Barbara Suddard Eulogy

by Michael Suddard

Before, I start, I thought I would provide a little background to what I'm about say came about. Originally, as a University of Ottawa History Honours graduate and History Teacher, I wanted to write this in chronological order with dates and whatnot. But funny enough, I have a memory of a sieve when it comes to dates, so go figure that I ended up with an interest in History. So I turned my attention to a line that has been running through my head this past week over and over again as I visited my mother at the hospital. So here goes....

Throughout this past week as I came and went from Southlake Regional Hospital, sat in the hospital hallway outside
my Mom's room watching the awesome Cancer Care nursing staff going by day and night, I kept thinking to myself and sometimes quietly singing to myself in a Sarah McLachlin voice...


"I will remember you.."


Barbara Suddard, Barb Suddard, Barbara Elizabeth Suddard, "Barbie!", Barb, Mom, Mommy and so much more.  We all knew my mother in very different ways.  Hopefully the following will include some ways that you never knew the lady who loved to be called simply as "Barb".


Barb loved to cook and bake with the best of them.  There was nary a day Mom hadn't whipped up something new or near and dear to her family's taste buds.  This even included peas....sorry Christine.  Mom was known for her chocolate chip cookies, her peanut butter cookies, bread and, once upon a time here strawberry jam.   This always meant that here at the Aurora United Church, there was never a shortage of items for the Fall Event Bake table.  My Mom's spaghetti was simply the was so good as a child I would guzzle it and leave half the sauce on my chin, forehead and sometimes even, behind my ears.  I always loved coming home after school to see what my Mom had on the go for dinner or baking.   Barb Suddard was definitely a cook extraordinaire. 


Barb loved children.  But of course raising three children and keeping a husband like my father on the straight and narrow you have to.  My mom sometimes spent six days with children surrounding her in awe.  In fact it all happened here at Aurora United Church at the YMCA and in Sunday School.  There was only one thing my mom insisted on...Never call her "Mrs. Suddard"...nope...never...just call her "Barb".  Anytime my Mom walked into Hunter Hall of this Church to a room of three year olds either as a preschool teacher or to Sunday School...a chorus of "BARB" would echo throughout this place.   "Barb" would then greet them with her trademark smile (which apparently I have as well) and launch into the day's adventures in fun.  At the end of the day these three year olds would be happy, tired, and excited to show their parents their creations they had done with "BARB!"   


Barb loved her tall children and was proud of them immensely.  I quite often religiously followed my mother around the grocery store with the shopping cart on the weekly grocery store trip.  Sometimes we would run into a shocked 3 year old who couldn't believe "BARB" actually left the church. Then came my favourite part, Barb would go hello there and name the kid right away.  Have you met my little boy?  The three year old would then start their gaze at my kneecaps and start the slow pan upwards until they nearly fall over and say "Wow your Tall!" 


Then there was always in her kitchen.  Mother had things she didn't use that often put in high places.  Around Christmas and Easter Mom would need these items.  I can't tell you how many times that I was called to get the good crystal down and the turkey pan down.  Peter, of course being a similar height, went through the same. 


Barb was organized.  Everything at home was organized to a "T."  The calendar on the wall in the kitchen kept everything in order.  Birthdays and anniversaries of relatives, friends and family, where the children were going, what Mom was doing and so much more was there.  It was Mom's Bible to her unofficial business of "Mom's Taxi service".   Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Group committee, Council and so much more were each listed on that calendar.   Birthday and Anniversary cards were sent out in a timely fashion in order to get there in time for the date in question. There was also the famous address book.  Every name was neatly written with their phone numbers and addresses on the shelf right next to the calendar.   Mom's entire life was laid out in those two items alone.  Everything in our house had a place.   Just ask my father...the famous line of "Where did your mother put..." rang through the house.  An alternate line in a bellowing voice was "BARBIE!  WHAT DID YOU DO WITH..."  Of course Mom's answer was "I put it here William."  Our entire basement storage is Rubbermaid Bins as far as the eye can see. Sorted into Camping things, Christmas Stuff, cooking things, and odds and ends.    I quickly learned organization was the thing to be learned when Mom entered my room with garbage bag in hand threatening to clean my messy room.   Peter, my brother can be a little dim, Mom had to do this step three times before he got the message.   Organization was the thing to have in Barb's house. 


Barb loved a clean place.  Every Saturday Mom would clean our house top to bottom.  Later on when us kids were teenagers Mom turned over much of the cleaning duties to us.  We spent most Saturdays cleaning the house and then awaited inspection.   Mom was like a drill sergeant inspecting the barracks.  She would come into the room we had just cleaned, did a slow turn to get the general sense if you were done or not.   Then came the most stressful time in my life. Mom sticking her right pointer finger out and going for some obscure surface and wiping that surface with the finger.  She was relentless in finding at least three surfaces before either admonishing you for the two flakes of dust on her finger or giving you a beaming smile in return for your accomplishment of passing a course in Barb Suddard's school of cleaning.  Barb's house was so clean you could eat off the floors.


Barb loved Bill immensely.  Dad would start these handyman projects and then run into an issue.  This of course had to be pondered over with a beer, sometimes with Bob Smith and Don Wingrove.  Then onto finish the project perhaps a week later.  Through it all my Mom would grin and bear it while Dad worked and puzzled over his creation.   But the best part was always the end when Dad had driven in the last nail or brushed the final bit of paint.  I remember being told "Go get your Mother".   It was time for the final reveal.   I would bound off excited to find Mom and to show her Dad’s and his little apprentice’s work..   Mom would arrive and look up and down, side to side and smile appreciatively at a job well done.  Mom loved Dad and his handiness.

Barb loved her Children immensely as well and each one of us has something that Barb loved.  Barb loves a good book.  Christine, her youngest, will read anything not nailed down.  Barb loved to garden both with flowers and vegetables.  Peter is more than willing to dig the entire vegetable garden both in the fall and in the spring.  Peter eat veggies though?  That is a different story that frustrated Mom for years.   Alice, Peter's wife, somehow has Peter eating vegetables without any issue and they've been married just less than a year.   Finally, Barb loved to smile.  I can't tell you how many times I've been told I have my mother's smile.   Barb loved her children and in each one of us there is a piece of her. 


Finally, Barb had the perfect marriage with Bill.  Sure they had their odd disagreements but they always seem to quickly patch things up and move onto the fun.  And did they have fun.  They travelled together from Halifax to Vancouver and onto Alaska in the past ten years.  Dad loves just getting in the car and going out for a drive with his darling wife right next to him.  Mom?   She loved the drive and somehow, to a mystery of my Mom's sister, Aunt Nancy, learned to enjoy camping in a tent.   However, Mom always ran the show.  At many a dinner at the Suddard household the main question at the end of the week would come to from Dad "What are we doing next week Barbie?" Mom of course always had the answers for her Billy.  Mom kept everything organized and Dad was awesome at following along.  


Mom and Dad had the perfect marriage advice for Peter and I.  Yvonne and Alice will benefit from this for many years to come.  First, always remember your anniversary date and her birthday. wife's birthday is two days after our wedding date. I planned it that way.  Always surprise the wife with flowers when she is doesn't expect it.  Well Dad, you get me in trouble with this. Every time I bring flowers to Yvonne, I get a dirty look and a "What did you do now?"  Lastly, my Mom was the perfect example of a wife, to have, to hold and to cherish.  That is perhaps what I admire of my parents marriage. Whose better to learn the art of marriage from then your parents.


My mother meant a lot to me.  She was kind, caring and loving both with us and those tall and small. She was an organizer, both at home and church.  She loved her husband dearly and was an excellent cook.  Barb was the best wife and Mom any tall drink of water could ask for. 


In closing.... as Sarah McLachlan best asked ... 
 "Will you remember me?"
My Mom's last word's to me answer it the best....
"Yes dear."


I love you Mommy.....