Christmas wasn’t the same this year. Just before we arrived in Manitoba, my grandmother passed away. We all knew it was coming but it still made it hard to enjoy family time when she was missing.
Baba was a huge part of my childhood. My cousins and I spent every summer, from 5-15, with her on the farm. My parents, aunts and uncles would visit, but for the most part she looked after us (up to 7 grandkids) on her own for two months of the year. We had chores (like picking weeds and feeding the animals) but she did most of the cooking and cleaning. She was a mother to 5 children and a second parent to 7 grandchildren. It must have been exhausting but she made it look easy.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the summers I spent with my cousins and Baba on the farm. I learned to swim in Sandy Lake, we played cribbage and crokinole in the evenings, we picked raspberries and chokecherries, and she made the best homemade bread.
She gave each of her grandchildren a trip anywhere in Canada for our 9th birthday. I chose Churchill – an odd choice, but we had a blast. We took the train up (a three day journey) with interesting people from around the world, rode a tundra buggy looking for polar bears (we didn’t find any but they let me drive for a while), ate the most amazing arctic char, and froze our butts off, even in March.
A few weeks before she passed away, I was able to talk to her and say good-bye. It wasn’t easy, but I know it’s not an opportunity most people get. She looked tired, but her mind was still sharp. She remembered things I had long forgotten. She never complained, but it must have been hard having her body fail her when her mind was still so strong.
Good bye Baba. I hope one day that my kids get the same opportunity to spend quality time with their grandparents.
Joyce Coulson (nee Luhowy) passed away the morning of December 19, 2015 at the Assiniboine Center in Brandon. She was predeceased by her husband Peter, her parents Nicholas and Mary (Yanick) Luhowy, her brother Eugene Luhowy, brother and sister-in-law Earl and Clarice Luhowy and son-in-law Rodney Dadey. Joyce is survived by her five children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Glenn Coulson (Pat, Justin (Erin), Alexander), Darlene Porter (Ken, Kerry, Christopher (Emily), Kelsey (Matt, Jacob), Laverne Lewandoski (Dennis), Sheila Klimchuk, Sheryl Dadey (Derek (Jodi, Pennelope), Trevor). She is also survived by her sister Shirley Eurchuk (Mike) and her baby brother Larry Luhowy (Darlene) and sister-in-law June Luhowy.
Joyce was born on the family farm in Olha on December 10, 1933, the oldest daughter of Nicholas and Mary (Yanick) Luhowy. She graduated from Teachers College in 1952 and taught at Hazelwood, St. John Kant, Sandy Lake and Elphinstone schools. On October 8, 1955 she married Peter Coulson and settled at the family farm in Sandy Lake. Joyce was involved in many community activities including Home and School Association, 4-H Clubs, Ukrainian Catholic Womens’ League, Communities in Bloom, Sandy Lake Cultural Museum and the Ladies Legion Auxiliary Branch 184 as well as numerous community projects. Joyce was an avid gardener and was recognized for her prowess by winning awards for her home farm grounds in 1998, 2000 and 2002 and was featured on Prairie Farm Report. In 2010, Joyce won a YWCA “Woman of Distinction” Award recognizing all of her community service involvements. Joyce has been a resident of the Brandon Lions Manor since 2009.
Joyce enjoyed being a Baba and treated each grandchild to a special weekend trip anywhere in Canada when they turned nine years of age (old enough to be away from Mom and Dad and young enough to not be embarrassed to be seen with Baba). All the grandchildren spent every summer at the farm with Baba and have special memories of their time spent with their grandmother, working for her and getting to know her. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 2, 2016 at 11:00 am at Sandy Lake Ukrainian Catholic Church, Father Emil Kardasinec officiating. A family interment will take place at the parish cemetery. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Sandy Lake Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Association, Sandy Lake in Bloom, or Sandy Lake Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Remembrances and condolences may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org – Rae’s Funeral Service of Shoal Lake and Erickson in care of the arrangements (204)759-2160.