Washington Irving once wrote: “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” If ever there were a quote that sums up my mother, it is this one. She was the calm in the storm, the steady rock we could cling to, the anchor that kept our family secure.
When I think about the lessons I learned from my mother, one thing stands out in my mind above all else. At a very young age, my mom taught us how to pray simple prayers from the heart. She didn’t believe in fancy words but instead got to the heart of the matter. When we first moved to Ontario, dad was very sick. She prayed, “Oh God help us. What are we going to do? I can’t drive, and I have nine kids. Please help!” That was the simple faith we learned as children. Mom taught us how to forgive quickly. Before she passed away, it was so important to her to ask for forgiveness and make things right with everyone.
My mom was a very giving person. Who can forget her hospitality? You knew if you went to the Brochu’s house, you would not leave without being fed! And this is a trait she passed on to her children. Mom had genuine love for each of her children. She poured her life into each of us even through great difficulty. When I was young, Dad would often be gone for months at a time, but Mom didn’t despair. She persevered through all obstacles that were presented to her. As a large family, we experienced a lot of hardships through the years, especially when we first moved to Ontario in 1966. Mom was always a role model of strength and courage through it all for her husband and children. Being the wife of a businessman, she stood by Dad believing in him and his ambitions and dreams. She prayed for him and was there to encourage him.
My mom’s lifelong dream was to be a missionary; she finally got to see that dream come true in 2008 when she went with her son Richard to Dominican Republic. She had a wonderful time, and wanted to go back, but her health prevented her from doing so. Instead, she continued to support four children monetarily and through prayer.
My mother endured a lot in her 83 years. Her daughter passed away at 21 years of age, and again, ten years ago, my father passed away after 52 years of marriage. She faithfully stood by him in sickness and in health, through good times and bad times. When she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in her early 60s, it was really hard on her. My mom’s greatest joy was serving her children, cooking for them especially, and Parkinson’s was robbing her of that joy slowly but surely. Still, she kept her courage and persisted through adversity.
Even though my mother is gone, she leaves behind a strong legacy through her 1o remaining children, her 30 grandchildren, her 38 great-grandchildren, and her 4 great-great grandchildren, and two more that are due later this year. Her legacy is not merely defined by the children she leaves behind, it is the example of faith and love she left for us, her prayer and perseverance, and her servant’s heart. That is her true legacy. Although we will miss her dearly and think of her often, today we rejoice that she went home to be with her Lord and Saviour. Revelations 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain for the former things are passed away.” That is her promise as a Christian. She is in Heaven today, free of pain and suffering, not because of the good works she did, but because she put her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour.