In Memorium

April 21 2012,    Mary’s day – a service & celebration to remember – written by Phoebe

This spring day dawned bright with sunshine. Today was the day to gather, mourn, and pay tribute to Mary.  She was coming back to the river.  All of the Gazetas plus crews of friends and family showed up early to complete the organization of this most memorable day.  Bach was being played as the guests arrived. Mary’s favourite banners were fluttering in a gentle breeze.

Beginning on Friday afternoon the Chinese bunkhouse was converted into a walk in gallery where so much of what Mary has accomplished was exhibited. Art, farm displays, her own found objects, her writings, recognition awards, hundreds of photos,, and her kayak.  Her shrine alone could have won installation awards! A special yew wood urn, carved by one of her Sooke friends, sat high on a “Mary- made” chair. Mary shone today, more than she normally does.

The site at Britannia Heritage Shipyard, where the ceremony took place, was perfect – framed by leafy trees, heritage dwellings, and a grassy green knoll. The knoll was the perfect spot for the Japanese drummers.  Intimate yet enough space for mingling and greetings. The flowers brought from local gardens were placed everywhere, nestled into the greens from the west coast – salal and cedar. The wreath brought over from the island was laid on a table where everyone could place a flower in the wreath which was later placed in the river.

What a mid day feast we had. If you are not familiar with community “potluck” meals it is easy to query out loud – will it work?  In communities where local foods are big and time is found to prepare something that is good – it always “works” and on this special day, it was no different – it was fantastic.

The generosity of the gifts of food, flowers, tributes and music was over whelming. The generosity of all those who lent a hand in the set up, the day and taking it all down later was wonderful to witness and be a part of.  Mary’s day would not have been as good as it was without you.

The Gazetas and Brock families extend their sincere gratitude to all those who attended, expressed their love and went away richer for their participation.

One of Mary’s friends sent us a quote later that day trusting that it would give us some comfort:

“To live in the hearts of those who remain, is not to die”.  Thomas Campbell, a contemporary of William Woodsworth.


Potluck Info and Directions to Britannia

For everyone participating in the potluck lunch at Mary’s memorial, we ask that each family brings one dish with serving utensils. Please bring your favourite local (or close to local) food that you would like to share, to honor Mary’s passion for agriculture, sharing and community. Don’t forget a serving spoon or other serving utensil!

You’ll be able to drop off your dish at the bunkhouse before the service, there will be lots of tables.

Britannia Heritage Shipyard is in Steveston Village in Richmond.

Map of Britannia Heritage Shipyard

Mary’s Memorial Gathering

With our family and Mary’s closest friends, we have planned a memorial for mourning, remembrance and celebration of Mary’s life.

Saturday, April 21st
11 am – 3 pm
Chinese Bunkhouse at Britannia Heritage Shipyard

Starting at 11 am, there will be a memorial service with prayer, music, words from the family and an opportunity to share stories about Mary from the community. Afterwards, we’ll release a wreath of flowers for Mary into the Fraser, and ask that you bring a bloom or some petals with you to add to the wreath or to scatter in the water at the same time.

Lunch, celebratory music and drinks will follow. In following with Mary’s passion for local, sustainable food, we invite you to bring a dish of your favourite local food for a community potluck lunch. More details on the potluck will be posted in the next few days.

Please consider a donation to one of the following charities that were close to Mary’s heart:

Richmond Food Bank
The Sharing Farm

There will also be a donation box at the memorial for contributions to the Minoru Residence Garden, where Mary wanted to rebuild the fountain in the garden.

Tuesday, April 17

To our deepest sorrow and dismay, Mum passed away this morning a little after 9 am in her room at Richmond General Hospital.   She died in her sleep and was not in any pain.

Our family will be holding a memorial service/ life celebration this Saturday, April 21st in Richmond.  Details will be posted on this blog when they are finalized.

Thank you again to everyone for your strong healing wishes, support, and outpouring of love for our mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and grandmother during the past 6 weeks.

Monday, April 16

Today was a worrisome day and it has not gotten better yet.   We must stay positive, keep up our prayers, and believe in Mary because she is such a fighter.  I will be lighting some nice big candles tonight.  Maybe even place them into a special beach stone like the ones Mary finds on her kayak/ canoe trips.

Some of the extra fluid has pooled around Mary’s left lung making it very difficult for her to breathe.  She is on an oxygen mask which is helping a bit.  The medical staff were able to remove a bit of the fluid and are testing it – no results yet.

Mary is unable to speak as she is so very tired plus the mask is hard to talk through.  She will need some serious rest and healing in the next few days.  We ask all of you to please not visit as it will be immediate family only in her room.  Of course as soon as she is up to regular visitors again, we will post it on this blog.

Please count Mary in your prayers tonight, she needs them.

Hugo and Mary

Mary and Hugo outside in the sun.

Mary got to see Hugo for a short visit outside! When I arrived at the hospital she was in a wheelchair, and with some help from one of the nurses on duty, we rolled her outside and brought Hugo over to say hello. Poor Hugo was a little confused as he could recognize her by scent but she didn’t look like the old Mary. It brought a big smile to Mum’s face to see her dog, and she got some sunshine and fresh air on her skin. Admittedly it’s a precarious business to steer her wheelchair, the IV stand and the dog in one go, but I can give you some tips if you’d like to try it.

She had some morphine today to help her with the pain however she found it too painful to be rolled along the sidewalk as the cracks in the cement jostled her. So we kept it very short and I took her back upstairs for lunch. Mary was very tired after that and couldn’t eat much, so she fell asleep in her chair shortly afterwards. She’s finding coughing painful and difficult as her lungs clear out. Hopefully she is getting through the worst of the cough and it gets easier for her in the following days, and we will ask her new doctor on shift how she’s doing with that tomorrow.

Weekend Update

Over the past few days, the emphasis had been on getting Mary into a wheelchair for a few hours each day. She was happy to have her hair washed in the shower chair on Friday, although it is very painful for her to be moved into the shower chair or wheelchair. Ironically this is the same shower chair Mary raised $10,000 for when her husband Ris was in 3 South, over two years ago. Any movement of her legs causes movement in her spine, and exacerbates the inflammation in her vertebrae. Often she needs extra pain medication after being put in the wheelchair, which can make her a little more loopy. Mary’s appetite seems to be improving, which is good, and she is getting additional potassium with her meals and via her IV fluids, which hopefully will help her think more clearly. Mary needs a lot of reassurances at times, we’ve started a photo album/sketchbook with photos of her house and family, so she can be reassured that nothing has changed at home and she hasn’t been moved somewhere. Often she thinks she’s on a hospital barge, which is fine as generally she’s of the opinion that it’s a very nice, clean barge, moored somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Today I’m heading to the hospital at lunch with Hugo, with the hopes that we can get her outside for a brief moment or two to see her dog! She misses Hugo a lot and asks about him every day.

What would be very helpful for us right now is to know when people can come to help Mary with a meal. Lunch is from 12 to 12:30, and dinner is from 5 to 5:30. Mum can feed herself pieces of bread, fruit or other types of food that she can hold if they are put in her left hand, and I’ve noticed that she eats more when she can feed herself. (Also, it helps her feel independent and aids in the return of dexterity to her fingers, as who wants to be spoon fed all the time?) The best way to let us know if you can come for a meal is to email me: calliope (at) 99monsters (dot) com or call the house phone at 604 270 2536. Between myself, her twin sister Phoebe, Mary’s son Michael and his wife Michelle, we’re there once a day, sometimes twice. Knowing there’s other friends and family that can help with meals occasionally over the long recovery until she can feed herself would be really helpful as we try to keep our own lives on track. Of course the nurses are there and can do this, but they are stretched very thin at mealtimes and can take a long time to make their way to all of the patients in the ward.

Thanks again for the great comments, we will be printing them out for Mary’s sketchbook so she can read them all.