March 22, 2016

My mother died 3 years ago today.  She made sure that we didn’t use the word “passed” in her obituary.  She HATED the word passed, she would say  “what are you passing, gas?  Its dead, died, gone”!   If you knew my mother,  you would appreciate her honesty and wit.  A good friend gave me a daily meditation book to help work through my grief the first year, I must admit I enjoyed reading the daily quotes and helpful hints to work through that difficult stage in my life.   My mother was an avid reader and enjoyed poetry and profound quotes, these are a few of her favourites, enjoy!

To walk on thin ice, you might as well dance!  Anonymous

Depend on the rabbits foot if you will ,but remember it didn’t help the rabbit!  R.E Shay

Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. Winston Churchill

An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.  Steel Magnolias

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside thoroughly used up, totally worn out and proclaiming loudly, “WOW!  What a ride!”  Hunter S Thompson

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.  Warren Buffet

 Never miss a good chance to shut up.  Will Rogers

The heart that is soonest awake to the flowers is always the first to be touched by the thorns.  Thomas Moore

Get down on your knees and thank God you’re still on your feet!  Jones’s Cottage Wall

Life is like riding a bicycle, you don’t fall off unless you stop pedaling.  Claude Pepper

The greatest use of life is to spent it for something that will outlast it.  William Jones

Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.  Marie Curie

If you risk nothing than you risk everything.  Geena Davis

What you don’t see with your eyes don’t invent with your tongue.  Jewish Proverb

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.  Grandma Moses

Not all those who wander are lost.  J.R.R. Tolkien

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.  William James

Maturity of mind is the capacity to endure uncertainty.  John Finley

Where there is great love, there are always miracles.  Willa Cather

My favourite:
Its nice to be important, but its more important to be nice.  Dianne Barker




Wedding Speech

Contents of mom’s little wedding “speech” which was very graciously received:


“Friends and loved ones:

It was a cold dismal morning in mid-May.  From my kitchen window I watched the mailman coming down the street, his yellow slicker buttoned tight around his neck.  As I opened the door he muttered, “Miserable day!!”  I had to agree.  I sifted through the mail…flyer, bill, bill but then….dear familiar hand-writing.  Something from Trina!  I felt the corners of my mouth turn up, tore open the envelope.  “It is with great joy”,  I read, “that we cordially invite you to join us as we exchange our marriage vows”.  “It is with great joy, “joy”,  that emotion excited or caused by the acquisition or expectation of good”. GOOD!

As I stood there in my front hall there came a unbidden flood of memories of the joy that Trina has brought into my life and the life of our family.

I remembered, as an infant that tenacity with which she clung to life-thank God she did!  And as a chubby toddler showing that same determination as I ( without success) attempted to remove the uneaten portion of an earthworm from her grubby little fist.  I remembered her first dance lesson, her first day of kindergarten, her highschool graduation and all the happy “girl times” in between.  Cheerleading and friends and parties and laughter and tears and giggles and groans.  I remembered her filling our house with music as she sang and danced and sporadically practiced her piano lessons.  I remembered the evening she was crowned ” Miss International ” when I ( always Mrs Cool) was so overcome that my knees buckled when I stood to take her picture.  But most vividly of all I remember the day she arrived home from Kingston with a handsome dark-haired friend.  ” Mom and Dad”, she said “this is Tim”.  Tim…..what can I say?  I remembered looking across the kitchen at my husband with the question in my eyes, “WHERE did she find him ?!?”  This smart, charming, gentle man who caused us to love him from the moment we met him and who already has brought us so much joy!

And so the special day has arrived and I can’t express how happy I am to be able to share it.

To you, my friends, thank you, not only for being here today, but for “being there” for Trina and Tim with your love and support.  As Dee would say ” you’ve been awesome!”

And to you, Trina and Tim, my wish, no, my fervent prayer for you is that joy will be yours, joy in your personal lives, joy in your life together, great joy, abundant joy, joy forever, my dear and precious children. ”


Dianne and Katrina Barker June 16, 2001.


FOR THE LOVE OF POETRY by Katrina Barker-Pater

After working with my daughter on her poetry homework,  I decided that the next blog post would be about my mother’s passion and love for poetry. I didn’t fully understand poetry, however my mothers poems and verses speak to me.   Perhaps I hear her voice when I read her eloquent words.  Poetry was my in my mother’s blood, her grandfather, a.k.a Grampy Locke, was known for his verses and reciting them to the family around the kitchen stove. Fun fact, mom was also a descendant of the famous, John Locke.  She took university elective courses on poetry, and even published her first poem in the early 90’s, titled:

I’ve walked with you along the misty shore,
When darkness veiled your shining face with grey,
And listened to your tales from days of yore
Until the golden breaking of the day.
On rocky ledge I’ve sat and watched for you;
I’ve shivered at the seagull’s lonely cry,
And even as I waited there I knew
You’d only come- then turn, and say “Good-bye”.
But then, sometimes, you reach your icy hand
To give me polished glass, a satin shell;
You toss them carelessly upon the sand,
I hold them tenderly- you give gifts well.
And e’en should I desire, I cannot spurn
Thee, restless sea, to whom I now return.


My mother grew up on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, it is without a doubt the most beautiful place on earth.  I have yet to discover a part of this world  that is as untouched in such a magnificent way.   Artist of all kinds flock to the island to be inspired…painters, writers, photographers, bird watchers, etc.  I believe the simplicity and beauty of the island brought many thoughts and ideas to her paper and pen:

Relentless pursuer of seagulls,
the chill wind
wraps itself around me.
Shining seaweed blankets the
craggy outline of half-submerged rocks,
like a thousand stinging nettles
salt spray caresses me.
I walk in the morning mist.


Warning!! Brag Alert!! My mother’s profession was nursing and she was a damn good one too!  She graduated from Nursing School as class valedictorian.  She went on to obtain a post-graduate diploma in obstetrical nursing, followed by a Nursing bachelor degree from University.  She was an instrumental part in establishing the Hospice Program in her home town and latter part of her career she was the director of nursing at the local hospital.  She excelled in her chosen profession and retired having gained the utmost respect from both staff and patients alike.

Thoughts of a Student Nurse- a Message Poem:  June 1960.

That night the moon was shining-
Dull on the red brick wall,
While inside a light shone dimly

At each end of the hall.
A student nurse sat quietly,

Hesitant to speak.
For down the darkened corridor
Each patient lay asleep.
Suddenly she heard a cry-
She ran swiftly to the room,
But in this ward no light could pierce
The darkness and the gloom.
A woman lay there close to death
In agony and pain,
She tried to speak, but couldn’t,
She gasped and tried again.

There was nothing that this girl could do
As she clenched her hands in dread,
So she simply bowed her head and prayed,
These are the words she said;
“Father, if it is your will
For this child of yours to die,
Please take her quickly from this earth 
And to her home on high.
God, as she dies, may she see thee

And thus forget her pain,
May she know, from this time on,
She’s not to lose and all to gain.”
She took the trembling hand in hers,

She smoothed the fevered brow,
“How long?  How long? the woman cried;
And then she knew, “It’s now!”

Tears glistened on the fresh young cheeks,
A burden left a heart;
As she stood in silence by the bed

The two weren’t far apart.
The young nurse quickly dried her eyes
And calmed her aching breast;

She’d stood her ground, she’d faced the facts,
She’d finally borne the test.

And that morning over coffee
As she sat there all alone,

A friend came up and questions her,
Had Mrs Jones been summoned home?
“Yes, last night,” she answer softly,
“it’s better that she went.
The days were full of pain for her
And her youth had long been spent.
Do they care-these student nurses,

As they bustle to and fro,
With their freshly laundered aprons
And their caps perched on just so?

I guess they care!
The try their best

To brighten up the gloom,
To shed a light in darkness
Which often permeates a room.
Their hearts are with their partients,
They’d show them if they dared-
They’d tell them that they loved them,
And how very much they cared.


During her nursing years she was very interested in palliative care.  To me she was an expert on death and dying.  She spoke often at schools , church sermons, lectures, etc. What I gained from her knowledge is remarkable, she taught us from an early age that death is part of life and we should never fear it but truly embrace it.  She had her funeral arrangements planned for 20 years before her passing, she was quite a lady!  I took care of my mom when she fell ill to pancreatic cancer, I was by her bedside for 3 months, in the end it was ugly, really ugly!  A dear friend told me, consider this to be a privilege to be with her during this time….at first I didn’t get it, but now I understand the true importance of it.  Don’t get me wrong, my heart aches daily for her passing, but I’m a stronger woman for it.


Oh, to weep again-
freed from this prison to feel
the pleasure of pain.


M Dianne Barker
April 10, 1940- March 22, 2013

My Mom Is My Hero

I dedicate this simple blog to my mother, Dianne Barker. I’m a far cry from being a writer, I barely passed English in high school……but what I do have are honest words about my beautiful and wonderful mother.   I lost my mother to Pancreatic Cancer March 22, 2013, we had only 4 short months to say goodbye.  She was my everything, my confidant, my nurse, my therapist, my compass, but mostly my very best friend.  Grieving her loss this past 2 years has been the most challenging and gut wrenching time of my life.  But what she left behind are beautiful memories, stories, inspiration, and experiences that I will continue to hold tight in my heavy heart.  My mother was the most modest woman I knew, she would never want credit or attention for her constant giving nature.  From the time she adopted a a very sick and near death baby ( yes, me) to fighting a deadly cancer.  But in between all that she taught me to enjoy the ” simple ” things this beautiful world has to offer.  In future posts I wish to share some of her greatness with you.

“Be Good to Each Other”  Dianne Barker