June Margaret Rose Dickson was born in England on July 2, 1943. She moved to Montreal (Quebec, Canada) with her parents at the age of 3 and eventually became the big sister to 2 sisters and 5 brothers. She quit school in grade 7 to get a job so that she could help her parents with their large family. She was often given many extra tasks because she was responsible and motherly, even at a young age. Her father was an abusive alcoholic and she often (if not always) put herself in harm’s way to protect her younger siblings.
On March 16, 1963 she married Walter James Reid, my father. A tall handsome military man (navy), he offered my mother things that she didn’t get growing up; unconditional love and the promise of being taken care of.
On April 4, 1964 I was born. Needless to say, this was the best day of her life. Well, with the exception of the 36 hours of labor. Wasn’t I an adorable little monkey?
On June 28, 1965 my brother Richard was born and on July 11, 1966 my brother Scott followed. Yes, my parents were busy. Here we are, the 3 muskateers, on Christmas eve, 1968, at the ages of 4, 3 and 2.
My mother had her hands full. My brothers were continuously cutting, spraining or breaking something and she spent a lot of time at our local hospital. She was even know to help our the other kids in our neighborhood, when their parents were absent and/or neglectful. When I was 7 years old, we moved to our first home in St. Hubert, a small city on Montreal’s South Shore. She continued to care for us full time although she continuously offered to get a job to help my dad pay for things, but he wouldn’t hear of it. She woke us up for school every morning, made our breakfasts and lunches and never complained about her workload. I don’t know how many days I would come home from school to find our kitchen table looking like this and the aroma of freshly baked bread reaching us before we opened the front door.
Photo credit: stpatricksmithtown.org
We were often ungrateful and took her for granted, but she continued to bathe us in unconditional love. Even when we would buy her a well-deserved gift at the last minute from the dollar store or the pharmacy, she accepted it with heartfelt thanks and never dwelled on the lack of thought that went into it.
When my younger brother started high school, my father finally consented in allowing her to work outside the home. She held down a few office jobs until my parents decided, in 1994 to move to Iroquois, Ontario where they had always planned to retire. She worked for the Red Cross as a Home Care Worker and cared deeply for her clients, often feeling a personal loss when she would lose one to illness or old age.
My mother cared for others from the time she was a young child until the day she died, at only 60 years of age, after battling throat cancer for 3 long, painful years. She brought a smile to the faces of all who met her, and her selfless generosity was her legacy.
My mother believed in and collected angels, and now she feels at home in her rightful place, walking among them.
Photo credit: nethugs.com
There hasn’t been a single day since January 6, 2004 that I haven’t thought about my mother and how much I miss her. I loved her so much and I’m sure that I didn’t tell her how much she meant to me nearly as often as I should have.