A Perfect Role Model

Posted on May 17, 2018 under Storytelling with 36 comments

Teresa P.D. MacDonald 1925-2018


Mom was really a remarkable woman.

She was like so many of her peers who raised large families with none of the modern conveniences, available today. How they managed to do this is jaw dropping. There was always a baby in cloth diapers. Bread was rising on the radiators before anyone was awake and the first of several loads of laundry was well in hand. Getting kids out of bed and off to school was done with regimental precision, particularly the bathroom. Each child was given exactly seven minutes to do whatever was necessary.

With all of the children out of the house and fathers off to work, which was the norm in those days, the baking started in earnest. The bread was put in the oven followed by pies, cookies and cakes. How disheartening it must have been when the hordes arrived home to devour a morning’s work in seconds. This was repeated daily. The wash was done by hand. I can still see the wringer washer in the middle of the living room floor. When the laundry was done, invariably one of the smaller kids was deposited in the washer and wheeled around the room. Cheap entertainment.

They worked from dawn to dusk 365 days a year, 366 in leap years. They said the rosary, went to church, bought groceries, read books, applied bandages, and looked after us when we were sick. Super women. We will never see another generation like them again. These were legendary women.

Mom was all of this and more. After our dad died at a young age in 1977, she took her considerable organizational talents as the chief lieutenant of 39 Hillcrest Street and entered the workforce. She managed several businesses and eventually took the reins of the Antigonish Town and County Home Care, assisting area seniors in a myriad of ways. No request went unfilled and it was not uncommon for her to get a call late at night from someone in need. She’d drop everything she was doing to make sure that they received the help they needed.

She also expended some of her incredible energy volunteering. She had a soft spot for the poor and in her later years, helped out on a regular basis with the Food Bank and St.Vincent de Paul. She took her volunteering role very seriously and made sure that all of us adopted her ethos.

She taught us so much, not by words but by her actions. She never took shortcuts or the easy route. “Finish what you start,” was one of her mantras. She also taught us about the importance of punctuality. “Show up on time. It is a sign of respect.” I know when one of my brothers and sisters says to meet them at a particular time of day, you know they’ll be there.

“Say please and thank you.”

Her energy and passion for life was breathtaking. She loved new challenges and was never afraid to tackle anything. Perhaps her only regret is that she didn’t get to go zip lining or parachuting. She did, however, jump in a go kart at age 90.

She loved music. It was the first thing she likely heard when she was born and it was the last thing she heard before taking her leave late this afternoon. We gathered around her bed and sang a few of her favourites in four part harmony. Even with failing health, she could go to the piano and play all those wonderful war era songs from memory. We see the musical talents of Teresa and P.D. in our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. That is, in itself, a treasured legacy.

But most of all, she loved her children. Make no mistake, we were a handful and I’m sure there were many days that she would have traded us for a sack of potatoes.

We will miss her common sense, her steady hand, her great sense of humour and her compassion for the underdog.

Mother T, we love you and will miss you terribly. Thank you for being you. You were a force of nature.

We couldn’t have had a better role model.

“Farewell to thee but not farewell,

To all my fondest thoughts of thee,

Within my heart they still shall dwell,

And they shall cheer and comfort me.”

Anne Bronte

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36 Responses to A Perfect Role Model

  1. Alfred and Kathleen says:

    So sorry for your loss. Our sincere sympathy to you and yours.

  2. Brenda Rose says:

    I am so sorry, Len and family, but of all the losses we incur in life, one thing we know for certain is a mother’s love will never die.

  3. Our sincerest condolences on the passing of your mother – Leona and Linda 🙁

  4. Sympathy to the family. Sounds like she was a wonderful mother and a special woman.

  5. Marilyn Milner says:

    A heartfelt, beautiful tribute, Len. Our sympathy and prayers to you and all your family members…
    Marilyn/Phil Milner

  6. Joan and Gary says:

    Sorry for the loss of your mother Len.

  7. Miriam Gillis says:

    What caring words from a loving son to a beautiful mother. She was, indeed, a true treasure, appreciated by the family who knew her worth. Our sympathy is with you and your entire family, Len. You will remain in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing this lovely tribute, giving us an insight into the life of this strong, generous, intelligent lady who valued her family, her neighbors,her faith, and her community

  8. Sheila redden says:

    Deo Gratia! Your mother has passed through the thin veil of death on to a reunion with your father and other relatives. What rejoicing must be taking place. They will never be far away from those on this side of the veil. May this bring you comfort and consolation.

  9. Anne McKenna says:

    She was one of a kind Leonard, how lucky you were to have her as your Mom.

  10. Brian and Joanne MacVicar says:

    Our sympathy on the passing of your Mother Len. May all of your wonderful memories bring your comfort at this difficult time.

  11. Trish MacDonald says:

    Many a fond memory I have of your Mom, also a respectful fear of her at times in my youth. She was a force, have no doubt. Any who had the pleasure of knowing her are the better for it. My sympathy to you and all the family.

  12. Anu Joshi says:

    Very sorry for the loss of Theresa PD, the amazing, vibrant personality, your mum.
    My condolences to all of you.

  13. eileen m. power says:

    i have been so caught up with my sister jean i didn’t notice your mother’s not being well. being in different rooms lately. jean will not be long behind your mom.
    i was happy when i found out theresa and jean were in the same room. how fast things happen. i am glad we had that singsong with both of them leonard. you will miss her, she was the glue. all mothers are the glue, as far as i am conccerned. she is with your dad now and probably bragging about all of you.
    condolences, blessings and prayers to you, eleanor, mary and the rest of your siblings.
    eileen power

  14. Maria Stewart says:

    So sorry for your loss, Len. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  15. Barb Malcolm says:

    May her memory be eternal

  16. Sean and Emmy Cameron says:

    So sorry for your loss. That is a great tribute of your mother. She will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are of your family during this time.

  17. Bruce Nunn says:

    Theresa was iconic. A real life force. One of those amazing women of Hillcrest who did so much for so many: Theresa, Eleanor, Lou, Sheila, Nora and others. A great family friend and neighbour, in town and at the shore, for a lifetime. We will all always remember the indomitable “Theresa P.D.” Our best to all the PDs as you say goodbye.
    Bruce Nunn

  18. Gloria deon says:

    Dear Len, Betty and family ,
    So sorry to hear about your mom.She was an incredible lady. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

  19. Debbie Hibbs says:

    Beautiful tribute to your Mom a very Special Lady…Hugs to you and all your family Len…

  20. Don Fay says:

    Sorry for your loss, my prayers are with you and your wonderful family.

  21. Sorry for the loss of your Mom Leonard, condolences to your family.

  22. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family Len. She was well loved and will be greatly missed. So many wonderful memories

  23. Mary Lou Nunn Brenton says:

    I cannot find the words but I am basking in memories of a woman who was a life force for so many. She came to my first communion, she pierced my ears, she was the first Antigonisher to visit my first born, she came when Mom died. Theresa has so many friends above no doubt they are celebrating her coming while we mourn her loss. My love to her strong and loving family. Mary Lou

  24. Jona Gara says:

    Many wonderful memories of our mothers together. So sorry to hear of Aunt Teresa’s passing.

  25. Lori Stenson says:

    Our thoughts are with you and your family at this most difficult time.

  26. Noreen Casey says:

    Condolences to you and your Family from us both .Lots of good memories to hold on to .She will be with you forever in your heart . Take care ….

  27. Anna Timmons says:

    Deepest condolences .

  28. Peter McKenna says:

    So sorry for your loss Leonard. She was most certainly a “Remarkable Woman “. God bless her and my sympathies to all of your Family

  29. Greg Albert says:

    What a lovely story and things you will never forget.

  30. Beautifully written Len!! So sorry for your loss!

  31. Deepest condolences to you and your family. Lots of memories.

  32. Joan MacNeil says:

    Such a beautiful tribute to your mom. Sending you our sincerest condolences.

  33. Hugh and Marilyn Webb says:

    Our deepest Sympathy
    Peace Be With You and All the family.

  34. Sorry for your loss Len…Hugs!!!❤️

  35. Chistina says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Take care.

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