When at university about 1970 I asked why conflict pervades our lives. After years I found the answer is simply the question of meaning I call "the last why" since it will never be answered. Still, we try and have tried to "fill the void" behind "Why am I?" in ways that conflict, since it was first asked by 'Eve'. Thus we've created our open-ended history of conflict we will soon close if we don't instead choose the "ideal reaction to the void".

In 2005 I decided to see if I was a fool for asking by seeking reaction to my analysis the only way an anonymous carpenter could, on this website. I first tried to attract visits with prose posts but changed to
poetry for reason in rhyme is memorable. I've had to advertise so I could be twice the fool but I remain undecided. Thanks for sharing. Doug.E.Barr  






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Rita Barr 12/28/1915-07/27/2010

You gave me life so long ago
And then a second time.
Because you needed help with yours
You set me free to rhyme.

You gave more than I could return,
Too few were the ten years.
Because I alway tried my best
Regret will not cause tears.

On many days you were the force
That caused this son to rise.
You did not know your purpose was
To be God in disguise.

You taught me well, I can go on.
I know what I will be.
As I reach out to others now
They will see you in me.

Our flowers always brought you joy
Is one last thing you taught.
Forever I will see you in
A blue forget-me-not.



Reader Comments (24)

Thanks for a beautiful tribute to our classy, life-loving, adventurous, strong-hearted Mom. She has impacted thousands of lives over her lifetime....none so much as ours. She inspired and encouraged us to be all that we could be. Her love and commitment to us and our family members is a cherished legacy. Mom you live on in our hearts!!! Thanks Doug for being such a wonderful care-giver and companion to Mom especially during these past 10 years. She very fondly referred to you as "the boss". I know that she loved to hassle you at was fun to watch. I know that Mom was so proud of you and loved you so much. Your relationship was with her was so special...what a gift. I pray that this tribute would cause any and all who read it to realize, value and invest more in the relationships that they have.
Love, Sharon

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Uncle Doug, as I was leaving for work this morning my mom gave me the news that Nana had passed. =(

Your poem was a thoughtful, well-spoken, and honorable tribute to Nana. Hers and Papa's legacy now lives on through yourself, your brothers and sisters, and all of us grandkids.

Looking back, there are so many happy times that involved Nana. I love the traditions she instilled in my mom, regarding family and family gatherings, especially around holidays. I remember times with Nana, at the condo, skiing at Kirby, and up at the cottage. These are some of the places that made my childhood memorable.

Last summer, when I came up to visit you and Nana, my last interaction with her when I was getting out of the van, was her giving me an unexpected gift of money-but that was Nana...she loved us and shared her life generously with us. As I said that day, I say again..."I love you Nana."

Thank you Uncle Doug for taking such amazing care of her for the last 10 years of her life. I honor you and hope you are holding up okay.



July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoel Witton

A sad day indeed. A beautiful poem for a beautiful and admirable woman. Thank-you Nana for all you were and all your love. Thank-you Uncle Doug being a companion to Nana and for taking care of her. I cherish many wonderful memories of and experiences with Nana. I love you always Nana.

Faithe Joy

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaithe


What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. Her's was a life well lived and you got to share some inportant parts with her. How blessed you were.


July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

Dear Doug,
My family was so very sad to hear of your mom’s (Aunt Rita’s) passing. Our thoughts are with each member of your family at this challenging time and we send you all, our heartfelt condolences. May the lovely memories you all have of your mother and grandmother bring you consolation as you mourn her loss. She was a beautiful, gentle woman and she will be remembered fondly for her kindness and thoughtfulness. I too have so many wonderful memories of your mom that I will cherish.

Doug, you have written such an amazing poem in memory of your mother. It is a beautiful tribute. You were a dedicated, loving son who gave so much to your parents especially in their twilight years. Your dedication to your mother these past ten years was truly remarkable. You were lucky to have each other. There were lots of good times. Let those memories help you during this difficult time. Thinking of you all.
Cousin Susu

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Schiff

Uncle Doug,

What a beautiful way to remember a beautiful woman. Thank you for dedicating your life to nana (and papa). I cherish such wonderful memories of her...from trips to the cottage to special occasion dinners to her giving me a toonie and telling me "now don't spend that all in one place" I would smile and say "ok nana" (when she was young $2 could have probably paid the rent for the month...). Nana was always fair.loving.kind. I remember her always having eskimo pies in her freezer for when we would come over and home made peanut butter cookies that she had pushed down with a fork (leaving the marks on the cookies). There are so many things that made nana who she was. Thank you for the countless scrabble games you played with her. The ritual of going for walks. Teaching her to utilize the computer to play solitaire. You say she was "God in disguise"...I have no doubt that you were no less to her. To be a care taker/best friend to your parent speaks volumes of the love you had for her (and papa). "Thank you" just doesn't cover it...frankly I don't think there are words to correctly describe it...I hope to do as good of a job if I am ever called upon for my parents. Without nana (and papa) we would not be here...we would not be us. Their legacy lives on in us...I love you Uncle Doug. Please know and remember that...

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterelia

Hi Doug,

Tears came to my eyes as I read your poem about Mum. It was a wonderful tribute and a testimony of not only her life but also yours.

Doug, when I think of you two words leap immediately to and faithfulness.

What greater gift could a son bestow upon his Mum and Dad then his life. You chose the less travellled road these past ten years and through all the twists and turns of the journey have stayed faithful to love, support and encourage two wonderful people. That is so special.

Thank you for what you have done. It speaks louder to me then any words ever could.



July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

reading the tributes to a most beautiful tribute my heart goes out to you with tears in my eyes Doug i too say good bye to her and my heart goes out to you especially and you family god bless you all love Judy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjudy

Being a kid twice, what a beautiful relationship between a mother & a son!

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Hi Doug,

Your poem was extremely touching. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us about your wonderful mother. My condolences to you and your family. I can't help but wonder what the world would be like if children honoured their parents the way that you have your mom. I honour you for doing that. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time.

Kind regards,

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Hey Uncle Doug -

I wanted to make sure I got 'in the mix' here. I was on my way to work when my mom had told me that Nana has passed. Thank you so much for taking care of her over the past number of years and for the thoughtful way you have honored her memory in your poetry. I'm sure there will be more coming so I will be checking back.

Nana (and Papa) was a huge part of our lives for years - I will always remember the cottage, skiing at Mt. Kirby (really should have been called "Hill Kirby" though... there are no mountains out here :)), Family meals together (they used to take so long to come over on Christmas and we couldn't open our gifts until they did) and so much more.

Thanks again... your heart shines through your words


July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan Witton

Beautifully said Doug. Reminiscent of the Arrow and the Bow.

July 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Vick

Hi Uncle D.. A great tribute to Nana. A great Lady who left me with nothing but wonderful memories, and someone who left me as a better person from just knowing her.
Even though we new it would happen sooner or later, when Mum and Dad phoned me at work with the news, it was still a shock and we all shed tears. She will be sadly missed and remembered always.

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGordon Barr

the great care, thoughtfulness and love you showed your Mother these past years has made me think deeply about my own parents, and the relationship I want with them while we are all still alive. Thanks for teaching those qualities by example.
Memories to share of you and your Mom:

the daily walk around Emerald, her arm tucked into the crook of yours. I could set
my watch by those walks!

Driving off the highway and turning into Emerald we often got to see the both of you puttering around in your driveway, or tending the lovely flower garden, which now has two resplendent yellow flowers glowing in the center of it. Rita was a champion sweeper of the cleanest driveway in Whistler.

Watching the both of you rally tennis balls at the club, I was about to sign Rita up for the World Seniors Championship 90+ category but alas, I don't think we could have torn her away from Emerald drive.
Our thoughts are with you and your family, your poem was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarjorie Blackwood


Your mom was my favorite aunt, by a country mile. I enjoyed being around her and your dad at your parents' home in Oshawa on Glencairn, at their cottage at Apsley, and at any big gatherings of relatives around Ontario. She was a great partner for your dad, and they made such a powerful team in encouraging others through word, supportive actions, and warm hospitality.

Aunt Rita exuded a love for living life to the fullest, right in the moment. Her ways of interacting with others and enveloping you in her humour and great laugh, brought relaxing times and uplifting joy to many. It was obvious that she desired the very best for others, rejoicing in their plans and successes, and empathizing in their challenges and disappointments.

Even though she had an artistic eye and multiple talents in spades, inherited from the artsy Plitz DNA, Aunt Rita did not draw attention to herself, and accepted praise graciously when it was offered, then quickly deflecting the attention to concentrate on someone else. I enjoyed her style of fresh, vibrant decorating of her home and the cottage, including her gardening and landscape design exploits.

Aunt Rita loved well... people, dogs, creation in all its four Canadian seasons, and her Creator. We look forward to meeting her again. Thank you, Doug, for so selflessly looking after her and your dad those many but fleeting years. May you know peace and fulfillment in your life in the coming days as you rest and recalibrate. I look forward to whatever future interactions with you that we will be granted.

Well done, Cousin Doug.

Dave Stewart

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCousin Dave Stewart

Dear Cousin Doug & family,

I have many fond memories of your Mom / Nana. I can still hear the cheerful & encouraging way Aunt Rita said "Good for you!" when so many years ago as a young boy visiting the cottage, I told her that that I had succeeded in swimming out to the big rock and back for the first time.

Looking back, the tone & delivery of Aunt Rita's "Good for you" seems to represent so much about what she was all about: respect, warmth & especially, action. Everything Aunt Rita put herself to seemed to have a loving and engaged force to it. What better testament than her passion for snow shoveling and sweeping at Whistler to name but two of her most regular activities?

It's Aunt Rita's embodiment of actively extending love to others whether friend, family or stranger that speaks to me most. This is a big teaching I received from her: to unconditionally show kindness and respect to fellow man, those we know, and most especially those we don't. What I've come to learn for myself is that a hidden blessing of the teaching is that actively extending a state of love returns it to us. Little wonder Aunt Rita's passion for life was so incessantly evident.

Doug, you offered a tremendous gift to your Mom & Dad in seeing to their care & I know you feel blessed by the opportunity.

All my love & support to all the family at this time.

Cousin Peter Stewart

August 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stewart

Just a short note to let you know we are so sorry for your loss. Our hearts are with you. We will miss your mother on your walks. Her encouragement to my gardening skills never went unnoticed and will always be appreciated. You are very blessed to have such a wonderful friend in the garden and always. I am sure she felt the same for you. A wonderful son too!

Our condolences,
Frank and Olwen

(from a card)

August 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterDoug.E.Barr

To the Barr family,
Thinking of you all, and remembering aunt Rita. Our deepest condolences. I'm sure she will be missed.

Diana, Michael & Kate Plitz (Whitby)

(from a card)

August 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterDoug.E.Barr

We will miss seeing your Mom walk the subdivision and tending her garden. Your poem was beautiful.

Love from Frani and Chris

(from a card)

August 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterDoug.E.Barr

Thinking of you...I always enjoyed your Mom's visits when you brought her down to "Cracked Pepper" for a treat. It must have been a special time to spend her last years with you.

Best to you,
Helen and Scott Carrell

(from a card)

August 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterDoug.E.Barr

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