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HELENA WEBER ROSE (published on September 10, 2011)

HELENA WEBER ROSE To Mom Today would have been your 87th birthday. You didn't quite make it. We thought you would. We were sure you would live to be over a hundred. You were such a busy little bee, always on the go, always doing something, especially for others. Even on your last day you worked at the little job you loved, you planted flowers and weeded your garden, took care of your family of felines, and cooked yourself a tasty meal. The next day you and I were going to buy milkweed plants for your Monarch butterfly garden, but sometime before dawn your kind and gentle spirit took flight from it's earthly bonds. We are very sad. You worked hard all your life. As a little girl of German descent growing up in Odessa, Russia, you and your family enjoyed a comfortable life, until one night, like happened to so many others at that time, your father was taken away, never to be seen or heard from again. And, like happened to so many others, the family was plunged into poverty. You stood in long bread lines before school each morning only to find, more often than not, that there was no bread left when you got to the front of the line. Extreme hunger became part of normal life. Your family lived on soup made from any scraps of food that was available. All your life you loved soup and made the most delicious soups from the simplest of ingredients. A gift of a bag of flour brought your family great joy. Your mother could make bread. At night you and your siblings raided gardens, cracking watermelons over your knees to get at the flesh. Watermelons have never tasted as good since. You made your own dolls and doll clothes from any bits of stuff you could find, and became a beautiful hand sewer. Later on you loved to buy clothes because you liked the material and you would take them apart and redesign and sew them all by hand. You worked at different jobs when you married Dad and moved to Wolfsburg, Germany in 1943. It was wartime and life was still tough. In 1952 came the big move to Canada. We settled in Winnipeg where you have lived and worked every since. You loved it here. You loved the freedom, the abundance of food, all the stores, the wide open prairie and big blue sky. You loved your little house, your garden with the flowers and all the little creatures in it, your cats and your family. You were always there for your family. When your grandson Troy, announced at the age of 12 that he wanted to be an airline pilot, you scrimped and saved and were able to pay for his flying lessons so that his dream could come true, which it has. You looked after Troy and myriad dogs and cats when I was working even though you were working yourself. You did so much for all of us all the time. We love you and miss you very much. God bless your beautiful soul. Mom loved cats and a donation to Craig Street Cats would be a wonderful way to honour her memory. Thank you to those of you who have already donated. Heartfelt thanks to everyone for the cards, the flowers, the calls and the hugs. Your expressions of sympathy were, and still are, very much appreciated. Maria and Greg, Troy and Rita.

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