As I gradually find my way back into the land of the living and make sorrow upon my mother’s death less of a constant moment-by-moment companion, I am including here a tribute from my Cousin Anita.
When I was young, it was really quite simple. We lived on Strabane Ave. It was half a block to Rodney where we could hang a right. Following along Rodney, eventually we would pass our rival, Codrington Public School and, shortly after, Rodney would end on Highland Avenue which veered to the left. From there, Aunt Marg and Uncle Don lived only a few houses away. For as long as I could remember that was the way it had always been. Naively as a child, I also thought that was the way it would always be.
Aunt Marg and Uncle Don lived in what seemed to me a tiny but magical house. In the center of the home, on top of the piano was a black and white photo of five children seated like a staircase in age: Donny, Randy, Steve, Michael, and Paul. I still picture that photo in my mind whenever I need to list off my Spencer cousins. The photo gets me halfway there! Being one of only two children, I loved the commotion created by that full house of cousins. For a good number of years it seemed that there was always a baby around and another on the way. That, to me, was part of the magic.
But there was also something about my Aunt Marg, herself, that truly made visiting her a special treat. As I recall, upon occasion, she would sit down at the piano and her hands would ease their way along the keyboard in a motion of grace that few possess and what I have since come to identify as the sign of possessing a true musician’s heart. Aunt Marg always moved her hands that way with or without the keyboard and that unique movement of grace that she so abundantly possessed, enchanted my soul.
In apparent sibling adoration, my mom informed me at a very young age that Aunt Marg had beautiful auburn hair. I had never heard of that color before, but soon learned it was a shade to be coveted. At that time, Marg’s hair was thick and long. She would braid and wind it several times around her head. She also had a rich voice and a warm laugh. All of these qualities made being with my aunt something special for me.
Over the years, my mom, Catherine Pearsall, has shared with me what it meant to be the middle sister of three girls and specifically what it meant to have Marg as her older sister. What is evident to me each time my mom shares about this is that Margaret led the way. She patiently taught and brought along her younger sisters. She communicated how things were to be done. She led her sisters through the tangled web that defines the journey from childhood to womanhood and she did so with love, warmth, patience and a steadfast faith in her Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ. Those qualities have characterized the entirety of Marg’s life.
In her last few days, I feel she granted us all a similar gift. When she no longer could speak she continued to smile and squeeze the hand she held. She let us know without doubt that it was well with her soul. In a way uniquely Margaret she pointed us through the tangled web that defines our journey from life through death – a way marked by love, warmth, patience and steadfast faith.