Irene Sarah (Wedel) Philippsen 1928-2016

You know you are not in a good place when you’ve got the undertaker on speed dial.

My beautiful and gifted and occasionally exasperating mother was admitted to ER on April 20. On May 1 she went into hospice care. On May 9 she died.

Her charm, creativity, sense of humour and gentle spirit endeared her to others all her life, even during her final days in hospital and hospice. An enthusiastic singer, artisan and skilled painter, her family was (in her words) “what gave me the most joy in life.”

2003 Mom and I with the quilt she made from the remnants of our 1960s home-sewn clothing.

2003 Mom and I with the quilt she made from the remnants of our 1960s home-sewn clothing.

Ours was a complex relationship. Often like a falconer and his bird.

When I first began to work as a freelance writer she (and my father, too) was inordinately anxious about what I would say. There was a whole lot of not-saying in our house–not uncommon in Mennonite culture. Differences and hostilities cannot be open, but lurk underground and nip at one’s Achilles heel.

At the time Camilla (still) Parker-Bowles was in headlines reading horse face. My mother extracted a promise that I would never ever call anyone horse face in anything I would write. No problem. I promised. However, Mother overlooked that a horse has another end. I had wiggle-room.  But of course, I didn’t say so.

So far I’ve never had to play the other-end card. But I could. Just sayin’.

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6 Responses to Irene Sarah (Wedel) Philippsen 1928-2016

  1. Charlotte Matthies Boychuk says:

    Mom emailed me the other day, so upset as she had just found out your mom was in hospice. She emailed again last night to say she was grieving for your mom. I know that they didn’t cross paths as much as they would have liked in the past year or so, but there was a connection between them going back to the ’50s in Black Creek, and that always remained a very special bond, at least for my mom. She has a painting on the wall in the entry to her suite, and she is very proud that her good friend was the artist. I think of your parents as awfully brilliant – and perhaps some of that brilliance needed to hide under a Mennonite bushel somewhat….one wouldn’t want to be too proud, don’t you know. But, you were painted with their brush strokes, and you have shone your light and made them proud – I know it! Wish I was there to share in the memories. I know it will be a special time for all of you. Many hugs.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about the death of your mother. Sending peace and love from my heart to yours…

  3. Diane MacLeod says:

    Dear Lynda,

    I send my thoughts and prayers to you and your family at this time. A beautiful tribute to your mother, from you, a beautiful soul. Love, Diane

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