I Want To Be Buried In My Favourite Hat

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Olga Rogers was the only living child of her mother Winifred Jordan when she passed away almost a year ago. “Tenacious’ was the word she said best described her 85-year-old mother.

Her daughter recalls her affectionately as a woman who being a double amputee, and wheel-chair bound always kept herself and those around her in bright spirit. It was a testament of her character.

She recalls proudly, her mother’s joy as the women sat by the window watching the neighborhood children play on the outside – a daily past time for the women. Her mother’s laughter is jovial and heavy. It fills up the entire room as the scenery unfolded in front of her.

Even more proudly she speaks of her mother’s love for the Lord. “Sun shine, rain fall, she was going to church!” she laughed. “There were times when she was sick, and she would still go. She believed that God was a healer and that He could do anything, if we just had faith.” She was a staple of her church community. On Sunday mornings, one would see her sitting at the very top of the church waving her hands in elation, hear her voice ringing through the halls of the sanctuary.

“Her daughter’s only concern then that she
was buried in the hat her mother cherished”

The daughter’s grief is quiet. At first glance there is no outward manifestation of loss. There weren’t any tears, any outcry of agony when her mother died, she recalled. She continued outwardly as the happy jovial woman her mother raised her to be. It is only in her voice- the fond remembrance, that reveals a mixture of sadness and nostalgia.
“There isn’t a day I don’t think about my mother. I worry about her sometimes as though she were still alive. I think about what I’m going to cook for her in the morning, about our conversations and the time we sat watching television, then it hits me suddenly….”

Being her mother’s caretaker was not an easy task. On evenings after a tiresome day at the Sandy Lane hotel catering to others, she would come home to do the same for her mother. She never complained however. For her it was a job that she cherished, one she always looked forward to. She thought of it as a small “miniscule” thank-you to her mother for raising her. She thought of it as a homage to a life lesson her mother taught her: “when you become a mother, you are basically sacrificing your life for another human being.” This lesson she put into raising her own son and still uses today to care for her grandson and grand-daughter.

On the afternoon of her mother’s passing, she is leaving the Sunday morning service at her home church. A call from the hospital notifies her that her mother has died of heart failure as suffering from a myriad of illnesses, afternoon plans are changed and she goes immediately to her mother’s bedside. A sense of relief that her mother was no longer in pain or suffering is punctuated with a great sense of loss. It is bittersweet.

Funeral arrangements are easy- her mother save bits and pieces of her money over the years. Her daughter’s only concern then that she was to be buried in the hat her mother cherished. “She loved that hat. Had it for years. I wanted her to have it. It was her favourite.” Her daughter explained.

Hundreds paid their respect for the woman. Amongst them, a group of young people who got to the stage one by one to eulogize her love and warmth. Her daughter, sitting in the front row, pride magnifies.

Gone But Not Forgotten!
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