Ottawa Mother’s Day 2008
The Ottawa Estonian Society celebrated Mother’s Day on Saturday, May 10, 2008 with a church service followed by a social get together with refreshments in the church basement. Pastor Kalle Kadakas from Toronto conducted the service at the Martin Luther German church.
As usual, pastor Kadakas delivered an interesting, inspired and well timed, that is not too brief or too long, sermon. In my experience this is almost unique as many Estonian men of the cloth have tended to be overly verbose. His story about one woman’s recollection of her mother when she fled Estonia was to my mind very poignant and has special resonance with many of us, the children of the “boat people”, who grew up never knowing our grandmothers trapped behind the Iron Curtain.
Tiina Saar last saw her mother after she boarded the small boat that would allow them to escape to the West. At the last moment, her mother was unable to board; there simply was not enough room left. Saar was left clutching her mother’s shoes watching her mother standing on shore. As the boat slowly pulled away her mother slowly sank to her knees with outstretched arms praying for their safe journey across a stormy sea to Sweden. The daughter for many long years regretted that she was unable in the circumstances to properly say goodbye and tell her mother how much she loved her.
Later, in the church basement at coffee, I was seated at a table with a youthful grandmother whose happy brood took up most of the seats. I asked her how she remembered the escape from Estonia. She replied that she remembered it vividly. It was thanks to her mother’s unrelenting efforts and utter audacity that the whole family made it to the West. Judging by her obviously successful-in-life daughters, well behaved grandchildren and contented looking husband, life here had treated her well.
So there you are - a couple of short stories about Estonian women for Mother’s Day. Hope you all had a good one.