Ann's Corner

A taste of FAITH, a touch of LAUGHTER.

The Loss of a Precious Elder


Dedicated to the Hansen Family re: the late Hilda Hansen

Our Family History with Hilda

Our Justin family has some close connections with the Hansen family. Somewhere down the line in history, I’m told, Justins were once part of the Hansen family name. It was mentioned to me by someone that there was a Justin Hansen and then his first name was taken and used as the last name, as was sometimes the custom at the time, and that is how we branch off from the Hansen family. However there are other special close connections I’ve lived myself that I want to share here and now.

I had just found some special pics (of Dick Leo and Hilda in Scotland with my Mum) in my stuff from Kyuquot that had come into CR on Tuesday night and I had been sorting since then. I had theses pics set aside and was glad to have found them because of Dick’s passing. Such a loss to the community, both Dick and his daughter. Very sad days for Kyuquot.

I noticed how young everybody looked in that pic, especially Hilda. She had aged considerably by now into her late nineties!

She and Dick had to be in England at the time of this pic as council representatives for the Kyuquot people. Dick was chief at the time and Hilda was on Council. They were there all the way from the west coast of Vancouver Island in Canada to see the Queen…..amazing!

So, they did that and then travelled all the way north to Scotland to see my Mum, the other “Queen” (Freda McQueen, now Freda Dutch). Shocked the living daylights out of her!

I think I had given either Hilda or Dick my Mum’s address but never thought they would be able to make it there. Such an out of the way place in the middle of nowhere….but they did!

Wow!!!!! I was happy that they could tell my Mum in person that I was alive and well in their community (my own communication was not that great)!

I had just been looking at those pics and thinking about Dick having passed on and was thinking well, Hilda and my Mum are still alive. Then later that same night I got news of Hilda passing away!

Oh, my heart! I had to sit down for a while and just gather myself together, my head filled with thoughts. I will try to share them here.

I remember Hilda’s husband was lost in a fishing boat fire at sea. I believe she got the news on or around the day Jim and I got married, because there was a question of us not having our wedding ceremony/lunch after that news, especially when her son, Pete, and Verna (Daisy), his wife, were in our wedding party. My Mum has come out from Scotland to attend!

Long before Jim and I were married, Pete and Verna (Daisy) were Jim’s good friends and they became mine too. So they were a natural choice for our wedding party, Pete as best man and Verna as Maid of Honour.

Hilda had decided to have a gathering up at the big hall on Walter’s Island for her husband when this boat fire happened. However, she and her family were very gracious to let us to proceed with getting married on this sad day for her husband and herself, allowing Pete the freedom still to be our best man. Hilda and her family shared that day of mourning their loss with the joy of the celebration of our marriage. We donated our supplies for our wedding lunch to Hilda’s community dinner. Our traditional Indian wedding was held within that same gathering. What an honour! We were humbled and very grateful.

Hilda’s husband had called us to his boat to give us his blessing to get married some time before he died in that boating (fishing) trip. He was tied up down the float at Houpsitas. We went to see what he wanted.

Well, he had something on his mind. It was beautiful. I remember he put his hands on our heads together and blessed us to be married. Jim had a dream later on and in that dream Hilda’s husband told him in the dream that he needed start believing in God…..

In Jim’s own words:

Later on, when Ken came along as our first child, I asked Hilda to be his Grandma because my Mum was so far away. I think she was delighted, but I think she really was Ken’s grandma Indian way anyway.

When Ken was baptized as a baby, Pete and Verna (Daisy) became his godparents. Another connection forged with the family and one much appreciated over the years.

Later on, I worked on council with Hilda, with Dick as chief. We all benefitted from her quiet wisdom.

Hilda became my neighbour on Houpsitas when we moved there. Her home and store were right next door and I used the store often. It was so handy and she usually had what we needed!

Hilda later became part of our pilot language program at Houpsitas Nursery Kindergarten school and we all had the opportunity to learn from her input there. She was a vital part of our learning process. What a blessing.

I appreciated her courage to run a business, to share her language in our schools, her sense of humour, her ready wit, her laughter, her patience and energy. I did not know what it was to lose a husband til Jim passed away, but Hilda lived that out and showed me the strength of a widow through her everyday life. Another blessing.

These are our strong family connections with Hilda. As my son Ken says, remembering her,

“She’s the reason my family became what it is.

She helped all of us grow”

I’m glad for the times I got to work with her, on council and in the schools, and also just to visit with her. Her example, her wisdom and teachings will live on through her children and in the community. That is her legacy.

I am unable to make it out to Kyuquot myself, unfortunately, but I am definitely thinking of you all in such a time of sad losses for the community. You are on my heart, in my mind and in my prayers. Much love from me and our little Justin family…..<3

Hilda, we will all miss your presence in our lives but we will never forget you ❤

Thank you, God, for sharing Hilda with us ❤

At Ricki’s wedding, 2019

@Ann Justin, September 12, 2020

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2020 by in Blog.

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