My Mother's Daughters

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Date: 23 Sep 2019 [unknown]
Location: North Bay, Ontario, Canadamap
Profile manager: Nicole Boorse private message [send private message]
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A short story and memoir about my mother and her daughters.
By Nicole Duchesne Boorse - written March 2019

Best Friends for Life

1954 Dad and Mom

Theo Duchesne and Dolores Dufresne, were married August 4, 1952.

1957 - 2 Best Friends; Dee and Nick

1956 - My mother left me when I was 22 months old. I don’t remember her absence nor do I remember her returning with a baby sister. I also do not remember a day where I was alone, without this new friend. My memory is aided by a photograph; we are posed in the corner of the chesterfield. At 2-1/2 years I am holding my sister when she is 6 months old. She looks so small, yet I am not that much bigger. Growing up together, I taught her how to walk and how to talk and she taught me how to be a very good big sister. We two became best friends for life.

Two best friends playing

1958 - My mother left us today. She and my daddy went to pick up my cousin; she was coming to live with us. I was going to have a big sister! I was very happy with this. My new sister had been the youngest in her family but this new role did not scare her. She said being the oldest is just like being the youngest and we could be oldest together. Time worked its magic and we all learned many things from each other. We three became best friends for life.

1958 - 3 Best Friends; Simone, Dee, Nick

Best Friends; Nick, Mom with Sue in belly, Dee, Simone

1959 - My mother left us today, but that’s okay. We watched mommy’s belly grow and were told we would have another baby, a boy that was my daddy’s hope. At five years old I knew a lot about sister life. When this new baby girl came home I was all set to help with whatever I could. Maybe I can learn to change diapers! The three of us taught our littlest sister many things but my most precious memory is watching her walk right into my waiting arms. We four became best friends for life.

1960 - My frazzled father and his girls

1960 - My mother left us today. We knew another baby was on the way but we didn’t see her belly grow. We were told that the babies made mom very sick; one baby was in the belly but the other baby did not quite make it there and it was growing where it should not. When back from the hospital, mom explained that the Angels took the babies to safety as they were too small to be in this big world. She cried tears of sadness but also tears of joy as she marvelled at how her four young daughters had grown so very much while she was gone. We were all, best friends for life.

1961 - 4 Best Friends; Simone, Sue, Nick and Dee

1961 - My mother left us today. The day had been frantic as my older sister could not be found. After making phone calls that produced no results, Mom and Dad spent the day driving the streets searching for her. Finally, word came that she had hitched a ride from North Bay to Sudbury, where her other real sisters lived. At eleven years old, she felt that if she stayed with our family, she would lose another mother; a mother she loved very much. In her young mind she thought if she was not with us, mom would have a longer life. Her loving and gentle manner left our home that day but in our hearts, she remained our sister for life.

This loving and beautiful sister Simone Benoit, passed away on December 21, 2007.

1963 - My mother left us today with much excitement. We had watched mom’s belly grow and all the while preparations were being made for this newcomer. My baby sister came home to a household of excited siblings, aunts and uncles. My poor father had, once again, missed the opportunity for a son. At nine years old I felt ready to assist in all chores; my greatest wish was to change diapers. I did get that chance, but only once. This new baby did not appreciate me stabbing her with the diaper pin. The howl she emitted quickly put me off the yearning to help in that capacity. I did NOT repeat my desire to change diapers after that. As time passed, we played together, we taught each other and we helped each other. We four became best friends for life.

1965 - Nick, Dee, Sue, Angèle

And so, childhood gave way to the inevitable stage of adulthood and each, in turn, left the family home. Though separated by distance this did not stop any of us in the continued sharing of ourselves with each other. My sister/cousin, re-united to our family, was also a big part in this sharing. Our friendships continued to deepen and we all stayed best friends for life.

2009 - My mother left her home today, for the last time. Lung cancer was the diagnosis. “Ah! Those damn cigarettes,” she had confessed. Hospitalized for this last journey of her life she still took the opportunity to teach her girls. “If I have not taught you anything worthwhile in my life” she had said, “I hope, at least to teach you how to die with dignity.” And she did just that. My mother left me today, but only in body for she will always be my best friend for life.

1999 - Best Friends for Life: Do, Nick, Dee, Sue, Ange

Note of thanks to my mother and sisters for sharing these wonderful photos. And to my sisters for giving me permission to publish them.



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