Raising Hope for Emma Lee Stewart

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/ 07 at 9:07PM

Dear Friends,

Sincerely you are all friends to my family at this time.

The blog brought my mother light for the last 14 months. The ability to share her words as they blossomed in her brain to family and strangers, whom all became dear friends; brought her such joy.

Initially we didn't know what she was going to write about on her home on the internet. So we said anything. Thats what she gave us. She shared her dreams, wishes, stories, and her love for everyone who has walked into her life.

I am truly thankful she was given 14 months to deliver her story to you. And there is still so much more to be shared to you from our family, and to my family. My brother, father and I are reliving memories with our mother today, but we aren't Em-experts. We welcome you to tell us something you shared with her.

Yesterday there were gleams of joy in my mothers eyes. For those of you who visited she was resting, peaceful. But a few highlights for me where when the Mac Mac and Mac Family came by for a visit. Harry held her hand and they told her stories about the performances they shared during Christmas Parties. My mother wrangled that crew into shape, in her nurturing- but very straight forward manner. While they were sharing stories- Liz (Honey's Foster Mother) started scheming to get honey into visit Emma Lee in the hospital. When Liz told her - her eyes widened and she said " Oh, great." Joy and sarcasm.- Emma.
While I was talking to her in the afternoon, I was on the way to mail a CD to Olga from CBC and I said "Don't worry- she knows, track 15 first" And she smiled, she laughed.

While Jim Webber Cook was sharing with her, he spoke of light, of hope. You could see her eyes get bigger and she exhaled, she relaxed.

The family did a bit of a rotation during the 18 hours we spent at the hospital. At 8:30, I urged my brother and father to go home and rest. My dad returned to the hospital at noon, after making calls to share the most recent development. My brother returned at 1PM care of Janet Irving, Janet- Thank you.

David and I went home to pack for the next (what we thought would be) days. During this time, my brother and father were comforted by friends who surrounded my mother. The nurse said " She is popular". My dad just laughed. The wonderful nurses had no idea. Thank you to them for letting us take over that place. In the short time the news spread, there were about 40 of you who made your way in, more who called. We are sorry we didn't have more time to let you spend with her.

At 8:55PM I felt it coming, I told my dad that it was time for us to have our one on one with her. He let me go first, I was so lucky to sit with her, reassure her that its not for nothing - she will help to change lives. She has already helped to change lives. That I will share her story, that I can't wait to tell her future grandchildren about her, that I am proud to be her daughter. Many thoughts I shared. Around 9, I noticed changes, I got the nurse. She gathered us around and said it would be anytime. Surrounded by love she went. She fought for so long, she is now in peace.

I called Mary Webber Cook, our minster's wife. To share the news, Jim (Our Minster, such a dear friend) was there within minutes. We had her in our circle while he sent her spirit off.

I will leave you with words from Emma Lee Stewart (Sister, Wife, Mother- Friend)

"The future is uncertain. But one thing is certain: the love of my family can never be taken away; the love of friends can never be taken away; hope can never be taken away; and positive thought and gratitude for all we have can never be taken away." - Emma Lee Stewart, July 14th, 2010 in her first blog post.

With love,

Mary; Your "darling daughter."


  1. Thank you Mary, for your beautiful sharing of your journey with your mum. What she has given to so many people is incalculable.May all the love of friends and family sustain and strengthen you. Peace be with Emma and with all who loved her.

  2. I'm so moved by you and your family Mary, and I've been thinking about you often. I hope you feel surrounded by your Mother's love, just like she must feel by yours right now.
    I'll be here, sending out prayers.


  3. Dear Jim, Mary & Lee:

    Emma is so very important to us. She deeply enriched and brightened our workplace and our lives. She was well loved here and we miss her. We lost a great one. She will never be forgotten. We are all better for having Emma part of our Mac, Mac & Mac family.

    To give you a glimpse of our “Emma”, I am taking the liberty of sharing with you a personal tribute that was prepared by one of Partners, Bruce MacIntosh. It is titled “A Tribute to a Community Builder”.

    On behalf of the Firm we send our love, thoughts and deepest sympathies.

    Regards, Liz Van den Eynden aka Honey’s Foster Mother.

    A Tribute to a Community Builder

    ~ from Bruce MacIntosh,

    Emma Stewart was much more than a member of our MacMac&Mac Family. Particularly in recent years, she has been our collective centre of gravity in all things important in life.

    I first met Emma Lee Boulter on the stage of the DeCoste some 25 years ago. She was singing her heart out for Tearmann House’s first ever fundraiser. Even at that early stage in her life, she was intent on building her community.

    It was only a few weeks later that she was knocking on MacMac&Mac’s door, looking for a job. I confess I was skeptical. She seemed doe-eyed and excessively exuberant, not the traits one looks for in a law office. I gave her the third degree. For the first of many times, she won me over. Emma always maintained this extraordinary capacity to separate her workplace professionalism from her private life enthusiasms. She became our star paralegal in short order. But for her personal circumstances, I am convinced she would have made a star lawyer, in the finest sense of our profession.

    Emma and I worked closely together for many years, until her illness required her to more carefully shepherd her finite physical resources. Over those years, we learned from each other and grew with each other. I am a better person for it.

    Emma would never forgive me if I made her sound saintly in this tribute. She was not. In the workplace, she was always professional. Outside in the real world, she went through all the ups and downs of real life, both messy and pretty. She had a laugh that could crack a stone at 50 yards. She had a heart the size of an elephant. She valued friendship and Family above all else, with music running a close third. Overarching her zest for life in all its fullness was her ever-expanding faith in her God.

    Emma’s journey with cancer was not an easy one. She frequently shared her pain and her joys on her Blog: raisinghopeforemmalee.blogspot.com. It was inspiring to read. In many ways, it was her personal testament to who she was.

    She leaves behind many lives touched by her many passions. We are the richer for her presence amongst us. All of us at MacMac&Mac grieve her loss and celebrate her short but very fully lived life.

    For those seeking light, read the final entries in her Blog, written by her daughter Mary, when Emma was too weak to do so herself. It will bring a smile. We live on in the words and thoughts of our children.