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Remembering Elvi

October 6, 2013

Elvi died in hospital a few days ago.  She was a member of my Toastmasters club.  When she joined a few years ago, she told us her name was like Elvis, but without the `s’.  She had just come through open heart surgery and survived a brain hemorrhage.  Doctors had not expected her to live.  She still had a shaved head with a visible scar from the last operation.

She did survive.  Not only that, but she participated fully in our club.  She loved presenting speeches.  She loved doing the toast.  She loved telling jokes and personal stories.  She entered speech contests.  She kept track of the minutes of each meeting.  Sometimes she would phone me if she had missed something.  She wanted to be prepared for the next meeting.

She came to meetings on the bus.  It was about a two-hour trip each way.  In the winter, it was cold and dark, and sometimes frightening.  She was grateful to get a ride home.  When her husband died about a year ago, Elvi came to the next meeting.  She didn’t want to stay alone at home.  We were her friends.  She had relatives, but we were her friends.

I remember her last story:

She was visiting relatives in New York with her son.  Because she was quite nervous in the streets of a large city like that, she followed her son.  Elvi walked slowly so he got some distance ahead.  He turned into a building.  She followed him.  He went through a door.  She followed him.  In this room, men were all standing facing the wall with their hands in front of them.  One she thought was her son.  She put her hand on his shoulder.  He turned around.  When she saw what he was holding in his hand, she went “eek”.  When he saw she was a woman, he went “eek”.  Just then her son came out of a stall at the other end.  He said “mommy, why did you follow me in here?”.  And “This is the men’s washroom”.

Elvi brought joy to all of us.  She enriched my life.  I know I will miss her.

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