The funeral will be live streamed on Thursday, February 4 at 1:00 p.m. at https://smclive.ca/
How does one summarize the life of someone who was fortunate
enough to live to a ripe old age of 95, most of those years
independently? I will do the best that I can.
My mother, Norma, was a strong individual. She had to be. Her
life in many respects – although one of privilege, with a
loving husband and children – was not an easy one.
She was a loving mother to me, my sister Marla, and to
my brother Marty. It was devastating to her to have lost Marla at
such a young age, my father 27 years ago, and then Marty just six
years ago this month. Somehow, she had to find a way to recover
after grieving each of these tremendous losses. To some extent, the
overwhelming grief defined her with relentless self-discipline, and
with an armour of fortitude.
But let’s look back at the woman she was prior to the events
which altered the course of her life. Norma was the daughter of
Morris and Zena Waldman. She was also the grand-daughter of
Rebecca Osher. She was the eldest of three girls. She wasn’t much
older than her sister, Ida, who shared much of their youth very
closely. Anne, the baby of the family, joined their close fold as she
caught up in age. They all lived atop the store that my
grandparents ran in the ‘East end’ on Queen Street, with their
kitchen at the very back of the store.
Norma was always very close to her mother, Zena. This bond
continued throughout her life, even until the last days of my
grandmother’s life. Norma was always there to listen to her, to
spend quality time in person with her, and to comfort her. Even
after Zena’s death, my mother was a significant force in
establishing an ongoing endowment fund to honour her parents
and support Baycrest: The Morris and Zena Waldman Endowment
As a daughter and as a grand-daughter, she was very devoted. As
a sister, she always made it a point to be involved in her siblings’
lives and to stay abreast of the lives of her nieces and nephews.
Norma was definitely family-oriented, both on her family’s side
as well as that of
her husband Wolf’s side. She was a helpful daughter-in-law, a
close and supportive sister-in-law to Mona – Wolf’s sister – and to
Wolf’s other wonderful family members: Sydney & Emily, Barbara
& Bill, and my six cousins.
Norma was a very capable and sharp individual. She worked as
a very proficient book-keeper which, I’m told, is how she met her
future husband whom she later married in June of 1948. They
were married for 46 years. She had superior typing and
organizational skills. She enjoyed helping my cousin Judy, type up
her university term papers. Judy would jokingly say that
she shared her degree with Norma because Norma enabled her to
submit her papers type-written. My mother would insist that Judy
stay for dinner while working on her papers. Judy has now
returned those favours by acting as a ghost writer for most of this
I laugh when I recall the story about when my mother once
invited Judy for dinner when she was a young child. Judy asked
my mother, “What’s for dinner?” My mother replied, “Leftovers”.
Judy remarked, “What is that? I’ve never had that before!” And it
was true. You see, Ida was such a good cook – and everyone in her
family was such a good eater – that there never were any ‘leftovers’
at her table!
My mother had a very kind heart under that strong exterior. She
was always so happy and felt so blessed to have her grandchildren, my ‘boys’, Jordan and Jared. She loved them very
much and was always delighted to have them over to her place,
visit at our place, as well as to treat all of us to restaurant meals.
Not only was she generous of spirit, she was also thoughtful and
generous when it came to giving them, and other
family members, gifts.
When called upon, her heart was in the right place. She enjoyed
inviting her sisters down to join her and Wolf in Florida. It
made her happy to have their company and to share her “sunshine”
with them. When one of my cousins was quite ill and didn’t have a
way to get to the doctor’s office, my mother dropped everything
for her niece and took her there.
Truly, she cared and could be counted on when she was needed.
She prided herself on keeping up with health information in
order to provide the best she could in the way of health and
wellness for her family and friends.
In particular this was noted in the very disciplined way she cooked
for Wolf when he became diabetic and had heart issues. It was
very likely that my father lived as long as he did because of her
meticulous ways of looking after his needs, and by limiting his diet
to only those foods that were good for him, and in
the right amounts.
Having said this, Norma was most happy just knowing that
her family was safe and healthy. To this end she devoted herself to
supporting my father as he deteriorated towards the end. She
remained by his side, loving him as she always had, right to the
very end. As far as marriages go, my father doted on her…she was
a lucky woman. And he too, was a lucky man. And they were
both great role models to that end.
In closing, there is now a void in my life – a void that no one but a
mother like her
At this point I would very much like to thank all the staff at
Baycrest and the private caregivers (The “B-team”). Over the
years they provided my mother with excellent care.
I will cherish the many good memories and recall them, along
with the challenging ones more recently as she aged. Her legacy
will always live on both in me and in her amazing grandchildren,
Jordan and Jared.