Passed peacefully away at Saint Lukes Home on February 22, 2018, Ena Cook, age 91 years. Born and raised in Grand Bruit, NL of which she was immensely proud, Ena lived over 70 years in St. John’s. Predeceased by husband: Eric Cook of St. John’s; siblings: Willis, Allan, Ada, & Mona. Leaving to mourn son: Don Cook (Cathy); daughter: Lorraine Burrage (Don); treasured grandchildren: Heather (Mark White), Adam (Danielle Murphy), Kim (Paul Wakeham), Sarah (Patrick Faulkner), Michael, Jeremy, Ian, & Ashley; precious great-grandchildren: Madeline, Macie, & Alexander; brother: Don Parsons; sister-in-law: Marion Parsons; dear nieces, nephews, & friends. A very special thank you to the staff of Cambridge Estates & Saint Lukes Home. Funeral service to take place on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 from Barrett’s Chapel, 328 Hamilton Avenue at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ena’s memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice. To view online guestbook or leave a message of condolence, please visit www.barretts.ca
Having to say goodbye to my loving grandma from so far away is hard and I am sorry that I cannot be there in person to do so. What this distance has given me time to do, however, is look back at the multitude of letters, cards and postcards shared between me and grandma Ena over the years and remind me how truly blessed I was to have such a loving, strong, intelligent, and wonderful woman in my life. For 91 years my grandma graced this world with her presence; leaving such a lasting legacy of family and respect that cannot be replicated.
Ena had a brilliant sense of humour. I remember being teenagers in Brigus during one of the summers that grandma was staying and hosting a Blueberry festival party on one of the night’s mom and dad were out volunteer bartending for the fire brigade. We thought we were so clever having it late at night after she went to bed, once she had removed her hearing aids of course. We thought that we got away with it, but she knew. Never did she speak a word of how wild this party was to my parents, but the next day she so quietly leaned into me as we were making our morning toast and told me how much fun it all sounded the night before.
Ena was so clever. Never have I seen a woman tackle so many crosswords, books, or word puzzles in my life. Incredibly well-read, smart and articulate, she had a passion for learning about Newfoundland’s culture, heritage and history. Her pride in where she came from and the tiny- little outport of Grand Bruit taught me to be proud of my heritage too and admire it the way that she always did. She loved her jigs dinner, her fish and bruise, turkey legs and lassy bread. The times she also attempted to teach Heather the nuances of Christmas pudding were not lost on me. With a deep-found respect for the outport communities and hard-working folk, she also carried with her an interest in the stories of all people around the world and never stopped wanting to read and learn more about them.
Ena was generous. I will never forget when I was 13 in and in my Harry Potter craze, when she knit not one, but two incredibly long Gryffindor scarves for Kim and I. About 5 metres in length she created these home-made masterpieces because she knew what it would mean to us. I always had mitten envy from my friends for the brilliant patterns she used to create and I will never forget the pleasure she got when she had to knit a bunch of miniature knitted boobs with nipples for mom’s breastfeeding coalition at work. Not to mention all of the raisin tea-biscuits, date crumbles and molasses cakes that she used to bake for the growing masses of ever hungry grandchildren.
Most importantly though, Ena was my grandmother. Growing up, she was always just grandma to me. I was forced to reconsider her “real name” when I sent her a postcard from one of my trips abroad and accidentally sent it to Cambridge Estates addressed to just “Grandma”. This caused all sorts of confusion among the support staff as to who the postcard was actually intended. But, Grandma never told me this. Every time we would write or catch-up, she would always just be interested in hearing about how things were in my life and always listened to me. For many years I took for granted this totally selfless, giving and genuine behaviour because it was so familiar. Now I look back and realize how truly lovely it was. While Ena was so much more than just “grandma”, she never put herself ahead of others in that respect. When I entered the room I was her granddaughter first and that took priority over everything else.
Ena always cared and thought about others and she left such a brilliant mark on this world. As a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she tackled all the different roles she played on this earth with gumption and good humour. I will always miss her, but I will always treasure the mark she left on me forever. In the words of Emily Dickinson, “unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.”