Tessa describes her Mom, Cathy, as extremely stubborn, savvy, smart and a perfectionist. She was a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. “There wasn’t much she couldn’t do…she was an artist, baker, and handy with power tools.”
“She was an avid walker. She would walk three hours every day from Innerkip side road and loop back.” The route for the Sakura House’s annual Hike for Hospice holds extra significance for Tessa. Why? The pathway along Roth Park was her part of her Mom’s daily walking routine. She loved that area.
Tessa continues to hike in her Mom’s footsteps because, “it’s my way of helping out. I want to keep Sakura open. I want everyone to have the peace my Mother and I had at the end.”
Tessa not only hikes, she has also actively been involved in the planning of the Hike since the year her Mom died on April 13, 2012.
Cathy died at only 52 years old from colon cancer. The summer before she was diagnosed, she had extreme abdominal pain. Tessa said she was a “very tough and stubborn woman and it had to be pretty dire before she would go see a doctor for anything.”
It would be five months and 10 days from Cathy’s diagnosis to her death. She had mentioned Sakura House early during her diagnosis and treatment so when her kidneys started to fail after chemotherapy and other treatments, she mentioned it again. Tessa said her Mom didn’t want to die in the hospital. When it was time to go to Sakura House, she had decided to “walk in” but Tessa had to convince her to get “rolled in” instead.
She would spend 13 hours at Sakura House. Tessa remembers how important it was for her Mom to see one of their cats. It had been two weeks since she had been home. “Our cat was the first cat in Sakura,” Tessa recalls.
Tessa wasn’t able to get her Mom on a plane to Scotland before she died. It had been Cathy’s dream to tour the entire country and had been saving for several months already. Tessa was ready to take her after her Mom was diagnosed, but, the doctors discouraged it, as Cathy was too sick to travel.
Three years after her Mom died, Tessa got on the plane to Scotland to honour her Mom. She took her Mom’s ashes to two of the places her Mom had always wanted to go – Loch Ness and Arthur’s Seat. Her remaining ashes are buried here in Woodstock. Tessa’s arm carries the GPS locations of these three special locations.
Tessa continues to keep her Mom’s spirit alive by baking her famous banana bread as a fundraiser for the Hike for Hospice. The recipe is well-guarded but for $5.00 per loaf, Tessa’s family, friends and colleagues are given access to Cathy’s famous treat. (Now if only Tessa would sell Cathy’s famous Scottish Shortbread too?!)
Tessa, thank you for continuing to volunteer on our Hike for Hospice Committee and for helping raise essential donations for Sakura House, in honour of your Mom, Cathy Tattersall.
You are an inspiration to all of us and we are forever grateful.