After I married Nat (he was a widower) I was thrust into the “Scottish Group” not knowing what I would be in for. The “Scottish Group” consists mostly of Nat’s brother-in-law and his wife, their friends, their families and even friends of friends. Most, if not all, of the Group (including Nat and his then wife) had emigrated to Canada from Scotland over thirty years ago in order to get jobs. The mines and shipyards in Scotland were closing, the jobs were disappearing and the money was drying up. They had heard of jobs working in the shipyards in Canada and decided they had to take that chance. It was a brave and courageous move by all of them, not knowing what would be waiting across the Atlantic. They’ve all persevered and have made beautiful homes for their children and now, grandchildren.
So, naturally, I was hesitant in meeting most of them, not knowing how I would be received. I’m the second wife, I’m very Canadian, I’m ten years younger than Nat and I never do well in crowds! They’re a very close-knit group and no matter what the odds, they’re there for each other – through weddings, births, divorces and especially through deaths. My hesitation was all for naught, naturally. They’re Scottish – they’re good people!!!
Today we attended the funeral of one of the Group – James. He died suddenly and unexpectedly while waiting for a lung transplant. His heart gave out ten minutes after he and his wife were told some uplifting and good news about his state of health. He’s struggled over the years and was beginning to suffer the consequences of working in the mines, but he was still young (55), and with medical advances and technologies today he had a fighting chance. Naturally, there are some bitter feelings about the hospital he was in, the treatment he received and the fact that he should have been transported to a more advanced hospital (being Toronto). But that’s not what this is about.
The eulogy was one of the best I’ve heard in quite some time – and Nat and I have been to our share of funerals in the past few years! We were told of his wonderful relationship with his children, his sense of humour (“I should have a Taxi sign on top of the van because of all the trips I make for you kids”), his devotion to watching Coronation Street for over 40 years and above all the deep affection he had for his beautiful wife, Catherine. While living in St. Catharines I would ride my bike around the subdivision and there were numerous times when James would be out in his front yard gardening, while his mother-in-law would sit on the front stoop and keep him company. Being the “new kid on the block” he always made me stop and talk for a few minutes and I liked that! He made me feel welcome – despite the fact that I had an extremely hard time understanding his Scottish brogue – and we always found something to chit chat about. There were also times when I would meet up with his wife at her work and, again, she always made me feel as if I had known her for years. As I said, they’re just good people!!! Rest in Peace, James.