Marie Miller was born on August 12, 1937 in a rural community in the Ottawa Valley. She was married at the age of 19 to Robert Miller (nicknamed R.A.). They were married 65 years (Quite an accomplishment these days). She had two children: her son Stacy, who is married to Joan, and her daughter Tracy, who is married to Ken. She also had 5 grandchildren, Jaime, Alex, Braxton, Conrad, and Griffin, and three grand dogs, Bia, Bolo and Murphy.
Marie’s legacy is her family. She was the undisputed matriarch of our clan. Her focus in life was her family. She was the person you would call if you had a problem and needed a compassionate ear. You knew that she would listen and that you were always going to get an honest answer, whether you wanted it or not. But you also knew her advice came from a place of love and concern.
When we were kids, she was always our biggest cheerleader. Mom would always tell us “You can do it”. There are so many phrases we hear every day that are so Mom. “You are no better than anybody else but nobody else is better than you” Or “Smarten up!” You knew that you had to be polite and respectful to others or risk getting the “wrist grabber”. We were taught to treat with everybody with respect. As we had kids of our own, she passed all of these lessons down to her grandkids who she adored.
Marie taught us that family is the most important thing in life. She loved any occasion where we all got together and she especially loved the Christmas holidays. It was a big deal at our house. She always had presents bought for everybody and said that we should just save our money and not spend it on her. In her final days, she told us how important it was that we continued to support each other and that if one of us was in need then we all better be there to help … no questions asked. She told us that we had to make it a priority to all got together in the future. Mom, we will keep that promise.
Mom loved to go out to dinner. From Ruth’s Chris, to Nero’s, to Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Marie was always ready to go out and always ready to try new things. She loved the Thai place in Niagara or the Tapas place in Blue Mountain. It was so cool to have a mom that was ready to try new things.
Marie was always ready to go on a road trip with her kids and grandkids. Any opportunity to go on an adventure with her family. When you called and asked, “Do you want to go to Windsor for the weekend?” the answer was always “Sure! I just have to do my laundry and get my hair cut and I’m ready to go!!” Whether it was a trip to the casino or to Blue Mountain Marie, she was happy to go. She loved playing the slots. She taught us her slot rule; if you win, keep playing that machine a few times because it will hit again. I don’t know how many times I followed that rule and won. I know going forward I will think of her any time we go on a road trip.
Marie was not a fan of social media. If she wanted to talk, she would call. She did learn to text but it just didn’t replace a phone call or a visit. She also really enjoyed Sunday dinners at home with family, but she always had to have her meat dry and burned! And of course, she said she didn’t need dessert, but always managed to find some room to enjoy a piece or pie or cake. There was always time for tea and we recall her saying that whenever you didn’t feel well, toast and a cup of tea was all you needed to get better.
A couple of years ago Mom started having back pain. Then in December of 2020 she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare and debilitating form of blood cancer. Over the following 6 months Marie went through countless tests and endured chemo and radiation. Through it all she displayed tremendous class and grace. Any time you came down she was so happy to see you and wanted to know about your life. She was kind and appreciative to every healthcare worker that helped her. Through it all, she stayed strong. Despite a valiant effort, the cancer treatment was not successful and in June of this year she was moved to palliative care. In the end, she decided to go out on her own terms. She was absolutely the strongest woman you could have had the privileged to meet.
Mom said that maybe there was a reason for her illness. She thought that it brought the family closer together. She was so right. We all came together to support her however we could. We had discussions with each other that we would have never had in any other circumstances. All of her grand kids came from across the province and country to spend time with her. She knew how much we all loved her and we are all grateful we had the opportunity to tell her that. There was a saying she loved which we will always remember. “Man plans and God laughs”. You think that you can plan and control how life will go. But, just like Mom said in her final days, sometimes you need to just realize what is truly important and focus on that.
Mom often told us about her mother. She would recall how her mom was somebody you could always talk to. How you could always just drop in and stay as long as you wanted. She said she thought of her mother every day. We know it will be exactly the same with our mom. We know that when we have to make a decision, when we go to the casino or when there is a family get together, Mom will be watching.
If you want to join us in this tribute to Marie, please make a donation to Myeloma Canada. Marie would want us all to pay it forward and help them find a cure.
Messages and condolences may be left at www.forestcitycremation.com. Please visit Marie's obituary notice on Facebook.