless of our own thoughts and beliefs, it is with certainty that we all have experienced the death of someone close, be it a grandparent, a parent, a brother or sister, an aunt or an uncle or perhaps the tragic inversion of natural order, the death of a child.

I am sure regardless of how many years it has been since they passed, like me, you may think of them in your own quiet moments and probably will do for many years to come. Hopefully those thoughts will follow closely or can be inspired in a positive way by the words expressed in the following poem ~

You can shed tears that they are gone, or you can smile because they had lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that they will come back, or you can open your eyes and see all they left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see them, or it can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember them by only that they are gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what they would want; smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

With all that said, I would like to finish with a song performed by John McDermott, which I dedicate to those you may think about in your own quiet moments ~

The song ~ “When I grow too old to dream, I'll have you to remember” ~ can be found by clicking on or copying and pasting the following link into your web-browser ~

Graeme Wright

20th February 2021

See also …

Sweeny's Funeral Homes of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, obituary page ~

Four generations ~ my mother as a baby with her father Frederick Patrick Barrett Flesher, her grandmother Helen Aikten Boswell and her great-grandmother Mary Maxwell

With her mother Elizabeth Kerr

With her younger sister Moira at the Children's Day, Grangemouth 1938

My mother on the left with brother Eric and sister Moira, photo taken in Aberdeen 1939

When she worked in Stephen's Shipbuilders during the mid-1940's


With her parents Frederick Patrick Barrett Flesher, Elizabeth Kerr and brother Eric. This photo was likely taken during the late 1940's to early 1950's

My mother with staff of the Engine Design and Drawing Office, Stephen’s Ship Builders, 10th March 1951

On holiday in the Isle of Man 1951

With my dad Gordon

On holiday in the Isle of Man 1951

Wedding Day ~ 22nd August 1953, my mothers brother Eric peering from the door behind

Wedding Day ~ 22nd August 1953
With my sister Linda

At 12 Dunn Street, Paisley during the late 1950's

With my sister Linda, 1954/55
With my sister Linda

With my sister Linda

With my sister Linda, outside 26 Lanton Drive, Cardonald
With me 1961/62

Summer holiday in Dunbar, Scotland 1965

An award in recognition of her Community Council work, presented by East Kilbride officials on  4th December 1998

My parents with their first great grandchild Abigail. This photo was taken on a surprise visit to Scotland, by my sister Linda, her husband Remi, daughter Lisa and Abigail to mark my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary on 22nd August 2003