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My Mother, the Poet

Marian Joyce Neil Hines Nov.30, 1936 - August 15, 2008

I have just recently started blogging, I'm still getting used to writing in whole sentences where my genealogy is concerned, I've been so accustomed to genealogy short-forms and fact-gathering. Now, to put the facts together in sentences that are interesting to read as well as informative to tell their story.
I am not a writer, I have always liked creative writing, but I didn't excel in it. My mom was a poet, she could create a poem about anything, but her favourite subject was our family. She passed away last August, and I am gathering a collection of her poetry together to make into a book as a tribute to her. Here is a poem she wrote for my grandmother:


Time never, nor space, could ever erase

the picture that's hung in my heart

of that dear, lovely lady's sweet beckoning face,

expressions will never depart.

The smile that was gleaming when e'r I knew joy,

the bitter tears when I knew sorrow,

The frown when I, evil task would employ,

the hope of much gladder tomorrows.

Whenever I failed there was naught but despair,

in achievement was nothing but pride,

and no artist's brush can ever compare

with the picture of her, here inside.

Glowing with sun-rays of love, just for me,

in every chore and all duty.

All that I am, I owe to her now,

may gratitude never diminish.

Because that I feel in Heaven above,

angels whispering to one another,

can find among burning turns of their love,

none with the devotion of Mother.

Written by my mother, Marian Neil Hines (1936- 2008) for her mother, Ruby Fairbairn Neil Allison

My mother was born November 30, 1936, she was a twin, her brother Stephen died shortly after birth. She was raised in Windsor, the small town of Essex, and Cottam, a village near Essex, in Essex County, Ontario. My mom was raised in a Scotch-Irish family with strong religious convictions.

On June 14, 1947, she was taking care of her younger brother while her mother worked, when he was struck by a car and was killed. She thought that she was being punished by God for not watching him closer when, on the 17th, a tornado ripped through Windsor, leaving 11 people dead and 100 injured. She was one of the injured, a brick wall fell on her and her knee was crushed. She had to have a it repaired surgically and made a full recovery although she was bothered by arthritis later in life. My grandparents were divorced after that and my grandmother remarried when mom was in her teens.

My mom knew my dad most of her life, her grandmother was his father's first cousin. He used to come in to the diner where my grandmother worked and my mom liked him a lot, although she was only eight years old and he was ten years older than her. He told her then that he was going to marry her someday, so she waited.

They got married on April 20, 1957 and started a family together. They had seven children, three sons and four daughters in the next twelve years. After 24 years of marriage, they were divorced, but she never remarried, saying her husband was still alive, and she couldn't break her vow to God.

Mom moved in with me in November of 2007, after being hospitalized for heart failure. I'm glad that I was able to take care of her, she was afraid of going into a nursing home. She enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles and crosswords, but she had cataracts and couldn't see very well, on top of that the doctor said she had conjunctivitis and sent her home with eyedrops. After a week with no improvement, she went to the optometrist and he diagnosed her as having glaucoma and sent her to a specialist that afternoon because she was going blind as a result. She had both cataracts removed so he could treat the glaucoma, but lost the sight totally in one eye and the other eye wasn't very good. She never could do her puzzles again.

Mom's worst fear about dying was the process, she didn't want to have to go into a nursing home, she didn't want to die in the hospital, but she didn't want to be a burden either. She was getting sicker, she was diabetic, but she wasn't' able to eat anything, her stomach was always upset, she said from her meds, so my sister was going to take her to the emergency room to get her prescription changed. She passed away when my sister came to pick her up to go to the hospital, we walked her to the truck, she sent my sister back in for her nitroglycerine inhaler, she forgot it and she needed it, and when she got back to the truck, she said that she wasn't feeling well and she said 'well, here it comes' and she was gone. She had such a calm look on her face, I kew she was finally pain-free. So, she died peacefully, quickly, and she wasn't alone.

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