Every now and again I need to add diversity and write about something other than me…and today my mind is on my mother.

Mom would have turned 82 today. It’s been 20 years since she passed and I still miss her as if it were yesterday. I like to believe that she and Dad are together now and happy.

It is so easy to tell you that Mom loved her family fiercely. She was selfless, goofy, loving, funny, and kind. She is the one who taught me to laugh at myself. But what I want to share with you is something she considered one of her greatest achievements: becoming a registered nurse. The images I have below relate to her graduating and registering as a nurse in Ontario.

I remember her telling me that there weren’t a lot of options for women in the late 50s. In high school she was provided a graph of what subjects she was good in and what she was poor in. They classified things based on General, Commercial or Technical. Back then to attend university, students needed 75% in every subject and money – she had neither. So that ruled out many potential job possibilities for her; she told me she would have liked to have been a math teacher. When she decided to become a nurse, her parents told her that she would not graduate; not because she wouldn’t pass, but because they didn’t expect her to complete the program due to a relationship she was in (Grandpa and Grandma did NOT like this man, to say the least). But she did complete it, and did pass, and she was so proud of that.

She worked as a nurse until Art was born and then became a stay-at-home mom (Art and I were so lucky); then in 1982 she got re-certified and returned to nursing, retiring in 1999 when she got her cancer diagnosis.

I have always been touched by the South Waterloo Memorial Hospital Nursing School Class of 61 – her nursing class usually had a reunion weekend every year; there were gap years as life (having children and raising families) certainly kept people away. But they always kept in touch. At least two of these ladies were with her the day she passed.

Live. Laugh. Thrive.

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