Our grandmother, Eva Williams, was a remarkable soul. Her journey began on May 26, 1932, in Port Mourant Village in Berbice, Guyana. Born to Sukhri also known as Bayban Hemraj and Aphan Appadu, Eva was a cherished daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and great aunt. She leaves behind a legacy of love and cherished memories that will forever warm our hearts.
Eva was one of six siblings- herself and her treasured sister Evelyn, and her four brothers Izick (Isaac), the famous horse jockey Elick, Harold and Cecil.
In November 1949, Eva married our grandfather, Louis Cecil Alexander Williams. Our grandfather was a boxer, a cyclist, a customs border official, and almost went up for the Olympics in the 1940s for weightlifting. She would enthusiastically tell us about how not only our grandfather arrived on horseback to their wedding ceremony, but since it was a double evening wedding along-side her sister Evelyn, her brother in law, Uncle Lilman (Ramnarine Persaud) did as well. She would always tell us what a sight it was for the entire village.
From their home on Station St. in Kitty, Eva and Louis welcomed their daughter, Eleanor, also known as Joan in December 1951, followed by the arrival of their son Derrick in January 1954. The family’s journey led them to Betterhope Scheme down the east coast in the early 1960s, where their son Desmond completed the family circle in February 1964.
Eva worked as a talented seamstress in Guyana. With dedication and unwavering focus, she created clothing that mirrored her craftsmanship and was highly sought after by many. Accompanied by her trusty radio which she would use to sing along to the indian songs that kept her company, she sewed into all hours of the night.
When our grandfather passed away from cancer in 1981, Eva and Desmond left Guyana the year after and moved to Canada to join Joan and Derrick who had ventured ahead years prior. She resided in Scarborough with her youngest son Desmond, until she transitioned to Rockcliffe Care Community. In Canada, Eva found purpose as a dedicated babysitter to two little Canadian children named Tina and Patrick, who she sung indian songs to, so much so, that they were able to sing parts back to her. Later, she excelled as a janitor at the Canada Post Office on Eastern Avenue in Toronto, a role she remained in until she was well into her mid 70’s. She was a hard working woman, braving the Canadian weathers on the TTC at all hours of the day and night to make it to work on time. There were days she would work at the post-office, then come home to babysit us for hours, before she squeezed in a few hours of sleep prior to heading back out to the post office. She did this regularly, with great pride and joy, despite the lack of sleep.
Eva’s heart expanded with each new addition to her family- her son in law Peter, who she affectionately referred to as babadilla, daughter in law Tara, grandchildren Robert, Sean, Charles, Stephanie, Phillip, and Stephen. As time unfolded, the family tree grew further, blossoming with three beautiful granddaughters-in-law—Shabana, Rozina, and Melissa—and two precious great-grandchildren, Markus and Olivia.
Eva’s heart knew no bounds; her kindness and love were a testament to her character. She selflessly put her family’s needs above her own, sometimes forgoing meals to make sure others had enough to eat. When you went to visit her, you weren’t permitted to leave until you ate something, or at the very least had some tea.
She was a wonderful, kind, loving, affectionate, quiet, friendly, peaceful, content soul who loved the simple pleasures life offered, including indian movies and songs, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Price is Right, tea with cookies, carrot muffins, lipstick, kit kats, doritos, mountain dew, pizza, and especially rice krispie squares. She thoroughly enjoyed the company of her loved ones, especially her treasured nieces and nephews here in Canada, who she loved dearly and beyond measure: Audrey, Angela, Jacqueline, Terry, Victor, Aubrey, Ricki, Marci, Shoma, Giri, Veo, Rajo, Whodeo, and all their families. She was an amazing cook, and well known for her chicken and goat curry, dhal and rice, and especially her carrot bake.
In her golden years, she became a resident of the Rockcliffe Care Community in Scarborough, where she affectionately earned the name ‘Mama Eva’ from many of the nurses, PSWs, and care providers, who we give special thanks to for the wonderful care and love she received from them.
As the years progressed and we grew, she constantly reminded us that we were still her babies, holding our hands whenever she could and taking every opportunity to tell us how us how happy she was to see us and how much she loved us. As her dementia slowly took her away from us, the roles reversed, and she became our baby. We tried our best to care for her, hoping to return a fraction of the love, patience, and attention she had given us.
Eva had the sweetest smile, however, that was overshadowed by her even sweeter laugh. But, it’s the beautiful twinkle in her eyes when we went to see her and she saw us walking towards her that we’ll miss the most. Her departure will forever leave a void in the hearts of those who were fortunate to know her. While we know and accept that death is an inevitable part of living, we really thought she would live forever or at the very least, outlive us all. She was resilient and strong, and beat Covid three times.
The family is grateful to the exceptional team at Rockcliffe Nursing Home, where Eva resided for the past 11 years, the wonderful and accommodating staff at the Ajax Visitation and Cremation Centre, and the team at Scarborough General Hospital who looked after her in her final hours.
We’ll leave you with one of Eva’s favorite sayings, but first, here’s some context: in spite of thoroughly enjoying being in the presence of her family, when she was ready to go home, she had to go home. I’m the same way, and so is my mom, so we definitely get that trait from her. She would stand at the front door, with her shoes, hat, jacket and purse on, trying to convince someone to take her home. Despite trying to convince her to stay and spend more time with us, she’d famously say ‘yah, but if you go now, or if you go later, it’s the same go yuh gaffa go’. Sometimes she’d also say go today, vs go tomorrow, but now and later was her default. So then, we’d always tell her ‘okay, well then we’ll go later if it’s the same’, to which she’d reply ‘yah, but you could go now, because, if you go now, or if you go later, it’s the same go you gaffa go’.
This little quote of hers resonates when you think of our time on earth. We’re all going to the same place one day (hopefully). Some will get there sooner than us, some later. We’re just glad she was one that went later, because it allowed her to enrich our lives beyond imagine.
Our treasured grandmother has now found her eternal rest. She has beyond earned her deserving place in the beautiful abode of Lord Krishna. May God welcome her into his heavenly kingdom. May she be granted Jannat-ul Firdous. Wherever she goes, may the divine energies bless her soul as she begins her journey. Nani we will miss you so much, and while we know you helped to set us up to fulfill our duty on earth, we long for the day we get to feel your warm embrace and hear your laugh again on that one sweet day.
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