In the early morning hours of Sunday, October 14, 2018, peacefully and with her family at her side, Sarah Elisabeth Gryseels passed away at the age of 76.
Liz is survived by her children, her eldest daughter Monica (Jim), daughter Pamela (Darryl), only son Micheal (Kim), daughter Tammy (Mark) and her youngest daughter Cheryl (affectionately known as Cherry). Also surviving her are her fifteen grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents Flora Jane (nee Pangman) and Michel Chartrand, and her siblings Raymond, Vitalena, Antoine (affectionately known as Swede) and Grace. She was also predeceased by her beloved cat, Clyde.
Elisabeth was born on September 25, 1942 in the town of Camperville, Manitoba. She later moved to Winnipeg, but also lived in Ontario and in British Columbia. Liz was a very brave woman, who faced the challenges life threw at her head on. For most of her time in motherhood, she was on her own to raise her five kids. She worked hard. After returning to Winnipeg from British Columbia, she had 3 jobs. There was no quitting in her vocabulary. She was also a very social lady, and loved visiting with family and friends. Many times, she would say “get in the car, we’re going visiting”. She was helpful to her family. If anyone needed help with anything, she was the first to volunteer. She spent hundreds of hours volunteering with her uncle, Joe Pangman, to have the Kateri Parish built. She was very proud of that. She would babysit great nieces and great nephews and they all loved spending that time with their Auntie Elisabeth. Her Godson Robert said the first word that comes to his mind when speaking of his Auntie Elisabeth is elegant. She was elegant. She was a very classy lady with high morals and values. People respected Elisabeth. Not just for how she treated people, but also for living through everything that she did, and still having a smile on her face and love in her heart. She was a super hero, the strongest woman in the world.
A viewing followed by a celebration of Elisabeth’s life will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, October 22, 2018 at First Universalist Church of Winnipeg, 603 Wellington Crescent at Academy Road (Unitarian Church). The funeral ceremony will start at 2 p.m. followed by interment at Brookside Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be her grandsons Jorge, Nicholas and Alexander, her son-in-law Mark and her nephews Robert and Michael.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Van, Eileen and Mitchell at the Concordia Hospital (3W) for taking care of their mother. Eileen especially has a special place in each of their hearts for her kindness, compassion, understanding and support through the most difficult time of our lives.
We kids have written our own tributes, which we share with love.
Starting with Monica:
“There are no words to express how we feel… Mom’s left behind myself Monica, Jim, Ronnie, Jimmy, Jonathan, Kolton, Lexis, Samantha, Derrick, Dean, Luke, Daniel, Crystal, Allie, Sierra, Lily, Katerina, Sally, Omar, Landon, Julian, Maya, Zayne, Gail, Nick, Emily.
R.I.P. Mom. You’re with the angels now.
Pamela’s Tribute to Mom - It all started in a galaxy far, far away. Oh wait.. wrong story. Lol! Mom, for as long as I remember, was always a hard worker for her family. She taught us kids that nothing falls into your lap. You have to work hard for it. It seemed everywhere my mom went it was easy for her to make friends. It didn’t matter what province she was in. Mom’s hobbies were playing the ponies, playing bingo and playing cards. We always knew if her pile of cards were high on the table, we would be able to squeeze at least a quarter each to go to the store to buy some candy. Thanks, Mom! She also knew where there was a bingo open every day of the week. Back then, that was pretty good. When she won big, she would spoil us with take-out food. Mom was also very good with her canning of just about everything. Our pantry was always full. I remember staying up until 3 a.m. peeling baby onions. I thought – yahh!!! I get to stay up late with mom!! Little did I know how tedious it was to peel those onions. By around midnight, I wanted to go to bed, but she insisted that I finish what I had started. Another one of life’s lessons she taught me. Next year, I didn’t volunteer to help, I went to bed instead.
We had our ups and downs, but the love never left. Mom gave me the confidence to believe I can do anything if I just put my mind to it. Her legacy in the five of us would be to continue her blood line with integrity, honour and love. The memories of my mother will also be in my heart, and live through me, down to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mom will be lovingly missed, but forever remembered.
Rest in peace, Mom. I love you very much.”
Rest in peace, Mom. Love Michael, Kim, Matthew, Christine, Mikey, Taylor, Robby and four great-grandchildren
“Our Story – Everyone’s worst nightmare is losing a loved one. In this case, we lost our Mom/Nana.
Mom was more than a mom. She was a Nana, a Gramma, a great-Gramma, a sister, an auntie, a confidant and a friend to all she met.
She was very much a force to be reckoned with. Never would you meet such a strong person on one hand, but a kind, thoughtful and loving person on the other hand. She always had to work so hard to provide for her family. But her strong will and determination brought her through.
I can attest that she loved all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in her own way.
After having to start her life with the battles of tuberculosis as a youth, which removed her from her home and family, the journey began to form the person she was today.
I know how much she loved me, my husband Mark and our daughter Nicole. She had a very special place in her heart for Nicole, as she knew that Nicole was our ‘miracle baby’. Watching her teach Nicole how to knit was beautiful to see the bond with her.
We all loved having dinners with her, playing games or playing cards, and even just as simple as watching a movie or her TV shows. When mom was over and heard we were barbecuing, her eyes would widen when we mentioned it was her favourite – T-Bone steak or hamburgers. We even brought her a barbecued T-Bone, with all the fixings, to her at the hospital – which she thoroughly enjoyed every last bite of.
Mom was very much an animal lover. Specifically, cats. Her pet “Clyde” was everything to her and we take comfort in knowing she has reunited with him. Although she had only lived with us a short while, she loved having our pet, Chester, to keep her company while we were at work. She loved him sleeping with her on her bed.
We are terribly heartbroken and left with an empty void, as she entered her next journey.
It’s true what they say about the circle of life. She watched all her kids take their first breath and we all watched her take her last breath.
Mom, we love you and miss you beyond any words can express. Until we meet again, Tammy, Mark, Nicole and Chester.
“My Tribute to My Mommy – On January 25, 1976 my mom had plans to go to bingo with my Auntie Irene. She was very pregnant at the time, but she wasn’t due until the 6th of February, so figured she would be able to go. Being winter in Winnipeg, there had been a snow storm… and the busses were also on strike. So she had made plans to pick up Auntie Irene for bingo. She started feeling “that feeling” and realized very quickly that she was not going to bingo that night. But she told me that she had won the biggest and best jackpot she could ever hope for – me. I can’t even begin to count how many times she told me that story. I was her baby. She told everyone that. “This is my baby” with a big hug around me as she would introduce me to anyone – whether I be 4, 14, or 40. She was also the baby of her family. And it was really neat for me to hear Uncle Swede, Auntie Lena and Auntie Grace address her as “my baby sister”. We had that in common. After my daughter was born, she would call us “3 babies”, because she was the youngest, I was the youngest, and my daughter is my youngest.
I am a lot younger than my siblings, so I have little recollection of her days of card parties, or being a disco queen. My mom always worked 1, 2 even 3 jobs. She was never, ever late for work. In all those years, I cannot even recall her taking a sick day. She would get up and get ready no matter what life threw at her. That’s just how she was. Nothing could hold her back.
We would visit a lot with relatives and her close friends. I always enjoyed that. She called me “her shadow”, because I was very shy and didn’t want to leave her side, ever. On the topic of nicknames, she also endeared me with the name Munchkin (she didn’t expect I would tower over her at age 14) and Lubbydubs.
By the time I was a teenager, we started to butt heads. By that time, it was just her and I. But even when we had a disagreement, when I came home the light was always on. And I would say to my friend: “light’s on, she loves me”.
She walked me down the aisle when I got married on her 57th birthday. She was so happy and proud, and looked quite beautiful. If memory serves, she even caught the bouquet that day! When I became a mother, and had my own babies, I saw yet another side to Mom. She was the absolute best and attentive and loving grandmother – Gramma – in the entire world.
Alexander (affectionately known as Bird) and Briana (affectionately known as her “Muffin”) put a new sparkle in her eyes. She would cradle them, and read to them, and draw with them, and get down on the floor and build blocks with them. There isn’t anything she ever said no to when it came to them. Even if I had said no to something, Gramma overruled me and it was turned to a yes. She was always in awe of their accomplishments and always praised them for a job well done. She would always tell them she loved them and tell them how beautiful and handsome they are.
She was my rock, the one constant in my whole life. Through all the chaos and change and ups and downs, the one person I could always count on to be there no matter what was my Mommy. Raising my kids on my own was another thing we had in common. Her love for me and knowing how hard that is to do, she helped me in every way she could possibly help. I would say to her not to worry, that I will be okay, and she said she would never stop worrying, she would never stop helping.
Picking her up at her apartment, my kids thought it was her house, so they would say “Wow Gramma that’s a big house!” So she was known to them as Gramma Big House, GBH. She thought it was the funniest thing in the world, and never let them live that down. When she would come over, she always brought goodies for the kids. When we dropped her off at home each time she would come for a visit, she wouldn’t go upstairs without giving us her signature wave goodbye from the inside. We’d spend countless hours staying up talking, drinking tea, and being goofy. Those are the times I will miss the most. No occasion, just a mother and daughter, now friends.
Speaking of friends, her little Muffin and her were the best of friends. I cannot explain this bond. It was right from the time Briana was in my belly. Mom would put her always-warm hand on my tummy and Briana would settle. When she was born, she was a very fussy baby, and wouldn’t go to anyone except me – and Gramma. She would instantly be soothed just by being held by Gramma, no matter how fussy she got. This cherished bond continued right until the day Mom passed.
Writing this seems very strange, very surreal, because I cannot imagine a life without her and a world without her in it. I don’t know how to do that. My children and I have so many fond and beautiful memories with her that we will hold on to, reminisce about and forever cherish. I know how much she loved me, her Bird and her Muffin. I know how proud she was of us. I hope that we can continue to make her proud and I hope she will know that she will be eternally remembered as the solid foundation to our family. The loving Mommy and loving Gramma she was to us will always be remembered. I’ll miss you forever, Mommy. *blows three kisses*”
You can shed tears because they are gone, or you can smile because they lived. You can close your eyes and pray they will come back, or you can open your eyes and see all that they left for you. Your heart can be empty because can’t see them, or you can be full of the love you shared. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. You can remember only that they are gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind and feel empty or you can do what they would want. Smile, Open your heart, Love… and go on.
God Looked Around His Garden
God looked around His garden
And He found an empty place
And then He looked down upon the earth
And saw your tired face
He put His arms around you,
And lifted you to rest
God’s garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best
He knew that you were suffering
Her knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never
Get well on earth again
He saw the road was getting rough
And the hills were hard to climb
So He closed your weary eyelids
And whispered “Peace be thine”
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you didn’t go alone
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home
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