After a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis, it is with deep sadness that we say goodbye to our beloved Lenie – loving wife and mother. She was a kind hearted person – beautiful inside and out, and touched the lives of those around her. Born in Capelle, the Netherlands, Helena was the youngest of five children (Peter, Alie, Dirk, Corrie) to Helena and Piet. She had a loving childhood and a wonderful family life. She met Bert (her future husband) in her neighborhood and they met and fell in love. They moved to Ottawa, Canada in 1976, later moving to Toronto (Etobicoke) and then Mississauga, raising their two children, a son, Tim and daughter, Robin.
Lenie worked in a few occupations in her life time, but mainly as a key punch operator, then as a florist, and finally as a Personal Support Worker. She excelled in all of her education programs, and became an excellent speaker and writer in English, even though Dutch was her first language.
Many would say that Lenie’s memory was like an elephant’s, and that it was. She enjoyed the company of others, sharing positive stories, reading the paper (especially the jokes section), watching movies and listening to music. She was curious about the types of birds and animals in Ontario, especially the ones in her backyard, in Wilno and Golden Lake. She knew all about flowers and gardening tricks and enjoyed sharing her knowledge with others.
She loved swimming, reading, gardening, crocheting, and embroidery, but after only a short time of her MS diagnosis, she could no longer do these things she loved. She found happiness in other things – reading or being read to, enjoying her cats, watching movies and listening to music.
Lenie and Bert moved to Wilno in 2009, enjoying the fresh air and peace and quiet of the small town life. After the sudden passing of Bert in 2016, Lenie made the most of life to the best of her ability. She met many wonderful people who became companions and dear friends to her.
Lenie and her family are grateful to the Madawaska Valley Hospice & Palliative care team and volunteers, as well as the remarkable and countless PSWs, paramedics, nurses and doctors that helped her along the way. Throughout her many appointments and hospital stays over the years, she would remember all the kind-hearted people that made these experiences a little more tolerable.
Lenie will be forever loved and missed as she ends her journey in this lifetime and joins her husband and loved ones amongst the stars. We will see you again one day, our dear mother, sister, aunt and friend.
The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall
Poem by A.L. Frink (parody)
A rose once grew where all could see,
sheltered beside a garden wall;
and as the days passed swiftly by
it spread its branches, straight and tall.
One day, a beam of light shone through
a crevice that had opened wide.
The rose bent gently toward its warmth
then passed beyond to the other side.
Now, you who deeply feel its loss
Be comforted – the rose blooms there;
its beauty even greater now
Nurtured by God’s own loving care.