February 7, 2014
Tribute to Glenda Mc Dowall-Joyette

Fri Feb 7, 2014

“I am not giving up, I won’t quit, I won’t roll over, I am going down fighting”.

The words of a courageous, dedicated loving woman (phenomenal woman). The one whose life we celebrate today.

Glenda Mc Dowall – Joyette, lived those words, she was not daunted by life’s circumstances which presented themselves to her, or perhaps some will say by the hand she was dealt.

The condition of her physical heart did not daunt her cheerful spirit, her sense of loyalty, her dedication to and for a cause, her willingness to stretch herself and most notably her ability to speak or say what is right and to seek for a solution to the problem at hand.

For Glenda the encourager life was worth living, and demanded the best resolve no matter what it took.

For Glenda the entrepreneur, the business woman, risks were worth taking and excellence was the reward for hard, determined effort. Full and complete representation was to be made at all times to bring about a solution. This was what she did to and for many in her daily pursuit, as she partnered and supported her husband in their business.{{more}}

Making a difference drove her to the snackette or restaurant venture in Georgetown. She spoke of wanting to give back to the community in which she was born and grew up. And of the council she gave to the school children as they came to and for lunch, or at break times.

For Glenda the teacher, right and having a cause were noble ideals to be cherished. Instructions and discipline were hallmarks deemed as second to none. Have a chat with Beverley and when you visit the home note the schedule with daily activities and instructions, this we know was a reflection of her early teaching days

For Glenda the nurse, caring for others and showing compassion was not a choice it was a must she spoke with deep satisfaction of her days as a nurse, and recalled the quality of care she gave.

For Glenda the Rotarian the Rotary Ideal “service above self” ought to become a life principle in today’s world.

In his writings “The Heart: A Passover Midrash” Rabbi Sholomo Ben Levy writes,

“We see people around us whose hearts have been hardened by their own actions or beliefs. How can you tell who these people are? And, more importantly, how can you tell if your heart has been hardened? Typically, a hard-hearted person is someone who refuses to empathize with the suffering of other people; they are not sensitive to the feelings and concerns of those around them; they thrive most when they are insulting or attacking another person or group; they believe that they or their group is superior to other people or groups. A hard-hearted person cannot reach out, he/she has no desire to feel or create the love of which I speak. Such a person always believes that it is the other man who needs his heart softened. These are the classic symptoms of sclerosis of the spiritual heart.”

I was drawn to these words following a very different encounter with a woman whom I had known for years.

A woman who with her family came to live in my neighborhood on my street perhaps a thousand yards or so from our home, a woman to whom I became very close

It was lunch time; I was driving back to work along Bay Street in front of Ds Services. I indicated that I will be turning left in a few yards into the Financial Complex, for some reason the minivan behind of me refused to pay attention to the indicator and on slowing down to make the turn he crashed into the back of my vehicle. Initially the exchange was that he was not wrong, but a female traffic cop, the one we call “Miss Gold Teeth” was on the opposite side of the street, and came to the scene.

Later the driver and I ended up at Joyettes Auto Collision to Glenda Joyette. She looked at the damaged vehicle, determined what parts were needed, consulted the manuals and then produced an estimate for the repairs. On seeing the estimate, the young man was in tears and said he could not afford to pay, and that he would take the vehicle to a friend to which I disagreed. I told Glenda to order the parts and fix the vehicle and to give the estimate to the gentleman.

Two days after, the young man came to see me at the office to make arrangements as to how he could have settled the bill. He outlined his plight and the fact that his mom had assisted him to get the van to help out, that he had just gotten the van from the garage and was hustling to make some trips. He asked if I can help in any way.

I called Glenda and asked how she can help, if a payment plan could be put in place. She asked that the young man come to see her.

Glenda gave the payment plan, but not before calling me to ask that I help the young man. She said she had a talk with him; he had gone to school with Bertram and was qualified, that he had looked but could not find a job and I needed to help, I needed to see if I had an opening at the office to help him out.

Today that young man is an assistant supervisor in the statistical unit of the NIS. She was persuasive, she was genuine, she knew what was needed to make a difference and she represented that in her actions.

She was sensitive to the feelings and concerns of those around her, she reached out, she created love.

Her life as a Rotarian was outstanding. She would organize the quarterly luncheon for Lewis Punnett Home in a way that only Glenda could. Rotarians dreaded being late with their dish, eleven thirty gathering was just that. The assistance to the children at Barrouallie, Glenda held meetings with the school’s principal, interviewed the children on their performance and set general behaviour standards. The Christmas parties in the communities, the wrapping of the gifts just last Christmas at Kim’s house, Glenda had it all down packed.

Her life as a mother was exemplary. She was devoted to the cause of her children and there was no distinction between their time and her time. In listening to Bertram he said these words about his mom’s death “Mr Thomas, is as if mom knew and planned this and in a way she was preparing me for this and I did not know. The jewels she wore all along were inside on the dresser. She knew that had anything ever happened to her no matter where, I would have been the first one there and that Ronnie won’t let me travel alone and that was what happened. She knew I would have wanted time to grieve by myself and she allowed me that time. I was afraid of flying but I flew on a Mustique Airways with her body. I can fly anywhere now.

I have more of mommy in me now than ever before. When I returned home and Beverley ran out to greet and hug me the smile on her face was my mother’s. I will be alright she will be always with me.”

Her life as a devoted wife in a union with Dennis of 42 years was characterized by a duty of care which was taken to a higher height in July of 2013, when she called me to tell me of the incident with Dennis, she expressed her concerns about the emotional impact of that day on him and wanted me to come by on my return to provide some support.

In remembrance, Dennis spoke of the good times they had and the joy and enthusiasm with which she executed her role in the business. For him, all of who she is and was, is captured in the following words:

“Deep the joy of being together in one heart

and for me that’s just where it is

As we make our way through all the joys and pain,

can we sense our younger, truer selves?

Someone will be calling you to be there for a while,

Can you hear the cry from deep within?

Laughter, joy and presence: the only gifts you are.

Have you time? I’d like to be with you.

Persons come into the fiber of our lives,

and then their shadow fades and disappears.

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.”

A fitting song in tribute for a life well lived.

Glenda died on January 19, 2014 in St Maarten at the same hospital where she was made aware of the condition of her physical heart, some 34 years ago, was it fate?

To her husband Dennis, her children Donna, Bertram and Michael, step children Adrian, Jennifer and Denzil, her mother Estelle Laban, her five grandchildren, six brothers, three sisters and three adopted sisters, her beloved aunt, in-laws, other relatives and friends, Glenda’s life taught us much; we can truly answer Rabbi Ben Levy’s question on her behalf.

She was not a hard- hearted person. Many of you in your tributes spoke of her qualities, so all of us can truly join with her husband and so change the words of the chorus of the song and so say

“All she will ask of us is forever to remember her as loving us.”

She will like to remind us that laughter joy and presence is the only gift we are, not what we have but “the gift we are” and she will urge us to have the time to share with each other and so live life, so that truly our spiritual hearts can go on long after our physical hearts cease.

In the words of Celine Dion “My heart will go on” she wrote:

“Every night in my dreams

I see you I hear you, that is how I know you go on.

Far across the distance and spaces between us,

You have come to show you go on.

Near far wherever you are,

I believe the heart does go on.

Once more you open the door and you are here in my heart

And my heart will go on and on……”

Glenda’s heart will go on and on.

May her soul rest in peace.