Sunday 28 March 2010

Regarding Renee

In February, 2010, Renee asked me to write her a birthday blog. I feel very honoured to have the privilege.

Renee was the 8th child born on March 28th 1956 in The Pas, Manitoba to a family of 13, the 6th daughter of what will eventually be 9. She is named by, and after Father René Major, a Catholic Priest at the church her family attended (Renée: r(e)-nee\ is pronounced ren-NAY. It is of French origin, meaning “reborn”).

Renee and I were the only two children in our family born in the Pas Manitoba.We are 1 1/2 years apart and have been best friends our entire life.

We each had three amazing children, similar in age, who attended the same school. We lived very close to each other, our kids were the best of friends, and therefore we were practically inseparable. I don't have the words to describe how much i loved her and how much she meant to me. Our relationship was very real. It was based on love, trust, the truth, and a willingness to do absolutely anything for each other.

Renee, last summer i was so honoured, proud, and appreciative to be your sister. When I was unable to be with, and take care of Sheldon, you stepped up and went above and beyond, despite the fact you were so sick yourself. Sheldon loved having you in the hospital every single day, and I love you beyond belief for being a 2nd mom to my kids. I want you to know I will do everything in my power to be there for your kids, especially during this difficult time.
Renee had an uncanny ability to make people feel special and important. She once wrote something i will never forget:

" Darling Jacquie, you will never be lost without me, because all of these years you have been leading the way. I always just pretended it was me. I would never be gone a moment without you. You know you are the best driver, so where you go, we will follow.

"Renee was my darling sister, my dearest friend, and my children’s confidante. She wrote something about me that is too beautiful not to share....

"I am closest to my sister Jacquie. We nurture these bonds by doing lots of things together and talking almost every day."

Jacquie just like you did for me, whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, you won’t have to ask me and you won’t have to thank me. And I will always be sick of being sick, but never ever will I be sick of being there for you."
Renée loved her dearest husband, her children, her grandchildren, family and friends, Christmas, reading books, drinking tea, watching blizzards, smelling flowers, writing her blog, listening to music, catching fairies, and taking pictures....this list could go on forever as Renee's personality was larger than life.

Prior to xmas 08, Renee and her family went to Toronto on a trip, and while she was gone I found an incredible deal on something we both really wanted; a digital camera.

When she came back I told her about my good fortune in finding this camera, and that I bought one for myself....Renee shouted at me ...."you better have picked one up for me, and i am not kidding" which i replied .............there was a limit of one, sorry Renee...."you could have left the store and came right back in and bought me one" "Jacquie, i can't believe you. You know how badly i wanted one."

She was very disappointed, and as a result she would not let up about me not getting one for her.

"I can't believe you didn't pick one up for me, you knew i wanted one"....this went on for at least 30 minutes, at which point i had to tell her the truth, that i bought her one, hoping to surprise her at Christmas....

She dove over to me and said ..."You know i don't like getting gifts"....har har..."OMG, i am so excited"
It was freezing outside, about -50 if I remember correctly, but it doesn’t deter Renee from asking, "Can you go home and get it ?" of course, we all know I did....

Renee loved that camera, and she took pictures of everything. In fact i can remember her getting a little out of hand at times. One day i felt like she had taken a hundred pictures of me, so i finally told her....

Renee, would you stop taking so many fuc*ing pictures of me!....snap....

Renee, I’m going to kill you!!....snap....

Enough already!!!!....snap....

And then we both bust a gut laughing....


Renee was very passionate about her blog, and clearly she had quite an effect on her followers:

one of the comments on Renee's blog truly captured her amazing ability....

"Renee, let me tell you... your blog is 'a spark of life' and I love to read everything!! You are a very good writer!"


Renee loved a good story .... but loved to tell a good tale and here is a recent example of how she described a magical Halloween night:

"The light shined bright the other night though. There was a Beast, Belle (dressed as Cinderella), a Witch and her Mama, and a Grandma/A.J. all on a crisp Halloween evening laughing and going door to door. I drove up and lunged towards them like Quasimodo because I can barely move my leg and pounced on Grandma/A.J. in the wheelchair and asked if she had fun and she did. I could see it."

Beast (Ben) pushed Grandma/A.J. (Jacquie) while Mama (Angelique) went up to the houses with Belle (Kayla) and a Witch (Josephine). Amongst all of this magic there were many creatures running from door to door, there were even boxes walking around.

"But best of all it was a good night where a mother and her other brave son were able to go for a lovely evening stroll."


We are all devastated to lose our Renee, and i often think of the advice she gave:

"Almost four years is a long time to be sick. A long time to be told that you will be dead in six months and then when you are able to live past those six months, know that you are on borrowed time and the bomb WILL drop and when it does you better be ready.

Renee was a true fighter, she beat the odds, but although she was with us far more than 6 months, it was still not even close to long enough.

Renee once wrote in her blog: “They’ll come back to sit when they’re suffering.” Most of us know these places along the path where pain and suffering reside, where the heart aches beyond measure. These places where we need to sit because we are bowed by grief."

Well unfortunately that is where we are for Renee did not make it to her 54th birthday.....

Renee was very wise and has helped all of us along the road. Her last piece of advice to me was something to me and another sister Camille:

"Don't question things, or you will never get any visits. If you do not believe, and are not open to receive the visits, they will not come"

Renee, it has been a pleasure to have had you for my little sister. I will love you and miss you all the days of my life. We will celebrate you always and you will never be someone else's memory....

Cheers Renee
"Together Strong"


Sunday 14 March 2010


Renée Khan (née Ste. Marie)
(March 28, 1956-March 9, 2010)

It is with deep sadness that we who loved her most announce the passing of my wife and our mother.

Renée is survived by her dearest husband and companion of 35 years Nizam Khan; her much loved and adored children Angélique St-Hilaire (Don); Nadalene Cooper (Charlton); Nathan Khan and her joy-filled grandchildren Joséphine and Domenic St-Hilaire. She also leaves to mourn her siblings, nieces and nephews.

Renée’s life work was her children. She often said she loved no one more than them. Renée raised her children in a loving and happy home. Renée encouraged her children to share their lives with her and she listened with devotion.

Renée loved her dearest husband, her children and grandchildren, family and friends, Christmas, reading books, drinking tea, watching blizzards, smelling flowers, writing her blog, listening to music, catching fairies, and admiring the sky.

Renée’s strong faith gave her strength. She gave all she could and more.

We would like to thank all of the angels who have helped my wife and our mother. A special thanks to Dr. Grenier and to the group of women who have travelled this difficult path with her. We would also like to thank her dear siblings and sister in-law for their love, support and care for her and us throughout her journey and her last days. Finally, we would like to thank the staff at St. Boniface Hospital (6E) for their care.

Farewell Dear Hearts
Wahid, Angélique, Nadalene, Nathan
I love you my family and even though I have passed I am taking a piece of you all with me because I can’t bear to be without you, even at the last. Love one another for my sake and even in the tough times be there for each other. And you will see me in each other’s faces and hear me in each other’s words. You have made all of this worth it for me.
Love Mom xoxo

“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.”

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Welcome Home

Our 'Dearest', our 'Pudd', our beautiful Mom, 'Gaga', Grandma, Sister, Auntie and Friend will be so deeply missed.
We are terribly heartbroken Mom.
We will continue to look for you and find you in the beauty all around us and within.

May your journey be safe and may you find peace.
Till we meet again on the day beyond days.
Goodnight, God bless you Mom.

Thursday 4 March 2010

Fuck Cancer

It's killing all of us inside. We have watched our Mom, sister, wife and friend slowly wither away. We see the odd glimmers of her fighting spirit and that makes us feel her strength and love but it is still taking us all down and I am afraid of what will happen when she goes. My Mom has had little relief from her pain, nausea and vomiting. We have been told that she could leave us at anytime, but most likely we have about a week or so.
Thank you for all your prayers, best wishes and lovely comments about my Mom. They help and I am sure they will continue to help us through this. I wish I could respond to so many of you but of course, I am tired.