And what is it to work with love?
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It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart ... It is to build a house with affection ... It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy ... It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit, And to know that all the blessed ... are standing about you and watching.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Roxena Flossie Norman (nee Endicott) , the fastest little runner in Sally’s Cove, was born the fourth of six children on Sunday, November 12, 1939. Over her 80 years, she travelled around the world, but was always grateful to get back home to her beloved Newfoundland.
She left to join her husband Eric and her grandchildren, Emily, Hannah, and Benjamin on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Predeceased by parents Thomas and Dulcie, as well as beloved sister Jean, and brothers Coyley and Laudrick. Leaving to love her from this plane are her sisters Eileen (Caines) and Wanda and David (Payne), and her children: Tony and Ann (Hogan),their children Garron, Lukas, and Rebecca; Dawn and Bruce (Payne), their children Sally and Alex (Lanoie) and Nicholas; Suzanne and her children Thomas and Jonah; Bob and Tonya (Hussey),their children Eric and Olivia. Her grandchildren meant everything to her and she was the proudest grandmother you would likely find.
She will also be sadly missed by sister-in-law Evelyn and Ray (Penny), brother-in-law Dan (Norman) as well as a wide circle of nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions there will be no visitation and attendance at the funeral service will be limited. Family and friends will be welcome to attend the graveside service at All Saints Cemetery following the funeral service at St. Martins Anglican Cathedral . In lieu of flowers donation in Roxena's memory may be made to Amnesty International Canada or a charity of one's choice.
Roxena was the first person in Sally’s Cove to complete high school and went on to attend summer school and gain her teaching certificate. This was no small accomplishment in 1956. For an ambitious young woman from a small coastal town, it was not an easy path. Her first teaching assignment, at age 17, was in Stephenville Crossing. She went on to teach in Windsor where she met the love of her life and started her family, choosing to be an at-home mother.
Eric was a principal and Rox was a new teacher. It wasn’t long before Eric became teasingly called Barnacle Eric because he was “stuck on Rox”. Ever a student, after her children were grown, she decided to return to Memorial University to pursue a degree in Education 1985. In 2006 she trained and became certified in Reiki. She never stopped learning; even taking courses recently on how to better use her iPad and social media.
She loved her book club and was incredibly well-read. From Maeve Binchy to Isabel Allende to Bryce Courtenay, to Kahlil Gibran to brothers Dan and Lawrence Hill. Non-fiction and fiction, politics, to poetry and prose. Roxena seldom found a book from which she could not find something of value. As social media grew she discovered Facebook and her community of book lovers grew ever wider.
A little twitch of her mouth meant some great laughter to come and her sharp and wonderful sense of humour flowed. She could stay up all night talking and laughing with her children or siblings, but would caution that if we laughed too much we might end up crying.
Roxena was the green thumb in the family and her house and garden burst with colour and green from early spring to the last falling leaf.
She had wonderful turns of phrase. No phone call or conversation was complete without some reference to politics. Despite best efforts to not talk about the “devil” in the States, her great concern about the state of democracy in the world and its impact on global human rights inspired her to speak to the injustices.
Together she and Eric worked tirelessly for, and contributed greatly to, the advancement of disability rights provincially, nationally, and internationally. What started as advocacy with the creation of COD (the Consumer Organization of the Disabled) in Gander in the mid-eighties, led to active and change-making roles in national disability rights organizations, illuminating one of her true passions: advocating for equal rights for all. A firm believer in human rights, she was an active member of Amnesty International, and Canadian Crossroads International, establishing a Gander chapter of CCI and working tirelessly fundraising for Amnesty.
Mornings in her house always included CBC Radio in the background and you could often hear her commenting to herself about the news. She was an incredibly proud Newfoundlander and despite travelling the world, never found a place that could ever compare to her home. Berry picking and making her jams and freezing fish and moose for the winter kept her whole and connected to our land and sea. She loved the ballads and poetry of Newfoundland. The March Hare was a big part of her life and she looked forward to it each year particularly the re-connection with friends and family.
In losing Roxena, those who were closest to her have lost a part of themselves.
She is deeply missed.