With great sadness we’ve said our last good-bye, given our last hug and kiss to Mom, Nana, sister Anna Haaksma. Days after celebrating her 80th birthday Anna went to her Heavenly home where there are no more burdens and she is complete once again. Anna was predeceased by her parents Klaas and Tina Pool, brothers Minne, Bill, Wietse, Hijlke and Jack; sisters-in-law Jean, Alice and Nellie; brother-in-law Jim Kanary; survived by her sister Rita Pool, and sister-in-law Willy Pool. The struggles of the last years, especially the last months, are now past. To the end her smile made everything worthwhile. Anna was diagnosed as having primary progressive aphasia in 2017 and in the months following her diagnosis she could speak less and less. This very cruel disease left Anna unable to speak for the past 3 years. But…Anna was so much more than this disease.
First and foremost Anna was a loving, always supportive mother and her children will testify to this, Tina & John, Alan, Michael & Hayley and Rita & Marcel. Each of her grandchildren brought special joy to her, Alex, Tianna & Christian; Ella, Benjamin & Scarlet; Hanna, Georgia & Hudson; Madison, Anneke & Sebastian.
Anna left the family farm to become a nurse. During her training she was recognized and given the Excellence in Surgical Nursing award. Her nursing career included time at the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital in the ER, Princess Margaret Hospital where she learned that no-one should ever be left in pain and for the most part, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. Anna was the most caring nurse and would comfort and soothe anyone. Her last nursing job was with the elderly; Anna excelled at it and loved her people. Her biggest pet peeve…bed sores! Her admonition: I better never ever have one.
Anna was central to the lives and growing up of her children, spending time in cold rinks watching figure skating and playing hockey. (She could get a little feisty if she thought the refs weren’t doing their job.) She was a momma bear, fierce in defending each of her children against any slight or fighting for anything that they wanted. There was no one more important than her children. With that ferocity she loved her grandchildren also, none of them will ever forget their Nana!
Anna was a natural (it seems) hostess! She loved being in her own home entertaining family and friends. Her excellent dinners, with the table over-laden; a baker of great skill (no one made carrot cake as good with double the icing, loved her Apple Dapple Cake, and lets not forget her date squares); always willing to share a drink and some goodies with anyone who would drop by. Her baking success was to double anything sweet that was called for in the recipe!
Another great trait of Anna’s is that she could hunt out any bargain and loved shopping at thrift and second hand stores. Her china cup & saucer collection is wonderfully extensive but for herself it was always a mug of coffee. A Tim’s large was good, when she wanted to watch her weight she changed from cream to milk (as if she ever had to worry). Meeting up with friends at Tim’s was one of her joys in later years, spending lots of time nursing that coffee. But…then she found out that she also liked McDonald’s coffee and it was cheaper there for seniors!
A cousin from Holland, younger by only a week, reconnected with Anna 30+ years after the family had immigrated to Canada and what a special joy that was for Anna. A 70th birthday celebration with Henny and the other Hennie was so special to her. All the evenings, whether here in Canada or in Holland, playing games and having a drink or two were wonderful times that Anna remembered with great fondness. All of her cousins, close to her in age, were greatly loved by her.
Friends were so important and she was completely loyal to each and every one. Her bosom buddies included childhood, nursing school, fellow nurses and former neighbours that she had known for years. The mother of one of her daughter’s friends became a loved companion and when she moved away, there was a big, empty spot. Travels with G were special treats.
Anna was her sister’s biggest champion but always Anna was the big sister, “just take my advice”. Rita was Anna’s biggest cheerleader but could only offer opinions, no advice! Regardless, there was no one that could ever come between them.
This has to finish…she’d be so annoyed that it is this long and so ?laudatory?, but that was our Anna…someone to celebrate; this woman who loved unconditionally and always found something good to say about anyone. Love was what she always wanted to share.
Just as Anna wanted, she lived with her daughter Rita, Marcel and kids in her last years where she was spoiled, lovingly cared for, and guess what…no bed sores!!! The last year also included Lily, a wonderful caregiver and one who cared for and was so special with Anna.
As Anna wished, cremation has taken place and there will be no funeral service.
To help researchers, including her wonderful neurologist, to find out more about her disease Anna’s brain has been donated for study.
To remember Anna…love everyone, be kind to each other and always put your family first. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to support a couple of programs that helped Anna and that she enjoyed being involved with in the years before covid-19:
Acclaim Health - Burlington - Adult Day Program or Victorian Order of Nurses - Hamilton, Respite Care for Seniors Program.
Anna also participated in and was supported by the Halton Aphasia Support Group.
Forever in our hearts, memories will keep us chuckling and Anna will never be forgotten! But Anna would say:
Don’t remember me with sadness,
Don’t remember me with tears,
Remember all the laughter
We’ve shared throughout the years.
Now I am contented
That my life it was worthwhile,
Knowing that I passed along the way
I made somebody smile.
When you are walking down the street
And you’ve got me on your mind,
I’m walking in your footsteps
Only half a step behind.
So please don’t be unhappy
Just because I’m out of sight,
Remember I am with you
Each morning, noon and night.
Anna Johanna Haaksma née Pool
January 14, 1943 to January 19, 2023
Born Drachtstercompagnie Friesland Netherlands
Passed Burlington Ontario Canada
Lived nearly all of her adult life in Oakville Ontario Canada