Posted on February 27, 2013
“I still haven’t made any French toast,” he adds. “I can’t have it without her.”
By Idelette McVicker | Twitter: @ideletteWe sat at a small bistro table inside Sisters Thrift Boutique this morning. Ed’s been hanging out on the side of the building here at NightShift, waiting for information about his sister Janice’s death.
8:45pm, he tells me. That’s the time she died. Janice, 45, a daughter of Surrey, passed away last Monday evening, Feb. 18 in Surrey Memorial Hospital. Ed’s blue eyes are soft, as he speaks about Janice. His grey hair is long and tied at the back and he plays with his soft beard. As we talk, I notice how he remembers details. On Dec. 2 last year, his sister was brutally assaulted and left for dead in a deserted lot here in Whalley. He tells me about the beating she endured. The time the police showed up at his door to tell him. “So many hits all around her head.” The Whalley community has been shocked about Janice’s brutal assault. Ed’s upset about some of the misinformation around Janice’s death in the media. “She wasn’t homeless,” he tells me. “And she wasn’t simple.”
“She was a sweetheart. Big heart. Very compassionate.”
He remembers his sister tenderly. They’d shared the last 20 years together, being there for each other. He smiles as he tells me about their friendship. Ed and Janice lived in an assisted living duplex unit together until they were separated a few months ago due to renovations on their building. For the duration of the renovations, they each got their own single unit apartment, just 10 doors away from each other. “We were really close. She looked up to me almost like a father figure,” he shares. “I promised I would always be there for her.”
He wears a green hoodie, a baseball cap and a black puffy winter jacket. He’s doing much better today, he tells me. Memories “Tell me one of your favorite memories of her,” I ask him. “She would always show up at my door with a plate of French toast,” he remembers. Janice loved making French toast for her friends. “We always made sure we had white bread and eggs.” Then his voice grows soft: “I told her in the hospital: I won’t have French toast until you make it for me.” “I still haven’t made any French toast,” he adds. “I can’t have it without her.” We spend a long time sitting at the little bistro table. He shows me pictures of his sister. A picture she had taken in a photo booth at Metrotown. Pictures on his phone. Then he pulls out a memory book–a picture of his sis on the front cover. “It’s a Get Well card,” he tells me. “Excuse me?” “It’s a Get Well card that’s a book,” he smiles. A friend of Janice’s had made it and people had written their messages to Janice while she was in the hospital. I pour over the messages.
So many who loved her and cared about her.
I ask Ed one last question: What would you like people to remember about Janice? He doesn’t hesitate. “How kind she is.” “Harmless.” ____________________ Arrangements are being finalized for Janice’s memorial service here in Surrey. We will update you as soon as it’s concrete.