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filial devotion

It’s a sad and terrible thing to go to the funeral of a friend – especially a friend like Elizabeth Harris who worked to make the world kinder, better connected, healthier and tastier – but today’s service for her was one of the most beautiful I can remember. It was a secular ceremony held at the huge and grand Metropolitan United Church – that magnificent interior full to overflowing, a very fine community gathering place.

There was music and poetry, and there were speakers. Our counsellor Pam McConnell spoke of Elizabeth’s forcefulness in fundraising for her various causes. “Elizabeth spoke many languages,” she said, “but she didn’t understand ‘no’ in any of them.” Jamie Kennedy, one of Toronto’s most famous chefs, spoke of the boost she gave to the “local food” movement, with her two farmer’s markets. Stephen Strauss, who was a great host, told us of Elizabeth’s last days, receiving an endless stream of friends in her bedroom, including the singer Michael Burgess who did a concert just for her. Stephen spoke most movingly of the care given Elizabeth by her daughter. “If you want an example of filial devotion,” he said, breaking down, “look no further than Anna Murtaugh.” A life well lived, Elizabeth; a death well honoured.
Speaking of filial devotion, my son gave me a wonderful present for Christmas – the “Bliss” package at a spa – manicure, pedicure, facial and massage. So I booked it for last Thursday. The masseur was sick that day, so I just had the first three – which was good, because there was so much bliss in those that I was glad to save a bit for another day. Afterwards, a pampered poodle, I floated two blocks up Yonge Street to Sam’s restaurant, where he asked the chef to make a special salad for my lunch. Pretty damn filially devoted, I’d say.
But now – reality. It’s still viciously damp, though not so cold – spring is teasing in the air and it’s daylight savings time tonight. I am at the exhausted, overloaded stage with packing and preparation where I say, “I will never leave my house again!”
You’ve heard this before. It’s like childbirth; you forget the pain it took to get you there, once you’re there.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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