The Passing of Edna Halsted Nablo, youngest sister of my mother Joyce Halsted McLean

by Jack McLean

August 8, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,
Dear Uncle Ron, dear Heather, dear cousins,

It is such a hard loss to bear. I am thinking of and praying for you Ron, for you cousins Heather, Laurel, Robin, Andrea, Sylvie and Coral and for all the extended family.

Edna has been in my life as long as I can remember. But I am only too painfully aware today that your loss is so much greater than mine. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time of transition.

I have a wonderful lifetime of memories of Edna going back to early childhood, some 60 years ago, memories that I will always cherish. I would like to share some of them with you now. Of course, these are only memories. As precious as they are, they can never replace Edna herself, but they are nonetheless a reflection of her great, beautiful, loving soul:

  • Her physical beauty when she was young — the long, dark, curly hair flowing down her back and that hourglass waist.
  • Her throaty chuckle and laughter when she was amused.
  • She loved to joke with me — and she did so more than once — that she used to change my diapers and be my babysitter.
  • Her lyrical singing voice. (I remember being mesmerized when I sat beside her on the piano bench as she sang and played “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise”, revived by Les Paul and Mary Ford in 1951. I still know the words because Edna sang them).
  • Watching her play the piano when I was a child.
  • Her devotion to the truth.
  • Her love of the Faith.
  • Her dedication to the Faith.
  • Her service to the Faith on the Pioneering Committee and as a long-term Baha’i pioneer in Belize.
  • Her love of precise ideas.
  • Swing-dancing with her at a Baha’i event at Ottawa University in the early 70’s.
  • Her standing up for principle and what is right. (We once walked out of a country restaurant together because Edna did not like the way we were treated). “Let’s go!” she said. And we did.
  • Her mothering her brood.
  • Her attention to literacy.
  • Her thought of God inherited from her parents that she passed down to her children.
  • Her love and respect for her much cherished spouse, “Sir Ronald Nablo.”

Edna was precious to me, not only because she was my aunt, and my mother Joyce’s youngest sister by 15 years, but also because she was the last surviving member of the Halsted children of Will and Jessie Halsted, her parents. Hope was called “Babes” but Auntie Babes was not to be the last baby, as it turned out. The last baby was Edna. Ron and Edna housed me during a difficult time of transition in my life during my university years. It couldn’t have been easy for them to find room for a sick puppy in their busy household, but they did. I am happy to report that I got through it. They helped me along the way. Again, thank you dear family.

My only consolation in this moment of grief is to know that her parents and my parents and a host of saints, are welcoming her to paradise with open arms.

Edna, our love for you will not die because we cannot see you for now. We know it will be only for a little while. You grew tired of your old heavy, worn-out coat. We are happy that you have at last cast it away, after so many years of suffering, and are now rejoicing in your newfound freedom and joy, in worlds that we who are left here cannot even begin to dimly imagine. That is our only consolation.

    Much love as always,

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