In honour of International Women’s Day 2019, I would like to share a list of some of the women who have impacted my life. You won’t know most of them, but they are forces of nature, and quiet breezes who have raised me, inspired me and changed me.
Rosamond Bertha Torraville Jarvis
My mom. When I was little, I wanted to be like her. She had worked as a nurse before she married my dad, and she was often called upon to help in medical situations, treating people at our house in Portugal Cove. Being a nurse is who she was, not what she did. I have told a few stories about my mom, and I know there are more to be told. She was my first role model as a wife and mother, and later how to find strength and grace in difficult circumstances.
Bertha Northover Torraville
My grandmother, and the person my mom was named for, even though mom hated it, and went by Rosamond. Nan was a teacher, having gone to “teacher’s college” and then working in small community schools. When she discovered that most of the adults were not able to read and write, she took it upon herself to teach them as well. When she left teaching to get married, Art Scammel, of “The Squid Jigging Ground” fame, wrote a play about her that was performed at the going away party. I was a baby when she passed away months after having a stroke and I often felt her presence when I was a child but didn’t have the words to describe it. The pump organ that she left to me sits in my living room as a reminder of her love.
Patricia Cooper Collins
My mother in law. She was only a few years old when she, along with her younger sister Betty, was brought to the Belvedere Orphanage in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Her mother had died, and her father was unable to care for the children. Pat suffered years of abuse and left the orphanage at age 18 to emigrate to Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. She was known as “Nanna Pat” to the children she cared for in Placentia, NL, North Sydney, NS and Moncton. In the 1960s Patricia underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour when such a thing was hardly thought possible. She lost the sight in one eye, and her sense of smell but she kept going. She taught me strength, and perseverance, and how to make a kick-ass applesauce cake.
Tammy Somerton Moss
Tammy was my first friend. We reconnected last year, and I was able to spend some time with her this past summer. Tammy lives just down the road from where she grew up. She has lost her husband and her daughter. I can’t even imagine the pain that she holds, but she gets up every day and makes a difference in the world by caring for others. She is a hero, and I love her dearly.
Lucy Maude Montgomery
I have always devoured books. Words have always been important to me. In “Anne of Green Gables” I found a kindred spirit. Mom had every one of the Anne books, and I read them all, several times over. Later I discovered Lucy Maude’s “The Blue Castle”, just at the time when I was trying to make sense of this whole growing up thing. It’s a story about a girl going against what everyone expects of her and living her life on her own terms. Whenever I go to PEI, I stop at Lucy Maude’s gravesite to say thank you.
Meaghan Rae Collins
My daughter. She was and is her daddy’s girl, but occasionally, I get a sign that she is mine too. Megs has been my greatest spiritual teacher, and as a child, her connection to Source was the strongest I’ve ever seen. She became a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and followed her dream of acting. When she went to Newfoundland to attend university she grew into her authentic self. I could not be prouder of the woman she has become.
When I started this list, more and more names came to mind. I realize how many spectacular women I have had in my life. Most of whom never think that what they do and who they are is anything special. I also realize that we don’t often take the time to tell those around us how they have impacted our lives. So honourable mention goes to:
Meaghan McLaughlin Collins- My daughter in law and “the other Meaghan”. She has brought a feisty, no-nonsense and loving energy to our family.
Tasha Samantha-My daughter in law, and creator of Nuclear Knick Knacks who brings sarcastic wit, creative energy and oh so many plushies!
Sunni Gail Shafer-we’ve never met, but she has helped me through some difficult times and is always just a message away.
Dawn Saunders-one of my best friends, even though there is 30 years difference in our ages.
Natalie Davison-mentor, teacher, friend.
Ruth Ann Swansburg-blogger, mentor, friend
Take a moment today to think of the women in your life. The ones who have helped to create the person that you have become, or that you are becoming. Then say thank you, in person, or in your heart, and make every day count.