2. Nellie Harcourt Eulogy

Eulogy for Nellie Harcourt

Born June 20, 1925 – Died May 2, 2000

May 5, 2000

Written and delivered by her daughter, Ellen Sagh with help from her siblings

Nellie, Mom, or Gramma is what she was mostly called but tonight I will call her Mom as she said a week ago in the hospital, “Don’t let them call me Ellen or Mrs. Harcourt!”

Mom loved people. Mom knew how to be with people. If she met someone on the street, she had a comment to make.

“You look like a million bucks” or “Who died and made you boss?”

At the Co-op store yesterday, the cashiers said, Nellie gave us such a rough time. She had a saying for every occasion.

“Mother pin a rose on me.

You horse’s neck.

You’ll get a reward in heaven for this.”

She loved her tea. She loved cards. She loved to smoke.

I told her last week, “We are so glad you quit smoking and aren’t coughing anymore.”

She loved a good party. If someone wanted to tell a joke, she’d say, “Is it a clean one?”  She loved to dance. She took pride in the fact that she went to fifty-two danced in a year and not one during Lent.

She liked going places. She loved the hunting trips with Dad and Leo and Nora or out to Radium Hot Springs with the Casey’s or down to see Lois & Cyril’s, Brian & Colleen’s or Gary & Darcee’s.

Or the trips down east with Laura Miller. We’re surprised Laura Miller is here today because she gave Laura Miller such a hard time and yet it was Laura she asked for two Sundays ago; when they brought communion. She wanted Laura with her but she didn’t want her to sing. (family joke)

She loved the trips she took with Dad to visit the kids. She’d call ahead and say, “we’ll get there about supper but don’t worry about it; just a cup of tea and a piece of bread will do.”

Even when she was at home with the ten kids, Isabel, Nora or Doreen would come over and it didn’t matter whether clothes were piled up or weeds were in the garden, she’d say, “Come in, sit down and have a cup of tea.” Or she’d be going to tea at their place.

As her nephew, Mel Casey said at their 50th Anniversary last summer, “Tom graded roads, Nellie inspected them.”

But seriously, Nellie or Mom or Gramma was at every event for her kids, her grandkids, and her friends that she could get to when she wasn’t making meals, making lunches and washing clothes or baking the 27-30 loaves of bread every 3 or 4 days.

She took pride in her ironing. It could be a leftover from her working days at Daniel’s Drycleaners before she was married.

Through the years she didn’t lose her Irish too often (get angry) with Dad or us kids but she knew how to get her point across. Usually, “Wait till your Dad gets home.”

Her grandchildren looked for their birthday cards each yeard with their $2.00 bill in it.

She liked the little things; the plastic lilac flowers she had for years that we used in the spray on top of the coffin;

The gladiolas

The cows on their lawn

The carousel pen holder made by a blind man

The pictures Lawrence drew for her

The little chick Phyllis brought her Easter morning.

Marlene was saying even when Marlene was little, the Friendly Giant would be on and Marlene would yell every day, “Mom, come see; the cows jumping over the moon!”, and every day, Mom would stop what she was doing and go in and watch the cow jump over the moon.

She had friends. She was non-judgmental. No matter what we had done, or who we had brought home. We were ok. They were ok.

She would listen to teenagers or someone who society saw as less than. She would lend them $10.00 and know it might be going to smokes or beer and she’d give it. She didn’t forget she’d given it but nearly every time they would come back, pay it and sit down and have another visit.

She enjoyed the teasing, the card-playing and visiting of her nieces and nephews on the Casey and Harcourt side. Many of those who couldn’t be here phoned.

The in-laws and grandchildren had a running commentary every time they saw her about, “I’m the favorite son-in-law or daughter-in-law or this is your favorite granddaughter phoning.

Her oldest and youngest grandchild of 29 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren were with her when she died. Now the argument will still go on which was the favorite. You all were.

Many times she knew more about the lives of the woman in the grocery store or the guy in the bowling alley than she did of the lives of her children and grandchildren. That wasn’t a bad thing. It just was.

Mom or Gramma seldom said she loved us but her actions showed us how to stay connected.

-her address book

-her phone lists

-her letters

-Years ago, even though she was terrified of mice and so was Phyllis, she went to Phyllis’ when Phyllis had three small babies and lots of mice and Phyllis had phoned and said, “Mom I need you.

-Nellie set the traps.

-Nellie emptied the traps.

Dad (Tom) was everything to her and everything for her. She would always check it out with him first and say, “I will see what Tom thinks.”

For someone whose Mother died when Mom was 5 years old, she did a fantastic job of being a wife, mother and grandmother.

50 years.

If anyone doubted it before she’d raised the 10 kids, or after Dorothy died; these last few years proved she was an incredible, strong woman.

Every time we thought she would die, she came through; and even; this last time; doctors, nurses; no one could predict if this was the end.

She was getting closer and closer and she was getting ready.

She told us she was tired.

She was questioning whether she had said or done the right thing.

When Kevin or Jason would come into the hospital room and she’d say, “Here comes trouble.”; she was wondering.

About 2 weeks ago, Kevin, Phyllis and I were with her and she asked me if I knew the number to open up the gates and I knew for her she was talking about the gates of heaven and last week, Shirley and I were with her and she said, “I’m ready. I know the number.”

She told Laura Deibert who spent hours and hours with Mom and Dad; that she saw angels. She told the nurses last week, “I’m trying to die but I’m making a hell of a poor job of it.”

Most importantly, she was at peace at the end and no pain.

She was trying to sing along, 15 minutes before she died to the “Alleluia” from “Peace is Flowing Like A River”; and over the next few months, ask Grampa, Dad, Tom how she looked at him when she died.

Lots of love there.

Last night we were talking about when she was five years old; she was on a Regina radio station and sang,

“Kitty my pretty white kitty

Why do you scamper away?

I’m finished my word and my lessons

And now I am ready to play.”

Well, Mom, Nellie, Gramma finished her work and her lessons and now she is ready to play.

—-Ellen Sagh

summer:  306 382-5204
winter      480 373-1734
writings:   ellensagh.com

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