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ELMA CALO CERUMA
May 7, 1964 - August 28, 2023
It is with deep sorrow and much love that we mourn the passing of our loving sister, mother, grandmother, friend, and confidant, ELMA CALO CERUMA, with her family by her side on August 28, 2023, at the young age of 59 years old.
Elma is survived by her parents Hilaria and Salvador, daughters Donnalaine (Luis), Dorotee (Dom), and Rammy; sons Donelly, Don Dee Jay (Yeza), Don Lee Andrew (Mauie), and Dominique (Kheren); sisters Sally (Russel) and Pamela; brothers Arnold and Ramil (Janice); stepbrother Salvador Jr. (Jimma); nephews Trevor, Jordan, Janra, Melwin Kyle, Meldrick Janua, Bryndale (Carmela), Caelix Liam; nieces Jayden and Archia Pauline (Jayson); grandchildren Czianelle Aurea, Dainelle Louisse, Darriel Allen, Dwayne Lawrence, Denzel Marion, Dane Madison, Doreen Kelly, Dylan Kendrick, Dahlia Kellin, Dea, Deandrey, Darry, Alexa and Kiera Johnsen.
She was predeceased by her sister Katherine & nephews Meldar Angelo and Guian Arnold. Additionally, in the not-so-distant past, we mourned the loss of her Uncle "tatay" Pentong and Auntie "Nanay" Goria, who departed from this world a few months ago in May and June of 2023.
Elma, the second eldest among her siblings, embarked on a new journey in 2006 when she arrived in Canada. Taking up the role of a Live-in caregiver, she found herself under the employment of the Johnsen family, entrusted with the care of their beloved mother, Elizabeth. Elma's dedication and skill in her profession were highly valued and cherished by the entire family. Her exceptional caregiving abilities made her an invaluable asset in providing unparalleled care and support to their dear mother.
Upon arriving in Canada, she made the heartbreaking decision to leave her children behind in the Philippines, sacrificing her own happiness for their future. The ache of not seeing her beloved children weighed heavily on her, but she patiently waited for the opportunity to bring them to her new home. Sadly, after years of working tirelessly as a caregiver, Jennifer's mother passed away. Determined to provide a better life for her children, Elma decided to enroll in a Health Care Aide course at Red River, aiming to secure a position at a hospital.
Juggling work and studying, Elma's determination shone through. With unwavering goals and dreams for her children, she initially worked part-time at Riverview and picked up shifts at St. Boniface Hospital. Despite freezing temperatures and the absence of a car, she traversed the distance between these places on her bicycle, cherishing the freedom it provided. As the years passed, Elma consistently worked overtime to send money back home, ensuring her children's education and well-being were taken care of. Staying busy with work served as a distraction from the loneliness she felt being away from her loved ones.
Elma's dedication and hardworking nature did not go unnoticed. Her colleagues appreciated her easygoing personality and strong work ethic. Always willing to lend a helping hand, she embraced her role as a Health Care Aide, effortlessly adapting to different hospital departments where her skills were needed most. Elma eagerly responded to call lights and supported her fellow co-workers in learning the ropes. She was a risk-taker, unafraid to try new things even if they didn't always succeed. Fortunately, luck seemed to favor her, and she consistently achieved her goals.
Despite her stubbornness and strong-willed nature, Elma was a joy to be around. She became a reliable and steadfast friend, always following through on her promises. If she said she would pick you up, she would be there without fail. She would even go to great lengths, including taking a flight if necessary, to ensure she fulfilled her commitments.
Elma's journey embodies bravery, resilience, and unwavering love for her children. Through her hard work and determination, she not only created a better future for her family but also became a source of inspiration for those around her.
Elma's passion lies in driving. Despite just finishing two consecutive shifts, she willingly chauffeurs her sister to work or appointments. Her selflessness knows no bounds, to the point where it becomes a concern that some individuals may exploit her kindness. Nevertheless, Elma remains undeterred. Her heart brims with compassion and she yearns for others to reciprocate, not necessarily towards her, but towards those she assists. Witnessing the impact she has on someone's day fills her with joy. Elma has also acquired the strength to defend herself and confront those who mistreat or bully her, provided she is in the right. This is the essence of who Elma is.
March 8, 2017 marked a pivotal moment in her life, a culmination of 11 long years filled with patience and countless hurdles in dealing with the labyrinthine immigration process. On this day, she experienced pure bliss as she stood surrounded by her seven beloved children and three precious grandchildren, all finally united here in the embrace of Canada. It was a blessing of immeasurable magnitude, a reward for the sacrifices she had endured and the heartache she had carried while being separated from them for what seemed like an eternity.
But the joys did not end there. The universe, in its infinite kindness, continued to bestow its blessings upon her. One by one, her dedicated sons, daughters-in-law, and the remaining grandchildren followed suit, crossing borders and oceans to join the growing reunion. Overwhelmed with gratitude, she couldn't help but extend her appreciation to Canada, a nation that had opened its arms and allowed her to bring her children home after years of longing and anticipation.
In the warm embrace of her newfound reality, she reveled in the knowledge that she was finally whole again. The void that had silently consumed her for so long now filled with the laughter, love, and familiarity of her seven children and three grandchildren. And as she looked around at the expanding circle of her family, she found solace in the fact that the rest of her loved ones would soon join this joyous reunion, completing the tapestry of her happiness.
But after four years had passed, her condition had deteriorated significantly. She found herself constantly being rushed to the emergency room, plagued by excruciating pain with no knowledge of its cause. It wasn't until the beginning of 2022 that she finally received a diagnosis, revealing a rare and puzzling illness. The medical professionals struggled to pinpoint the exact nature of her ailment, leaving us utterly stunned by the news, especially considering the multitude of agonizing tests she had endured. She had always led a healthy lifestyle, abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes, which only deepened our confusion as to how she could have contracted such a condition. The answers eluded us, leaving us in a state of uncertainty.
Regrettably, she found herself in a relentless battle against an exceedingly rare and aggressive variant of cancer known as Cholangiocarcinoma. She displayed unwavering determination as she underwent arduous chemotherapy sessions in an attempt to shrink her sizable tumor. Additionally, she underwent a major surgical procedure on her liver towards the end of 2022. Initially, we held onto hope that the surgery had eradicated the cancer entirely. However, subsequent tests revealed that the insidious disease had already disseminated throughout her body. This intricate ailment, also referred to as bile duct cancer, finds its roots in the intricate network of ducts that transport digested fluids between the liver, gallbladder, and small intestine. This complex connection perhaps explains the ease with which the cancer spreads.
In her final days, she valiantly battled an infection that inflicted immense suffering, making even the simplest act of breathing an arduous feat. Consuming nourishment became an insurmountable challenge for her. The deterioration of her liver, as well as other vital organs, marked a significant decline in their functionality. Nonetheless, she summoned an extraordinary amount of strength to confront her illness each passing day. The presence of her family, children, grandchildren, and friends brought fleeting moments of joy to her somber existence. Even when her ability to communicate verbally ceased, she sought alternate means of expressing herself, such as gently squeezing a hand.
God's love for her knows no bounds, and He wanted to spare her any further suffering. He understood the immense difficulties she was facing and granted her a well-deserved respite,
guiding her gently to the gates of heaven. There, she can finally find solace and freedom from all pain. Although our hearts ache as we remain behind, we find comfort in knowing that this is truly the best outcome for her. She will never experience pain again. Just as she always prayed, she longed to be spared from any further torment. She accepted that there was nothing more that could be done for her. Thank you, Lord, for listening to our prayers and hers. After enduring such prolonged agony, all we wanted was what was best for her. She fought fiercely, never giving up, and for that, we are eternally proud.
ELMA was adored and cherished by countless individuals who were fortunate enough to have crossed paths with her. However, there was one person who stood out among the rest - her unwavering companion, Walter Christie. He remained faithfully by her side each and every day, serving as both her staunchest supporter and devoted caregiver. To Elma, Walter was nothing short of an angel, patiently enduring her every mood, fulfilling her every request, and so much more. His love and care for her were undeniable.
During her final days, Elma was blessed with the presence of her dearest friend, Vicky Acero, who traveled all the way from California to visit and spend precious moments with her. Alongside Vicky, mourning her untimely departure, were her seven children, along with their spouses and a multitude of grandchildren. Additionally, her siblings, parents, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances - all of whom had encircled her and shared countless memories throughout the years - were deeply affected by the loss. The sorrow extended beyond borders, reaching her family, relatives, cousins, and friends residing in the Philippines, as well as other parts of Canada and the USA.
We are all overwhelmed by a profound sense of sadness and heartbreak. Bid farewell to someone we loved so dearly, someone who had become an integral part of our lives, is never an easy task. In this difficult time, we turn to prayer, seeking solace and comfort for Elma as she embarks on her new journey alongside the Lord. May she find tranquility, free from any worries or troubles. Rest assured, all her children and grandchildren are doing well, and we will continue to beseech God for the strength to navigate this world without Elma's physical presence, holding tight to the cherished memories that will forever reside within our hearts.
On behalf of our entire family, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Prayer Brigades, both in Canada and beyond, who generously offered their prayers for Elma. Your unwavering support during our challenging times has meant the world to us. Your sympathies and loving condolence messages have been deeply appreciated. We cannot thank you enough.
We express our deepest gratitude to Walter Christie, whose unwavering dedication and selflessness have been a source of inspiration in caring for our beloved sister, mom, and grandma Elma. Your incredible character and tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Walter. May you be blessed with continued good health and an ever-compassionate heart.
A heartfelt appreciation goes out to every single visitor who graced Elma's presence and even serenaded her with their melodic voices. Cindy, who enchanted us all with her rendition of "Hallelujah," painted an enormous smile on Elma's face. Dana, with her angelic voice, graced our ears with not just one but two delightful songs, including the heavenly "Ave Maria." Regrettably, the memory fails to recall the title of the second song, but its beauty remains etched in our hearts. A special acknowledgment goes to the remarkable music teacher, "Ernie," who not only played an instrument but also blessed us with his dulcet tones through a couple of captivating songs. Elma had the privilege of making a personal request, and without hesitation, Ernie flawlessly performed it for her. These acts of kindness mean the world to Elma, and we extend our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you. Your thoughtfulness is truly heartwarming.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated medical professionals at St. Boniface Hospital (Palliative unit), Health Science Cancer Care, Toronto General Hospital, and all those involved in Elma's care. From the doctors, nurses, surgeons, and specialist doctors to the anesthesiologists, health care aides, dieticians, student nurses, and doctors, we are immensely grateful for the exceptional care you provided to our beloved sister, mom, and grandma, Elma. Your understanding and compassion, especially during the times when her family was present every day, meant the world to us. We cannot thank you enough for the unwavering support and assistance extended to our family as we ensured that Elma's needs were met until the very end. Your dedication and remarkable efforts will always be remembered and appreciated.
A heartfelt gratitude goes out to all the incredible friends and colleagues of Elma at St. Boniface. Your unwavering support and kindness touched our hearts as you not only took the time to visit her but also sacrificed your precious break time and lunches to be by her side. The immense thoughtfulness and compassion that you have shown is truly remarkable. On behalf of the entire family, we want you to know how deeply grateful we are. Your selfless acts mean the world to us.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
A heartfelt gratitude goes out to the incredible cleaning staff and devoted volunteers who not only lent their helping hands but also formed cherished friendships with Elma. Your unwavering support and the thoughtful presents you bestowed upon her are deeply appreciated and will forever be treasured.
A special mention goes to Ataur, our remarkable Taxi Driver in Toronto, who went beyond his duty and became a true friend. Your name will forever hold a special place in our hearts, Ataur. We cannot thank you enough for your exceptional assistance and for ensuring that Elma received her home cooked meals during her challenging time at Toronto General Hospital. If fate ever brings us back to that city, we will undoubtedly seek you out, this time with the intention of exploring its wonders rather than finding ourselves in a hospital. May God bless you abundantly and keep you and your beloved family safe and prosperous.
Thank you to everyone who had visited Elma & who prayed for her. We cannot name you all, but we Thank you if you are reading this post.
Our whole family would like to Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for All the loving care & attention you have given to our mom, sister, and grandma while she was in the Palliative Care Unit. God Bless you all.
You are welcome to post your comments, your goodbye message, memories you would like to share, and upload pictures that you had with Elma. We will read them all & we will try to respond/ acknowledge/comment as well. Thank you very much.
The funeral service will be held at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, September 5, 2023 at 603 Wellington Crescent in Winnipeg.
There will be a Mass at St. Patrick’s Church (172 Worth St.) on September 6, 2023, @11:00 a.m. before the cremation takes place.
We will update you on the Celebration of Life for Elma soon.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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