Bonnie was and is a hero to all of us – tenderly in her life and now bravely in her death. Bonnie was a kind and selfless soul. She walked softly through life, lifting up everyone around her. She radiated beauty.
Bonne was so loved by so many-
- Her parents, Bob and Elaine, who lovingly raised her
- Her 2 daughters, Trina and Janelle, who were her best friends
- Her 2 sons-in-laws, Tyler and Jose, who she loved like sons
- Her 3 grandchildren, June, Isaac and Oscar, who were her world
- Her 6 siblings, Bill, Becky, Bob, Beth, Barbie & Barrie, who were also her best friends
- Her sisters and brothers-in-law, who she also loved as siblings
- Her 17 nieces and nephews & their families
- Her former husband, Curt
- Her dear friend, Terry
- So many more friends, cousins, aunts & uncles
- And finally, every child she ever met
Bonnie was a preschool teacher who truly loved children with all her heart and soul. She touched countless children’s lives and changed the world and the future by sharing her love and magic with each of them.
Bonnie genuinely smiled and laughed all the time. She had the strength and wisdom to know that happiness is a choice, and she always found a way to be happy. In doing so, she spread so much joy in this world.
She was always up for anything and never complained.
Bonnie was beautiful inside and out. She was kind and generous. Anyone who knew her felt loved and blessed and was better for knowing her. She leaves a hole in our lives that a thousand people couldn’t fill.
As a mother, Bonnie always made Trina and Janelle feel completely loved, supported and safe. There was not a time that she wasn’t there for them-the big things, the small things, the best and the worst things, even if she was across the country – she came the second they needed her. She always knew what her daughters needed even if they didn’t.
Then she became a grandmother, “Nonnie”, and she shone even more. It is impossible to describe how much she loved her grandkids and how magical she was with them. The many special memories they have with her are priceless and the ones they won’t get to have are a tragic loss. All the love she poured into them in their few young lives will shape them and be carried forward for the rest of their lives.
The fact that her grandkids and lived far away never stopped “Nonnie” from seeing them all the time and knowing every single little thing about them. She travelled so frequently to see to see them, and them to see her. Bonnie knew the day to day schedules and the tiny details of each of her three grandkid’s lives. Trina and Janelle both say there were things Nonnie could do better for their kids than they could, and certain things only Nonnie could do. Bonnie could not get enough of the videos and pictures Trina and Janelle would send daily. According to almost everyone she knew, she would jump at the chance to share a story or photo or video, but she couldn’t quite make herself hand over the phone, so they ended up watching over her shoulder as she smiled and laughed!
Bonnie was the fourth child of seven, and she fit the “middle child” role perfectly. She was a peacemaker and a friend to everyone. Her younger sisters say she was the perfect role model when raising her two daughters with grace and quiet patience, attentiveness and self-sacrifice. They joked about “pretending” to take notes on Bonnie’s parenting, but they now admit that they weren’t really pretending. The seven siblings shared an incredibly close bond growing up and that has not changed to this day. The love that they share transcends all the generations of their family. Every one of her nieces and nephews have treasured memories of many special times with their “Auntie Bonnie.”
Bonnie was an amazingly organized person. Every single drawer, pile, box, bag, and project in her house was labelled. She labelled her own dishwasher “clean or dirty.” She made sure that she was never out of reach of a pair of scissors or reading glasses, just in case she needed one.
Bonnie loved birds and walking in nature, where she was a master of appreciating the small things. She would often stop to identify flowers, take in a view, or soak up the sunshine. She loved children and reading, singing, and playing. She loved talking and laughing with her sisters, daughters, and her friends. She loved summers at the family cottage. She loved her life and everyone in it.
She had so much more life to live and love to give, and in an instant it was lost. But now she gives her love in giving life. We are so proud of her for signing up to be an organ donor, and it leaves us with ray of solace to know a part of Bonnie will live on through others and continue to bring hope and joy to this world.
Bonnie was taken from us way too soon, and it’s hard to not be angry about that. We are all going to miss her. But along with the tragedy of losing Bonnie herself, we lost a spirit and virtues the world needs much more of, not less of. I’ll leave you today with a call to action. The best way to honor Bonnie and Bonnie’s legacy is to be more like her. Each day, let’s strive to be more patient with our children and loved ones. Let’s be kind to complete strangers. Let’s put ourselves second and other’s first. Let’s challenge ourselves to find and do small things, subtle thing for the people we love to lessen their burdens, without looking for any credit. And if you start labeling and dating leftover fruits, vegetables and casseroles in the fridge in Bonnie’s honor, I think she would like that too.
In the past week we’ve had time to reflect on the inspiring way Bonnie lived her life. Several common themes took shape and I’d like to end by sharing those with you today.
- Keep life simple
- Give yourself to the world
- Be open to new opportunities
- It’s never too late to try something new
- And don’t forget to smile