"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."

 

Thich Nhat Hanh q

 

Paula was yet a dream when in 1967, the Gallant family relocated from Ontario to beautiful Cape Breton Island. Two short years later; however, our family’s dream came true on December 5, 1969, when Paula came into the world; another daughter for Paul and Dianne and a baby sister for Lynn and I. And so began the journey of three sisters.

We were very fortunate to have grown up on Coady Street to wonderful and caring parents who not only taught by example but lived, the importance of love, compassion, sharing, respect and more importantly a sense of family. Coady Street was quite unique in that it was a neighborhood of families who treated each neighbor like family. This became the foundation for many memories which have carried through to our adult years; memories which we now share with our own children.

In December of 1985 we suffered a tragic loss in the death of our father, Paul; however, our strong sense of family, coupled with the unconditional support provided by family and friends carried us through this endurance during the holiday season and every day thereafter. Our family and many friends tried so valiantly to provide a bit of a reprieve for the pain we were struggling to live with. They removed snow from our walk, located and changed bulbs, they even painted the house as a surprise for Mom one weekend while she was away and, always, they were ready with a cup of tea and a shoulder.

It was during this time that we moved to Halifax, leaving Paula and Mom to tend the home fires. Following our dad’s sudden death Mom and Paula grew even closer as Mom filled her days caring for Paula and carrying on the legacy of a strong sense of family. However, in June of 1989, we again were tested with the unexpected passing of our mother. With no surprise, family and friends once again were at our side providing the same unconditional love, support, generosity, and sharing of their time. This strong display of love and friendship held us together and helped us to move past any obstacles we encountered during this most difficult time.

As time passed and Paula moved on to Teachers College in Truro, NS, the bond of family grew stronger still. As her older sisters, Lynn and I quickly attempted to fill the void created by the passing of our parents and to ensure Paula’s transition to independence was as Mom and Dad would have wanted it. We braved snowstorms to be with Paula for every birthday celebration, and planned shopping trips to help her purchase the items required to help her transition from dorm life to her first apartment, which was a very big day in Paula’s life. And on the day she graduated from Teachers College we watched proudly, each holding Mom and Dad closely in our hearts.

As sisters traveling along life’s pathway we remained extremely close in spirit and proximity. Paula and I purchased a home together and Lynn lived just 15 minutes away which enabled us to see each other daily – just as it had been at home. We were constantly together and have supported each other along the way. We shared the happier times as each sister married, moved into our new homes and had children. As godparents to each other’s children, we celebrated birthdays together, summer vacations in PEI, school concerts, hockey tournaments and each and every holiday, which was just another excuse for us to get together. Ever supportive, we were there for each other when things weren’t quite so happy hoping that by sharing in our sister’s angst we might somehow ease her sadness.

Ours was a very unique relationship and although some found it to be unnaturally close, because of life lessons acquired at an early age and life situations, this became quite the norm for us. We were proud of our unique bond and valued one another, allowing for the differences each of us brought to the relationship for we knew we always had each other to lean on.

As Paula’s sisters, we miss her beyond that which any word could convey. We have lost the baby of our family. Our family link has been weakened but not broken. Paula, we love you and miss you with each passing day… keep smiling down upon us.

Love, Lynn and Lana

 

Coady Street Reunion
Cards and Letters