My mom’s Celebration of life was on Saturday March 19th. We went down to White Rock on the Friday and stayed with my dad and step mom. We had an early ferry to catch and it was the only way to make it work. Our drive down was uneventful other than passing the remains of the semi truck fire. The back-end was burnt down to the frame rail and a Bobcat was scooping up cans of what ever he was hauling.
It was good to catch up with my dad but it was short as we needed to get up early to get that ferry. The ferry ride was interesting as there were a number of groups that were also headed to the celebration. On group was my brother’s old scout group whom I also know. It was good to see them as well.
The actual celebration was perfect in my views. The reading was Ecclesiastes 3.
The Purposes in God’s Timing
There is a season for everything, and a time for every event under heaven
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build up
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance
a time to scatter stones, and a time to gather stone; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
a time to search, and a time to give up searching; a time to keep, and a time to discard
a time to tear, and a time to mend; a time to be silent, and a time to speak
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
It made me remember one of her favorite songs from when I was little. I would think that the Pete Seeger version would be the one she listened to but the Byrds one is more familiar to me.
There was a poem that I also remembered from my youth that I never thought of as a poem. I want a poster of it for my house. Anyways here it is as an image I found of Pinterest.
There was also a beautiful eulogy that I can not possibly cover. The celebration ended with the sing with another favorite song of hers ‘The Saints go Marching in’. Overall the celebration fit my mom and she would have been happy with it.
There was a reception afterwards. Most of the people I didn’t know because they are from her life on Pender Island and that started after I was an adult and on my own. There was her scout blanket there that she had donated to the area scout house. With all the badges on it it was a living piece of history.
We had dinner with my various family members. It was good as I haven’t seen Tony’s kids in like a decade. We talked a lot and the kids introduced Ticket to Ride to their daughter. Ian won by 2 points but there was only 6 points separating the top three players.
On the Sunday we went to church at the little Catholic Church. They have a great view on Magic Lake and with it being a small island they also knew my mom so we ended up talking after mass.
We spent some time at the house going through things. There are a couple of painting that were painted by relative like great and great great grandparents. I also grabbed my mom’s recipe box and discovered that she had my grandmother’s as well. I need to try some of those recipes.
We caught the late ferry back to the mainland and drove to a hotel in Vancouver for the next segment in our vacation.
We got up at 6am to quietly take down the tent and pack the last few things. Unfortunately as is always the case, we seem to be going home with more than we left with and thus the kids are buried in the back seat. We got to the ferry terminal in plenty of time to get the ferry. It can be difficult to get off the island on a holiday weekend without a reservation. The rules had changed from the last time and now the direct ferries where 100% reserved. It used to be capped letting you get on if you got there early enough. It forced us to go back to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island and then on one of the big ferries to Tsawwassen.
The orange, old timey look to the photos is due to the many forest fires that were burning in the province at that time. I can’t remember the number but it was close to 200 and the area burning was bigger than Rhode Island. It smelled like you were right next to a campfire the entire trip home.
We ate breakfast at a food truck at the Pender Island. It has been there for as long as I can remember and it has great breakfasts. It was a frequent stop for me when I worked at the marina next door. I had to convince Philip not to add a burger patty to his breaky bun. Since the breaky bun contains two eggs and tons of bacon and cheese he wasn’t going to finish anyways.
We managed to make the connection at Swartz without having to wait a sailing. Again there was a National Parks presentation on board and this time we ended up talking to her the entire trip. Her presentation was on the Great Garbage Gyre in the Pacific Ocean.
She started off telling us about a container that got knocked overboard along with others in a storm. This one however contained thousands of bath toys including yellow rubber ducks. This became an opportunity for scientists to track where they went. At one point finding one was worth money. She had the kids pretend to be a piece of garbage caught in the gyre, going around and around. Basically the currents in the ocean overall make a giant loop and trash gets trapped in the center.
I wrote an article on it years ago for another website. The blog portion of the site is down so I can’t find it but I told her about it. She told me about a 18 year old fellow, Boyan Slat, that has come up with a way of getting plastic out of the oceans. His plan is ambitious and the video is well worth watching both for the solution and a great description of the problem.
She also pointed out some wildlife on the way. The first was seal island. It is a small rock with a beacon on it and dozens of seals. In the background you can see a whale watching boat getting a closer look. The second was a tiny island with hundreds of birds. The white, well it is not rock.
She also told us that there were lots of herons on the causeway leading to the ferry terminal. We stopped. There were a couple dozen and it was well worth stopping.
The rest was the five hour drive home. We stopped for lunch which made it six hours. As always with these long camping trips the kids fell asleep on the way home. Philip claims that he wasn’t actually asleep. I let you be the judge.
Our day started out with the kids playing with the kids from the next campsite. The other kids had been building a fort up above the campground. My kids helped finish it up (I would say the other kids did most of the work over several days) and played in it. It was quite solidly built.
We have plans for dinner with my mom tonight at a restaurant and a ferry in the morning so we took the morning to grab another round of showers over at my mom’s. That took all morning so we relaxed and enjoyed the view.
We had a picnic lunch out on the deck and then went down to the beach to explore. Tide pools can be so much fun. We saw all sorts of critters: crabs, limpets, barnacles, snails urchins, sea anemone and far fewer starfish than I would have expected. It turns out there is a disease running through the populations that appears to be linked to raising ocean temperatures.
Margaret found this really cool ‘Fish rock’. Clearly it flaked off a bigger rock in a nice fish shape. The eye I’m not sure about. It could be natural as a lot of the area has rocks with large holes. The rocks are a mixture of two types and one erodes much faster. This doesn’t really look like that. The other is it was drilled long ago for an anchor point for some structure.
In the late afternoon we went and did the Pender Island museum. This was your typical small community one room museum but it held memories for me. One of the pictures was of a building that burned down after I had moved. It had been through a lot of uses. The most recent was a wonderful coffee shop that I have great memories of. The location has been redeveloped now and is the restaurant that we will be going to tonight.
We also went there to try to track down prizes my kids earned for completing the National Park Explorers Program. They were the first to do it for this park and we got print outs of a PDF some printed for us back in Victoria. The metal tags with the park name on it hadn’t arrived yet. The first people we talked to turned out to be the maintenance team. They were very helpful and started calling on their cell phone people that might have the answer. As they were calling another truck pulled in with the people that we met on the hike the other day and he knew that they didn’t have them yet. He took our information and they were mailed to us. We got them just after we got home.
We had dinner with my mom and Tony. It was excellent food. After dinner we walked along the dock and Ian was a typical homeschooler. He asked a boat owner what type it was. He got an answer that I have now forgotten. I think it caught his eye because it was a beautiful wooden boat.
We went back to our campsite and packed up everything that we possibly could. We have to be at the ferry terminal a 7am and that means a 6am wakeup call.
Ian – duels with sticks
Margaret – Playing Monopoly with Ian (During the showers)
Mom – Dinner with my mom and Tony.