TO MY MOTHER

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COMMEMORATION AND TRIBUTE

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One quality that I wish my mother to be remembered by was her happy and cheerful disposition. As a child, she said she didn’t know her real name for some time since everyone called her ‘Happy’ because that’s just what she was… happy.

Though she had her share of adversities, this predisposition remained with her. Her most significant challenge in life was adjusting to the tragic death of her husband, Gordon, in 1951.

She waited for his return from England while he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WW2, only to have him pass away with cancer six years later while she was still in her twenties. As he lay in bed for months dying in their small farmhouse, she attended to him, to me, and all the farm chores.

After he passed, she continued to operate the dairy farm with some help from her younger sister, Ivy, who took care of me. Back then, there was little automation for milking cows, and so she had to be strong. The large milk cans she had to sling into the water cooler had to be quite the challenge for a woman of not much more than a hundred pounds. (She used to brag about how she was able to do this.) 

Being resilient, she soon moved on with her life to a native residential school in Whitehorse, Yukon, working for little more than subsistence living. But at least she was able to start a new life meeting new friends on staff, many with children my age. It was almost a communal family life we enjoyed whereby we had room and board in the abandoned military compound converted into a residential school.

After a few years there, she was forced to return to the farm to fulfil conditions of residency for her husband’s loan obligations to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. During this time, she had no farm income or support, just putting in time alone on the farm. 

I don’t how, but I assumed she must have had some savings to live off from the sale of the dairy herd and farm equipment. It's something she never talked about, at least to me since she wasn’t one to talk much about the difficulties of her past. This is another example of how she taught more through her actions and her attitude than through words.

I fondly recall that year on the farm where I attended a one-room schoolhouse down the road. The snowfall was particularly massive that year, and so it was several weeks before the road was ploughed so she could get out. For me, it was fun, great fun walking over six-foot snowdrifts to school, but probably not so great for her to be literally snowed-in. We had no running water inside or indoor plumbing, only a hand pump outside and sufficient coal for the stove.

I don’t know how happy or unhappy she was through all this, but I don’t remember her ever complaining about life or showing any signs of depression. Yet, I’m sure this must have been a very lonely time for her.

Somehow, she managed to survive that lonely year until, in mid-1956, she found employment in Wetaskiwin, now being allowed to move off the farm. We lived in an old, somewhat dilapidated suite on top of a barbershop on Mainstreet next door to where she found work as a telephone operator. Often, she had to work late-night shifts, and sometimes all night.  

And so, after a couple of years of this, she took a low paying job of $27.00 per week as a sales clerk in the men’s wear of Montgomery’s Department store, far less than she was paid at AGT. She no longer wished to leave me alone at night as a young boy while working evenings and nights. For her, this decrease was worth it, so she might be a good parent to be with me after 6 pm each day.

Prior to this, I was failing my third year of school due to a first-year teacher who terrorized me with her penchant for screaming at me to learn her lessons. To her everlasting credit, my mother took it upon herself to tutor me when she had time, helping me improve my marks such that I was able to make it through that year and pass. Her patience and belief in me continued throughout the years as I graduated from high school, college and university.

Then, after raising me for eighteen years, I was suddenly gone. She realized I was a man now, and the time had come for me to make my way. So, without objection, she released me to explore the world.

I know it wasn’t easy for her the day I left home just weeks after graduating from high school in 1967. I remember how she drove me to the highway west of Wetaskiwin, where I began my hitchhiking sojourns to unknown destinations throughout the USA.

Years later, I learned from someone that she said this was one of the most difficult things she had ever done and yet she showed no signs of sorrow as I got out of the car to step out on the highway to find my way to the American Midwest.

That’s another thing I can say about her. For the most part, she supported my decisions, as questionable as some of them might have turned out to be. She never tried to manipulate my life but trusted I would do what was right, at least for me. Just as she wasn’t afraid to take bold new initiatives, she allowed life to unfold as it would.

At the time of my leaving, I wasn’t sure if I would ever return to her home here. When I returned to Canada, she had sold her house and secured an apartment in Calgary with a better job and life. Just as I had moved on, so had she.

It wasn’t until four years later when I returned from Florida, she permitted me to move in her basement suite that I might afford my post-secondary studies at university. During this time, she never asked me to pay room and board, seemingly content that I would aspire towards higher education. It seemed she enjoyed having me back, at least until I moved out for the second and last time after I got married.

I then moved to Edmonton to begin my career but returned to Calgary six years later with my family. While visiting her each time, she always had something for us to take home as we walked out the door. That was just part of her nature; to give. It’s what made her happy.

Over the years, she served as a volunteer in certain capacities, including a girl’s ‘pioneer’ club at her church. After retirement, she loved to have my two young sons stay with her overnight, one at a time. Then, the next day, she would take them to parks to play and then go shopping downtown to buy them whatever clothes they wanted. Again, giving is what she was about. 

She was also a dutiful daughter, often visiting her parents retired in Edmonton, Alberta, then Kelowna, British Columbia in their latter years. She would often jump into her car after work and drive for seven or eight hours to visit them for the weekend. My grandfather was very fond of her, always waiting up for her to arrive.

Not only did she have an independent spirit, but she was also adventurous, occasionally driving to the mountains to vacation. While I was still young, she would sometimes travel to Jasper, Alberta, to enjoying the rivers, lakes and mountain scenery.

Later, she flew to Florida on her own to attend my graduation from Trinity College in 1971 and then about ten years later visited me in Midland, Texas, where I had a land development project. Also, she often flew to visit her sister Roma in California.

There were few things in life she enjoyed more than plants, flowers and birds. And so, I find it no great mystery or coincidence that upon her final departure, the orchid in her room profusely blossomed the next few days after I took it home from her suite.

Of course, it is difficult to summarize a life in a few pages, but let me say that she was a woman of strong resolve above all, to the point of being annoyingly stubborn. But that trait was part of her strength of character as she happily made her way through life very much on her own. (Believe me, it was not easy for me to move her out of her house after forty-four years and into a senior’s residence.)

As far as I know, she never missed a day at work, but then, she was incredibly strong and healthy. Even when she found she had ovarian cancer in her early eighties, she took it in stride and was not at all fazed when a doctor told her she would likely have only a fifteen percent chance of recovering. I was there to see her ‘I will show you,' smirk on her face.

After fully recovering, we later met with a group of doctors that told her she was in great shape and could easily make it into her early nineties. Upon which, she turned to me and said, ‘I guess you’ll be driving me around for a while yet,’ to which everyone laughed. As it turned out, I would be driving her for several more years than just that. Even as she got older, she continued to come up with several one-liners.

In closing, let me say, if it’s not already apparent, my mother possessed great wisdom, strength and impeccable moral character. Although a simple, relatively uneducated woman with a few foibles as we all do, she unknowingly held me to a high standard of integrity and personal conduct. 

Our loss, mother, is heaven’s gain. Still, we will miss you as you continue your journey into higher realms with your husband Gordon, your only true love.

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TRIBUTES

 

Memories of a Loving Sister

Roma Ortlieb

I was the last of five girls to be born.  My sisters were years older. One special sister was Alice. Many times, I was told that when I arrived at home, Alice

was there and took me out of my mother’s arms and, along with my mother, lovingly cared for me until she moved to Calgary to further her education.

After she married Gordon, I spent many weekends and summers with them on their farm.  They always treated me so special.

After Alec and I moved to California, I tried to visit Alice as often as possible and in turn, she visited us at least ten times. When she came, we enjoyed going places from the ocean to the deserts, to the redwoods, or our own yard.  Alice enjoyed the beauty of nature from the smallest flower to the biggest redwood.  Her visits were such a joy as she opened our eyes to what we took for granted.

One of the visits is still so memorable.  Alec, Chad, Amy, and I went to Banff to surprise and celebrate Alice’s 80th birthday.  Neil and Andrew brought Alice to Banff.  First Neil and Andrew toured the gardens which she always enjoyed, then they took her to Banff Springs Hotel and informed her they had reservations for dinner.  They were seated at a table with extra settings. Alice kept asking, “Why are there extra settings on this table?”  Soon Alec and I walked in and saw her look of disbelief.  After a few minutes, Chad and Amy walked in and Alice cried in shock.

What a dinner that was!  After dinner she was ready to go home, only to discover home for the next two nights was an upgraded room that the hotel granted when they were informed that it was my sister’s 80th birthday.  It was such a wonderful time being able to share the room with Alice and enjoy our time together.

The next day Amy and I took Alice for high tea at the hotel.  We ate, we talked, and we laughed for a long time.  Alice said she never thought she would have high tea and have such a good time.  She was so happy to have Amy with us.  Alice talked about this for a long time.

Not only was her love extended to me, but also to Chad and later to Amy.  She never forgot Chad’s birthday and would always, to his delight, have some money in the card.  Chad having only a vague memory of his grandparents, cherished Alice and loved her as a grandmother.

On August 2019, was the last time Chad, Amy, Alexander and I visited Alice and Neil.  All of us spent time with her but I was so privileged to be alone with her for most of a day.  She was so alert, had such a sense of humour, and remembered so much from our past.  That was the last time I saw her.

Now there is an emptiness not having her with us but I have a lifetime of memories and know I will see her in heaven.

I will always treasure the last birthday card and the message that she was able to send.  It says:

“One of the best things about growing older is that we learn to appreciate the important things in life – peace of mind, a sense of fulfilment, and the caring of those we hold dear… and these are the joys I wish for you…

Love, Alice”

 

Andrew Meyers, Grandson

I remember every time I went to see Grandma through childhood to becoming an adult, she would make me these delicious sandwiches with the works; chicken nuggets, bacon, tomatoes and cheese etc. Just thinking about them now makes me Hungry. Somehow, she always had those items available just in case I came by. 

Right before she moved out of her house on Elbow drive, I came by to visit her with my girlfriend Jenny (now wife) and Jenny's sister. Grandma went into the kitchen and came out with a giant bowl of blueberries doused with white sugar and unwhipped whipping cream poured on top as if it were a bowl of cereal. We all had a laugh about how she came up with the idea, but it was delicious to say the least and I ate every last bite. She always had a smile and was an amazing grandmother to us. 

As time passed, she became less coherent, but she still had a big smile every time she saw us and especially her great-grandson Henry. While she never actually got to meet Ellie, she was very proud of knowing that Eleanor (Ellie) was derived from her middle name. In our final goodbye just days before her passing, we were able to video chat with her, and Grandma had the biggest smile on her face when she saw Ellie on the phone. Ellie had only awoken minutes earlier as if she knew, and I was very happy to see the joy she brought Grandma. 

 

Danny Meyers, Grandson 

I've put lots of thought into it and it's been really nice to reflect. I just remember how happy she was and giving, I can't really say more than that. It defined her really. And it's remarkable she could have kept all that positivity through life with the adversity she faced. They definitely don't make them like that anymore, and never will. One of a kind

 

Chad Ortlieb, nephew

Thank you for your wonderful narration of your mother's life.  As I read it, I could see the nature, qualities, and characteristics of your mom that I had known from my limited times with her.  She was who I came to think of as my adopted grandma since I was fairly young when our actual grandma passed.  Of all the sisters, she was my favourite, and I think my mom's also with, an added benefit of being a refuge of sister politics I don't think I'll ever understand. She always had snacks ready without me even knowing I was hungry, your toy cars in the closet near the entryway at the Calgary house ready to be played with, and she was always more of a listener than a talker. 

I have adopted a response I heard from her often that I don't think anyone except maybe those closest to her would recognize; her simple response to a statement was frequently "um hum."  It was the ultimate response in my mind. She could hear a statement that was absolute nonsense or uninteresting, and the response from there would merely be um hum, no argument, no waste of time or words, just a short concluding sound that she heard the statement.  The tone to the um hum would either tell you she was more than confident she knew the truth of the topic, and there would be no further debate, or if it was just time to move to a different subject, or if it was an acknowledgement confirming a statement.   

I have fond memories of her accompanying me in the backyard and helping me pick the fruits and vegetables she was growing or accompanying me to the basement, a strange and foreign place for a California kid that never experienced such places. 

Your mom's memory will remain with me for a lifetime until I see her again and I hope time is beginning to heal your wounds with a prayer that they will heal with more time.  You were a good so,n Neil, to have been with her these many past years.  May you grasp the blessings you received in turn.

Sincerely,

Chad Ortlieb, nephew

LAST DAY

 

It didn’t take long for my mother to affirm her well-being a couple of days after departing. Having seemingly suffered in the hospital for three days while on morphine, I was told by an ‘intuitive’ from a church in Vancouver that she wasn’t in her body anymore but still remained attached to it in her spirit because, at some level, she was waiting for me to give her permission to leave.

As soon as my friend of this ‘intuitive’ called me suggesting I needed to go to the hospital right away to send her off. Then, I was told, she would go. Even before I hung up, the hospital called me on the other line that she probably wouldn’t make it through the night.  

I immediately went to visit her, but unlike the last time, she seemed to have no consciousness, although she was breathing heavily. Laying motionless and looking straight up, it seemed she wasn’t there. In the privacy of her room, I spend the next 15-20 minutes talking to her, telling her about her great contribution to life on earth, but it was now time for her to go.

I told her they had a big party planned for her so she shouldn't keep them any longer since her husband and all her friends, relatives would be waiting for her.

As for me; I said I could probably take it from here.  

I had perfect peace as I spoke to her and then I left the room. I learned the next day that when the nurses stepped into the room about five minutes later, she had already gone. Again, this was predicted by the Vancouver friend.

Funny things happened to my phones and communication equipment for a day or two after, which I won’t bother going into. Interestingly, the orchid I brought to my home from her suite suddenly bloomed profusely and beautifully over the next day with five new blossoms.

But perhaps the most interesting thing that happened is that I received an email from a friend of mine who is also a very talented intuitive. This was a message she heard from my mother who introduced herself as Alice. When asked, she said, Neil’s mom. In part, this is what the email said.

“Hi Neil, just thought I’d let you know that your mother stopped by briefly this morning. She said that it meant a lot to her when you told her that it was time to go. So, when you said that, she said that she filled with love, peace and gratitude and was able, with great ease, to let go of the last of the need to hold on no matter what. She wanted you to know that that was a great gift. 

“She wasn’t in pain the last few days. While her body was going through the last processes of disconnecting with her spirit, it didn’t occur to her as painful. She was out of the body throughout most of that time so it wasn’t disturbing to her in any way. She was sorry if that process was upsetting to you or anyone around it.”

Deb, the intuitive, had heard of my mother passing away but had never met her, nor did my mother know Deb or even know of Deb. But somehow, my mother knew who to go to get this message to me.

I was grateful for it since my mother seemed to have suffered a great deal the last few days. I hope this little vignette might have been of some interest.

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OBITUARY


Alice Meyers

August 11, 1922 - March 18, 2021

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My mother, Alice Meyers, of Calgary, passed away on March 18, 2021, at the age of 98, after a brief stay in the hospital. She departed, not from any illness, but because she wanted to. Being a farmgirl and later a farmwife, she loved the outdoors, just as she loved to visit people. And so, a point came, when it was no longer tenable, or even tolerable, for her to remain restricted to her senior’s home as required by government regulations for most of this last year.

Her husband, Gordon Meyers, predeceased her on March 27th, 1951, almost 70 years prior. 

Born in a farmhouse near the village of Millet, Alberta, she was the second in a family of five girls. Of these daughters, she was predeceased by Ivy Fritzke, Irene Schaeffer, and most recently by Annis Teske. Her youngest sister, Roma Ortlieb of Orange, California, survives her. 

She is also survived by me, her son, Neil Meyers, of Calgary; her grandsons, Danny, also of Calgary, and Andrew of Kelowna, BC, along with two great-grandchildren, Henry and Ellie.

After completing her 9th-grade schooling, she remained on the farm, working for her parents until moving to Calgary to attend Prophetic Bible Institute in 1942. In that time, she met her future husband, Gordon, in Calgary just prior to him serving in The Royal Canadian Air Force in London, England, during WW2. Ironically, he was also raised on a farm near Millet within about ten miles of her.

They married shortly after his return in 1945 and began a dairy farm near Millet. Just two years after I, their only child, was born in 1949, he passed away in their farmhouse after a lengthy struggle with cancer. She was left to continue the farming operations for almost a year until selling the farm assets and moving to Whitehorse, Yukon, in 1952, where she worked in several support capacities at the Baptist Indian Mission School. 

She returned to the farm in 1955, where she remained until moving to Wetaskiwin the following year. There she began work at AGT (Alberta Government Telephones) as a telephone operator for a few years. Later she worked at Montgomery’s Department store as a sales clerk in the men’s wear. During this time we lived in a small flat on top of a barbershop on the main street with only one bedroom, a living area, and kitchen.  

After a few years, she was able to sell the farm and take the equity to buy a home in Wetaskiwin, where she remained until 1967 when she moved to Calgary. Prior to that, I had left home to wander about the USA after completing high school, where I ended up at a small post-secondary college in Florida. 

In that same year, she obtained a job with BA (British American Oil Company, then becoming Gulf Canada), where she served in a few positions, including map librarian. In 1988 she retired and spent most of her remaining years in the house she purchased in 1968. 

In 2014, at the age of 92, she moved into a senior’s complex, where she remained until she passed this March due to gov't restrictions.

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SUMMARY OF ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE NOVEL SERIES

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Elysium's Passage a series of seven narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips, who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.  

After experiencing a near-fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding of life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed or could believe.

An engaging and sometimes surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality, and our ultimate destiny. 

The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of existence.

To read a sample press review at https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/05/prweb15515775.htm   

 

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The following comments are excerpts from among the first readers, including a number of Amazon five star reviews. To read the full reviews, go to READER REVIEWS on www.elysiumspassage.com or directly at https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/reader-reviews  

"A delightful mix of fantasy, reality, conjecture, and humour; Mr Meyers draws the reader into the story with a gentle narrative that captures the imagination, leaving one anxious to get to the next page drawing you into his exceptional world.”

"Quietly, gently, and without imposition, the Author unfolds the pages, creating an intricate, interlocking bridge spanning the chasm between mind and heart. Renewing, refreshing, restoring. In my bereavement, it was vigil and light…"

“Excellently written with an exceedingly deep understanding of this world and the next. The characters are very well written and engaging. I can't wait to complete this book!"

“Takes the reader on both a philosophical and spiritual journey, a journey that at times is both disquieting and tranquil. James, a British Philosopher, can be irreverent and caustic, traits that should have left me cringing, but instead made me laugh out loud. Elysium’s Passage is a fun, enlightening and remarkable book.”

“This is a masterful fantasy, becoming a real possibility, as the reader is drawn into the story. The Summit leaves you anxious for the next book in the series, yet also leaves you totally satisfied with the world you have just visited. Genius! An exciting yet calming experience that is not to be missed."

"There was hardly a page on which I did not find at least one sentence worthy of hi-lighting for future reference. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, James, whose personality and passionate verbal exchanges with the other characters, kept me coming back for more. I am reading the book for a second time while I wait for the next one in this series to be made available."

 “N.G. Meyers has clearly put a great deal of research and thought into what the afterlife may look like and I like his perspective. It’s an altogether welcoming and exciting vision. The book gives one a great deal to think about and a reassuring confidence that the end of our lives is truly the beginning of life in the next. I highly recommend it."

"I am really enjoying your book, it’s fantastic! It is so incredible and diversified that I can’t really explain it to other people, so what I say is just read this book. Thank you so much for the blessings that you’ve given the world!"

“The humour interjected into a serious discussion makes me laugh out loud. Totally unexpected....l may be in the presence of at least a master, if not a genius. A fair ride into reality... seeking that which is unseen, yet absolutely real.”

“An engaging story of adventure embracing man's deepest desire to search for meaning and purpose, N.G. Meyers takes the reader on an adventurous thought-provoking journey. This book has substance. It is a perfect blend of adventure and fantasy combined with spiritual philosophy. It ignited my imagination. The author magically weaves a good story laced with wit and humour together with deep philosophical wisdom. This book has it all!”

“An evolution in thought is triggered by many fresh philosophical themes which could inspire readers to re-think their reality and former ideologies that have dictated their lives… the author fires readers’ imaginations to view what could be possible when spirit vacates the body.”

“This is the book spiritual seekers have been waiting for. For me, it granted a great read as well as increased inspiration to live every day with a heightened sense of purpose. I highly recommend it.

“The Summit is capable of hooking readers and luring them to search for Book 2 to discover more about Dr. Philip’s surreal trek into the mysterious unknown universe. This thick book is well worth the read and to share…”

“Mind-blowing statements and speculation (‘…everyone is a non-physical thought form conceived in the Mind of God, preserved for all eternity because God’s thoughts never die…’). Many will find Meyers’ journey up the Mountain intriguing—and possibly even life-changing.” (BLUEINK REVIEW)

“In its effort to grapple with fundamental questions about the meaning of life, it raises questions that have echoed throughout the ages, including about where we come from, where we are going, who we are.”  (CLARION REVIEW) 

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CONTACT INFORMATION & SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

 
  
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/neil.meyers.1 or www.facebook.com/elysiumspassage/     

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