Thursday, September 27, 2007

Here's to you Nana!

Tuesday was a mixed day for us. We bounced between laughter and crying as we buried Amber’s Nana, Gladys Smith, who passed away last Friday after bravely battling cancer. A touch of Shakespearean pathetic fallacy was in the air as the skies seemed unable to decide between rainy or sunny.

For Amber, and the family, Gladys’ final two weeks on earth were rich in reminiscing and jokes. Nana was too funny of a person for them not to be. Nana’s clearest moments came when she prayed and we believe her anticipation and understanding of heaven was growing daily.

For Matthew there was great beauty in Nana’s passing. Matthew was the last person to see Gladys alive and the image of her was remarkable. She was lying in bed. The floor of her bedroom was covered in countless black and white photographs that had captured moments from her younger years. Downstairs the majority of her family was sharing a meal together and the sounds of their talking and laughing was drifting upstairs. Her past and present were all around her.

Death comes without pretense and compels people to confront their most basic convictions. We believe that Gladys’ greatest achievement is her family and the spiritual heritage she made for them and us. We believe that there is something quietly powerful found within the bond of family. We believe, especially in the wake of death, that home is heaven.

Gladys Smith – a daughter to strong Russian parents – a proud prairie girl – a cheerleader for the Pentecostal church – a connoisseur of all things halibut, “red drink” and coffee mugs – a devoted mother – a loving grandmother – a powerhouse of a great grandmother.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Scented Afterthought

Following our last post, we were driving through the Fraser Valley out to Chilliwack and the ripe smells of freshly fertilized fields had filled the air. We guess that distinct smell will remind us of home even when we do not want it to!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Smells Like a Memory

The power of smell is undeniable. We quickly, and subconsciously, associate memories with a smell. For example, in our ongoing drama de car, we have now linked the smell of gasoline with trouble. The trouble being a hole in the gas tank resulting in our car transforming into a portable gas bath! Though all patched up, the smell of octane still wafts through Aunty Pearl and we laugh as we are the only people driving with our windows down in the rain!

Who cannot help but feel the warm glow of Christmas when they smell cinnamon (even if it does come from a Glade plug-in)? We build scented connections not only to events, but places and people as well; the energizing earthiness of the Redwoods, the salty bite of the Atlantic, the industrial fortitude of Petrolia (if you’ve been there, you know), the youth that seems to evaporate from a babies head or the distinct fragrance worn by a friend. It seems that each new smell is a memory waiting to happen.

With less than four months to go, we’ve been trying to soak in our surroundings – to stop and really appreciate what is around us. While walking at Crescent Beach we smell the drying seaweed exposed by the low tide. On Granville Island the flower market is smelled long before it is seen. In Langley wafts of warm bread grab our attention from the nearby bakery. Our memories of Canada are going to smell terrific!

We can only imagine while living in Slovakia what smells might bring our minds back to these places providing momentary times of reminiscing. In some way it is comforting to know that we will take part of this home with us, and in others it is so very exciting to know that there is a whole new country just waiting to be smelled…you know what we mean!