Cool Stuff

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mrs Norris

Good morning, it's Saturday May 14, 2011. This morning I am saying goodbye to an old family friend. Mrs Norris passed away earlier this week and her visitation and funeral are this morning, beginning at 9:30a. Juanita W Norris was 87 years old. (Read Obit Here)

Mrs Norris and her husband Bob have been fixtures in my life literally, ever since I can remember. They have lived here on Iyopawa Island since after the War (WWII) in which Mr Norris was critically wounded when a German Mine took off both his legs just below the knees. My first memory of knowing he'd lost his legs was when I visited their home with my father one evening I was probably 5 yrs old) and he answered the door on his stumps. He often took his "legs" off in the evening. I was fascinated because he was just about the same height that i was at that age. I remember thinking it was pretty cool to have an adult here that was my size...

Mrs Norris was always around as well. The two of them were one of the few families that lived on the island full time back then (in the 1960's-70's) and Bob was a care taker/handyman/jack-of-all-trades for a lot of the cottage owners during the winter. To me they were just a super nice and really cool couple. Bob was a WWII Vet, they had a snowmobile, a really fast boat and a motor scooter that Bob tore around the island on. He was a rather fearless, hell bent for leather kind of man and "Nita" was the perfect mate for him, at least that is the way it appeared to me...This was in the day before everybody had a personal Golf cart like they do today so the fact that they had all these toys was a big deal to the mind of a young boy.

Mr Norris is still living and is currently in the VA Hospital in Battle Creek and is in a very advanced stage of Alzheimer's Disease. He long ago stopped remembering me unless he was prompted but her still remembered my Dad the last time we visited. The last few times we've seen him he will lapse into 1975 all over again and to him, it's like I'm 12 years old. It's a trip but so sad as well. the power of the human mind is just incredible! I can see why the nickname of that disease is "The Long Goodbye" because that is really the way that it feels right now, like we are saying one, long farewell over a period of a decade or so.

So today I say goodbye to "Nita" Norris, though she will always be Mrs Norris to me. It is one of those bitter sweet goodbyes because it is the ending of an era and that is always sad when someone you care about passes on. Yet she lived 87 full years and they recently discovered that she had an advanced case of Liver Cancer, so she had gotten very ill quite suddenly and the Cancer progressed at lighting speed. I think we discovered the Cancer and within 10 days or so she had passed away. It was that fast...

So it's farewell today, for now and though I feel sad I guess I am looking at life/death differently these days. I see it as it natural progression and accept it as a part of life. So Goodbye Mrs N, I'm going to miss seeing you zip by on your golf cart, taking your daily cruise around the island. I'm going to miss the unique sounding way you called me "Tommy", that reminded so much of my Grandmother and the long forgotten, magical era here on the island in the 1960's.

I guess that is what I miss the most is that you've always been here, every year when we would come up for the summer. Thats it really, you were a constant fixture, you were always here. And though the last few years have been a bit different with you in a nursing home during the Winter, you were still here each summer and even last year were still making you golf cart rounds...Good Bye Mrs Norris, I'm going to miss you.