February 16, 2007


George L. Richardson –

June 11, 1931-January 3, 2007


When I arrived at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Canada on a cold and snowy November day in 2006, I had to brace myself for whatever condition I would find my loving uncle in. With much effort I was able to hold my emotions intact. And as I joined my cousins and other relatives on frequent trips to the hospital, we would hold my uncle’s good hand, (the other one then paralysed) and stand or sit at his bedside willing him to talk to us; to say something; to stay with us a little longer.

The days seemed to stand still, with no change in his condition, and as we met with the medical team we were less than hopeful. On my last visit to the hospital just a few short hours before departing Montreal in early December, I lingered for a long time in the hospital doorway just looking at him for one last time…{{more}}

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 will make it one month since my uncle died. It hardly seems possible, yet it’s also been an eternity. Every day something else dawns on me about what his passing means; no more soothing words of encouragement and affirmation when I feel out of my depth. No more hot political debates. No more family history of his life and times with his dear mother whom he was so very fond of. Since the passing of my grandmother in 1991 my uncle became the family patriach, checking up ever so often on his other siblings and their children, and other relatives and friends.

He was the first child of a very strong mother who constantly urged him to study hard, and he did make her proud, excelled in his studies, harvesting the prestigious scholarship award and giving back to the children of the day with a brief stint of teaching in secondary school.

Eager for a taste of what the outside world had to offer he journeyed first to Curacao to work in oil, to further advance his education and to provide support to his mother and her other children. But Curacao was not enough for him and in 1959 he arrived in Montreal, Canada where he would complete studies in chemistry and embark on a sterling career in chemical research with two major world-wide companies.

And as his very dear friend Vernon Eccles said in his Eulogy, my uncle never forgot the Caribbean as he was involved in various associations such as the Negro Citizens Association of Montreal; the St Vincent and the Grenadines Association of Montreal; and while at Sir George Williams University he was president of the West Indian Society.

We would all miss him dearly for his numerous contributions to various associations, but for his relatives and especially his only sister, we all cherish more familial thoughts of him as being resolute, calm, a good listener, thoughtful, and always one for a good argument. And we all grieve in our own separate ways because we know he was very special to us.

Every Sunday evening when my home phone rings, I am still expecting to hear that familiar voice at the other end of the line longing for our usual chat on life, love, politics and just the good old memories of his simple life. And whenever I ring his home in Montreal, I still hear that familiar voice on the answering machine. We would all just love, love, love one more chance to talk with him, to know that he is there giving his usual advice.

But that is no more. For that is what death does to us. It is a pivotal part of life. It brings silence. It disabuses the notions of indestructibility. It leaves an incomprehensible gaping hole in the heart of loved ones left behind. It is always sure.

As family, friends and loved ones gathered at a Memorial Service in Montreal on Saturday 27th January, 2007 we gave thanks for his life. God speed and God bless Uncle George.

Jacqui Tannis Riley