My name is Sheree and I am a mother.
I have three beautiful children that call me by that name (or mama, mommy, mom).
The definition of a mother is simply put- “a woman in relation to a child to whom she has given birth.” I would like to share with you my definition of a mother because I had one of the best examples anyone could ask for.
My mother and I had always been very close. She was one of my best friends. She was full of life, hard working, caring, selfless, patient, kind, gentle and very silly.
During my first year of college my mother was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer and managed to bare through several rounds of chemo. She was in remission for 10 years before it came back, but she fought it once again! Along with the ongoing struggle of this horrible disease, she developed cirrhosis of the liver due to all the chemo, and a degenerative eye disease where she would slowly become blind. Through it all, she smiled. She laughed, worked hard and tried her best to stay positive. I’m sure she cried too, but in front of me and the kids she always smiled.
In April 2014, my husband and I, our two young children and my mother moved from the bustling city of Vancouver to a very small town in the Kootenays where we literally only knew two people. This would be our chance to fulfill a long time dream of ours, to raise our family in a quiet small town, grow a garden and have a slower pace of life. My mother came along to help with the adjustment. I was also four months pregnant with our third child at the time of the move and she wanted to stay and help with the kids and meet the new little one. It was a challenging transition at first. We had just left our wonderful community of friends and family and moved to the middle of nowhere. It was lonely, but we were surrounded by quiet mountains, and so much beauty. We had each other and felt like we now had all the time in the world to be with one another. My mother spent hours in the yard, gardening with the children. We went for adventures and walks, had picnics under the apple tree. We were able to share life together in the sweetest, simple way.
Shortly after we arrived in Kaslo, my mother began getting sick again. Weekly visits and appointments were made to the hospital (that happened to be an hour away from our new town). Tests, procedures and exams and then more tests were scheduled. The state of her cirrhosis was becoming a growing concern and worrying me sick. She was hospitalized several times over the summer but was always able to come home after a day or two.
In the beginning of September, the peach, plum and pear trees in our yard were heavy with fruit. Mom had been anticipating making jam and desserts with this fruit since the day we moved in. One sunny September day we were picking peaches together with the kids and making marmalade. The next day she had to go back to the hospital and she never came back. A few days later, she passed away. A mere three weeks after that, I gave birth to our third child.
The timing of it all felt so cruel. I could not fathom that in just a few weeks I was supposed to welcome a new life into the world when my dear mother had just lost hers. I felt so lost without her. I didn’t want to have this baby without her around. I didn’t have the strength or courage to do this without her. But of course, I had no choice. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Anna Rose Doris, named after my mother.Now a year and half later, I can begin to understand the timing of events. I had a little one that needed me, depended on me and gave me so much joy. In the depth and weight of my grief, this new little life could look into my eyes and fill me with so much love and gratitude. This surprised me at first, but eventually I accepted it as a true gift.
Not a day goes by where I don’t think of my mom. I see her in my kid’s silly expressions and songs she taught them. I remember her every time we bake cinnamon rolls or eat peach jam. I remember her every time I drink my coffee black, and every time my daughter washes the floors on her hands and knees (something she learned from her Oma, not me!). I remember her when I sit by the river and look into the mountains and clouds and I remember her when I sing.
The first year that my mom was gone, I didn’t sing much, but slowly with time, words started to fill my pages again. Writing new songs was a way for me to feel close to mom, and to honour her in some way. My husband and I have been writing songs and playing music for many years together, and this past year we’ve been able to collaborate a lot more. A new batch of songs are ready to be recorded and an album released soon after that. The songs are mostly about this journey that we’ve come through, going from urban to rural, from the loss of my mom to the birth of our third daughter, going from grief, and little by little having it transformed into gratitude.
To honour my mom, and all that we’ve been through, we’re excited to be recording this new project in Nashville, Tennessee, with a talented producer we’ve looked up to for a long time. You can become a part of the project, and support us in raising the funds we need to put it out by following our Kickstarter campaign and pre-buying the album. Below is a song that I wrote about grief and gratitude called “Thank you For the Years”.
Sheree lives with her husband and children in a small mountain village in the Kootenays. She has the glamorous job of taking care of their three young + beautiful children. Days are filled with homeschooling their eldest, baking bread, sweeping and going for walks by the river. In her spare time, she loves to write and play music with her husband, gaze at the mountains and read books.
Sheree and Jeremy sang at our wedding in 2008. I walked down the aisle to Rosie Thomas’s rendition of Songbird, and there was nothing more beautiful than their voices filling the concert hall. These two creatives are wonderful, salt of the earth folks.
Kindly take a look at their Kickstarter campaign below and consider helping them on their journey to Nashville.