Saturday May 29/2010 was definitely an unusual day. It was a day of contrasts. It was a day of similarities. It was a day of mourning. It was a day of celebrating lives.
I was honoured to be able to attend the services for two amazing women.
I never met Maria Shaver, the first woman. How would I know she was amazing? I do know her daughter Laurinda, and am proud to call her my friend. Laurinda is a testament to the kind of woman her mother must have been. She is kind and generous, loving and respectful, the kind of woman you know was brought up by an amazing mother. The words that were said about Maria painted the picture of the woman I knew she must have been: cooking a favourite meal for someone leaving, and remembering that same meal of grilled salmon and apple crisp years later when they returned. She had the “ability to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room.” Maria’s service was held at her family church where she was an active member since coming from Portugal many years ago − St. Peter’s Catholic Church in the heart of Toronto. It is a wonderful old church filled with history, and some of the most beautiful stained glass windows I have ever seen. The detail in the woodwork and windows was ornate as was customary at the time it was built. The windows were open to allow for some air flow from the minimal breezes of the day. The service was started with the traditional hymn “Amazing Grace” and included “The Lord Is My Shepherd”.
The second woman, Rhonda Glenn, was someone I knew. I can personally tell you Rhonda was an amazing woman. She was brave and kind, generous and talented, someone I admired in many ways. I spent Rhonda’s first day at CTS TV with her, dragging her around Toronto with a cameraman in tow, trying to get the perfect footage for her new program that we were about to launch with CTS. Did I mention how patient she was? Always gracious and charming. Rhonda’s service was held at Queensway Cathedral in southwest Toronto. Queensway Cathedral is very big, very modern and is a stunningly beautiful church. It is equipped with all the latest technology, including air conditioning. As we waited for the service to start, a beautiful video about Rhonda was playing on the large screens placed strategically in the church. The hymns were familiar, but not ones I knew by heart and I am afraid I was off key more than once.
Maria was in her seventies. Rhonda was in her forties.
Although there were some very stark contrasts in the celebration of the lives of these two women, the takeaway for me was the similarities.
Both women were taken home too early.
Both women were taken by brain cancer.
Both woman left behind a single child, missing their mother.
Both woman left behind a devoted and faithful husband.
Both women had an extremely strong faith and were devoted to it.
Both woman were loved more than they could possibly know.
And both these woman will be missed, always.