Vest

At dawn I stand adoring the amazing

Endurance I have found inside myself

 

Though I miss being alive with you; I feel hints

Of life come back through me when I convey

Cherished memories of your roaring spirit

Your smile, your soothing voice.

Hints of you that linger.

 

Making a choice to be alive

To my fullest opens my heart

To the whole:

 

Warm sunshine and the velvet darkness

of deep ocean.

Vest was sewn from fragments of fabric cut from the contributions below

Myrtle Genevieve Matteson Leatherman – d. 2002 at 94 years old

The lovely light green knit wedding suit was a classy outfit for a classy, well-educated, beautiful young lady…It seems very special as it was not the usual white long gown. The earth green, the colour of new leaves, perhaps a symbol of the abundant life. The knit texture points to the woven, interconnectedness of all of life...Mom's wedding dress, her writings, and all the fond memories are like hidden treasures.


Rose (Axelrod) Albert – d. 1988 at 93 years old

Rose was always elegant and well-dressed…She smelled like bath powder and vanilla…She wanted the black cashmere sweater for her 91st birthday…As we cleaned out the drawers, my mother asked if I wanted it. The sweater looked almost new but had my grandmother's warm, powdery, sweet smell...The wool, living, alive, has taken on my scent as well and is threadbare from my wearing it so often, thinking of her with love...It is ready to go to the ocean of the whole, not to be passed on to another individual, but to join with many other people's clothing in this collective collage, this project of grief and love and memory.


Donald Scott Richardson – d. 1997 at 86 years old

I remember that my grandfather loved teaching…The most important lesson we learned was the importance of family. I remember that he loved to read…enjoyed the outdoors…was a musician…was an inventor…All of these memories are pictured with him wearing one of many plaid shirts...There were plaid shirts for working in his shop, going to town, going in the boat and special plaid shirts only worn for fiddle contests...I remember being a little girl and watching the back of the plaid shirt as he worked in his shop...I miss him.


Gerald Vernon Dryden – d. 2007 at 83 years old

These grey corduroy pants were Dad's favourite pair, worn and comfortable, really an extension of his genuine and relaxed nature. The red golf shirt has special meaning for me as it was the shirt I helped him to put on the afternoon we brought him to hospital. In my mind's eye, I see my lovely Dad being held gently by my husband as I slipped this shirt over his head....It was the last piece of clothing of his own he ever wore. The final piece is a raggedy old hoodie...It still smells like his pipe and you can see the burns on the sleeves from when the wind took the ashes from the pipe pot and scattered them about. My father loved to sit outside and smoke his pipe. It was in returning inside that he slipped and fell, starting in motion the events that led to his death...Dad lived a life without judgment, without prejudice, seeking to do right by another and ultimately touching the lives of many...These are the gifts that were Dad's and they live on for us who remember.


Harry Stimson – d. 1996 at 78 years old

My family have contributed the navy blue Legion jacket - a cherished item for my dad, Harry Stimson. He was a simple man with simple pleasures. He was a dedicated member of Branch 22 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Many evenings were spent there with his friends, playing cards and snooker. Harry served in the Royal Canadian Air Force...He is sadly missed.


Robert Rourke – d. 1999 at 70 years old

Dad wasn't a big man and in his last years, he seemed to shrink more. With having Alzheimer's, routine was important, and he wore this jacket every day, all day long...I will always imagine him wearing it and when we meet again in spirit, I hope he is wearing it still, although the actual precious fabric is incorporated into this lovely memorial...I kept a button!


Eppo and Frieda Boelman – d. 1996 at age 64 (Frieda) and age 72 (Eppo) years old

When I think of my mom and dad, I think of the unconditional love they would give us. Their souls were very innocent. Whatever they did, they did with a full heart. They knew to live within themselves, and to make that a happy place.


Leah Cohen – d. 2007 at 62 years old

What could possibly represent my mama's sense of humour, her loyalty, her dedication to social justice, and her love for my father and me? In the end, I've settled on her so-called "biker jacket." Initially, the jacket was intended for me. I not only rejected it, I scoffed at it...My mother declared that if I didn't like it, well then she would wear it, and wear it with pizzazz!...I never told her how cool I thought it was that she wore the jacket...I only wish I could do so now. Instead, this biker jacket shall stand as a testament to my love and respect for my mother, the fabulous and oh-so-stylish Leah Cohen.


Marie-Claire Gravier-Euvrard – d. 2004 at 57 years old

My lovely and sweet MC, since your sudden departure not a day has gone by when I don't think of your wonderful smile and your soothing voice…I sometimes wish I could go back in time and change the course of things by giving birth sooner so your wish of being a grandmother could have been fulfilled...Even though you cannot physically be here, I will try my best to convey all the wonderful things you would have bestowed upon your adoring granddaughter. Your spirit will live on forevermore.


James John Rose – d. 1993 at 55 years old

As I smell your parka, there are many hints of you that linger, Dad, after fourteen years. Holding your parka close, I smell the coffee that you drank, the bacon that you loved to eat, the cigarettes that you smoked, and the ever sweet cologne that went on every dawn. The smell takes me into your arms and into the comforts of deep love. As I touch your parka I feel your pain, the constrictions preventing your warm heart from an expanded life. I recall your dreams...I remember your hope and endurance. As I touch your parka I touch what is possible in my own life; I hold fast to my dreams and even tighter to hope.


Bob Cochrane – d. 2002 at 54 years old

This jacket was a fixture in Bob's wardrobe. I can picture him wearing it while raking leaves on a cool fall day or taking our son, Ben, for a walk in his carriage. When Bob started having problems with mobility…he required clothing that was easier to maneuver in...The jacket remained in the closet, a reminder of easier times...It is now time to part with Bob's Queen's jacket. I am glad that it will take on a new life.


Sharon Beckford – d. 2007 at 50 years old

This skirt was worn by my mother the day the Lord called her home. My mother was an amazing person who was there for others, something I admired most about her. Not only was she an amazing person but an amazing mother. On the day she died, she was attending a funeral wearing this skirt and looking beautiful, as always. If I had known it was the last day I was going to see her I never would have let her go. Rest in peace, my beautiful mother. You are forever in my heart.


Janice (Lander) Mainland – d. 1991 at 43 years old

My Mother wore this evening coat to a ball that she was invited to back in the late 1960s. At the time, she was going to the University of Waterloo…My Grandmother purchased the velvet fabric and got her seamstress in Bowmanville to start making the coat. She made it according to my Mother's size. Then my Grandmother sent the coat to Waterloo. My Mother would pin it where it wasn't fitting and mail it back...The postage must have cost a fortune, because they sent it back and forth quite a few times. Finally, it was a perfect fit!


David Cornfield – d. 2005 at 32 years old

Last night somewhere between darkness and dawn, I awoke with the overwhelming need to check my husband's pockets…In the left pocket of his favourite blue blazer was a card. The card was simple with a heart on the outside and no inscription inside…I know he wore this blazer on his birthday...the last day he could pretend that somehow he would make it through this terrible challenge...I am amazed as I receive his final gift to me...At the time that I needed it most, David found a way to once again show me his heart.


Lori Ella Bursey – d. 2005 at 31 years old

Just nine days after giving birth, Lori suffered a devastating stroke in her sleep…I keep a picture of her close to my heart at all times in a pendant. Her son is only two but every time I see him, he opens the pendant, looks at me with his beautiful brown eyes and his adoring smile and says "mama," and then he kisses and hugs her picture.


Matthew William Boyer – d. 2004 at 25 years old

Matthew was a Métis youth who had huge dreams…He had applied and been accepted into the fire fighter/paramedic program at Seneca College…Since he was a little boy, he had wanted to be a fireman…Matthew truly felt that this was his calling. He would be able to help people, which is what he wanted to do...Just a few weeks from graduation, Matthew passed away. It isn't totally understood why his heart gave out, but it did...Soar with the Eagles, Matthew!


Shanna (Shan) Larsen – d. 2005 at 24 years old

Shanna loved life. She lived each day to the fullest…It was difficult to decide what to send…something from her childhood…her youth…or something more recent to represent the sophistication she was developing in her choice of clothing to go out with friends, a special part of her few, precious years as a young adult. The pants represent this last choice...pants she would wear with a simple, but elegant top, enhanced with appropriate accessories, jewelry and shoes. Her friends would comment on how Shan could put things together and it would just work...look great on her. Friends were the sunshine of her life and Shan the sunshine of theirs. Goodbye sunshine.


Aaron Glenn Yantzi – d. 2006 at 18 years and 11 months years old

Aaron's smile would light up the room…He had the opportunity to travel 400km in Northern Ontario with his friends and family on a very memorable winter adventure doing what he loved to do best: enjoying the great outdoors on his sled. This jacket is one that he wore proudly when out sledding. The colours are vibrant, just as he was and will always remain in our hearts forever. We are honoured to have enjoyed and shared his love of life for almost 19 years...taken too soon...ride on Aaron...ride on!