Today I am taking a much needed change in my world
a much needed time to remember my Mom, Tommy
nicknamed by her father at birth because well her "real name" Eleanore
hadn't been chosen as quick as they wanted.
These photos were taken by my brother Michael
back in the 1970's and 1980's
when my Mom and I visited everyone in Edmonton, Alberta.
Mom was game for anything!
I truly mean it!
She loved life and took advantage of every moment
helping others in need
loving her family.
Yes we are looking into a monkey cage!
(a brief moment of levity is always needed)
With Canada being so big and with my brother's family
living many miles away from Nova Scotia
when the opportunity to visit was broached
well, we were on it like 'white on milk'.
(Corny, I know but really we were!)
Tommy's father, my grandfather Arthur was a tailor
so the gene was passed on down.
"Looking her best" always her mantra.
Tommy was blessed with two baby boomer boys, however in 1952
her beloved Gordon, her husband died in an airplane crash
while readying for the Korean War.
So pulling up her boot straps and providing
a safe, healthy and loving family situation
with help from her mother, Jessie
was her focus for the rest of her life.
Tommy loved the grandchildren Shannon and Morgan
as you can see from young Shannon's reaction
on a visit to Tommy's home.
Caught in the action, Mom!
Yup we caught you!
It's summer time so it's time to get a suntan and take care of the baby!
Seems just about right to me.
Today March 9th is the day Tommy passed away in 1998.
Jim and I were with her til the very end holding her hands
and helping her along the path.
Cancer is not a friendly being at all.
Only three years after the diagnosis and Tommy succumbed.
Her neighbour across the street on Prospect Street
was a poet and professor, Heather. They were very close because
of the proximity of their homes and the many things
they viewed, witnessed and heard on their street
throughout the years.
I have included a poem which Heather wrote for Tommy
when she heard of her passing.
You will see it below.
~ One last thing on a lighter note though
this last picture shows myself ~ my SIL Susan and Mom with her grandson Shannon
at the airport at the end of one visit.
Just look at the way she is holding and looking at Shannon ~
PRELUDE ON PROSPECT STREET
in memory of Tommy Troke
by Heather Pyrcz
"When all is said and done
what have we seen on Prospect Street?
Sunrise in the east and after a fiery day
the red sun setting in the western end
We've seen the lilacs laid low crushed
by the weight of March snow and ice till
twenty years of growth snapped or bent
so low the roots heaved up
We've seen the students come and go
like Fundy tides - quick and high and utterly
predictable: in they come as green
as grass and young as spring and out
they go sobered by the weight of growing
old they hold behind their eyes
We've tracked the path of Mars, counted
moons, and heard the mourning song
of shooting stars
We've seen pilated woodpeckers mating
in the maple tree, a raccoon birthing,
skunks digging in the night yard;
one year a merlin devoured pigeons
who know all there is to know about
strutting but very little about hiding
We've picked wild flowers that grow on the
south bank where women, too drunk to walk,
have slept all night uncovered and unseen
wrapped in nightshade's poisoned dreams
and its appropriation
In the northern gloom we could become cynical
but then light breaks and every year
love is renewed on Prospect Street
we see this, too
No matter what happened the year before
- break up & disaster - worlds falling apart -
walls crumbling - lives shattered - it doesn't matter
love is a word on Prospect Street that spreads
like warm butter or burning oil on water
like spring grass or tulips pushing through the ice
under the lilacs
What have I known on Prospect Street? A friend
till yesterday when the black hearse pulled up to
Tommy's curb. A grey March day. Drizzling rain.
And in that moment, all I'll ever know of birth
and death and how the one engenders all the rest
And love. All I'll ever know of love. How love
is all there is between the poles"