Elaine Margaret Bennett passed away the morning of Saturday, January 21st, 2023, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in North York, Ontario. She was 75 years old.
Elaine was born on June 22, 1947, in Flat Bay, Newfoundland, to parents Marjorie (Hahn) and Cornelius Bennett. Elaine was one of six children. She is predeceased by Cavell Bennett, Ivy Bennett, and Lloyd Bennett. She will be greatly missed by her siblings, Lockie Bennett of Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Diane Bennett of North York, Ontario.
Elaine grew up in Flat Bay, Newfoundland until her late teens when she moved to Ontario to take care of a relative needing support. She returned to Stephenville, Newfoundland and continued her education. This was where she met Maurice Harnett. Throughout their marriage they travelled from Newfoundland to Ontario to British Columbia and back again over the years.
Elaine married Maurice in 1968 and they had two children together. Kyla Marie, born in 1969 in Gander Newfoundland and Alana Elizabeth born in 1973 in Mississauga, Ontario. They settled in Peterborough, Ontario from 1979 onwards. However, their marriage did not last and they were divorced in 1984. Elaine remained in Ontario for a few years and then moved back to Flat Bay. Her Dad (Cornelius) purchased a little house for her in Flat Bay, right down the road from her childhood home. Kyla and Alana have wonderful memories of spending their summer breaks in Flat Bay. A few years later, Elaine decided to return to Ontario and moved to Oshawa where she lived until 2007.
Kyla is married to Scott Shuert and their daughter is Devon Shuert. They reside in Calgary, Alberta and Alana married Tom Post and their children are Quinn and Emma Post and they reside in Guelph, Ontario. Elaine loved her grandchildren and was very proud of who they are as people and their accomplishments. She only had kind and supportive words for each of them.
Elaine’s work life was in the service industry. She worked as a house cleaner, at the Holiday Inn, as a housekeeper and in customer service for Zellers, where she ended full-time work life. Elaine relocated to Corner Brook, Newfoundland in 2007. She was tired of the “hustle and bustle” of Ontario life and working in retail. She packed up her life in Oshawa, loaded up her brother Lloyd Bennett’s truck and they drove home. The years that Elaine had in Corner Brook were good years, even though she missed her children, grandchildren, and siblings greatly.
Elaine loved Newfoundland and all its beauty as it was her home. She often talked about spending time watching the sea and the comfort this brought her. Mom settled in Corner Brook and was able to keep busy with part time work at State of the Arts Gallery, owned by Chris Bennett, her nephew. (Son of Ivy Bennett). Mom spoke often about her special relationship with Chris and how he was like a son to her. Chris always made Mom laugh and helped her to stay positive. Mom had many close and meaningful friends in Corner Brook that she spoke often of. Mom loved being able to see her cousins (The Bennett clan) who all resided in Flat Bay and the surrounding areas. There were many times of shared love and laughter amongst them.
Mom and her sister Diane Bennett were very close and were big supports for one another. Mom talked about the importance of this relationship, and she was always grateful to have Diane’s unwavering support and loved the time they spent together. Mom also talked about her appreciation of the unconditional support of Diane’s husband, Tony. She loved spending time with Diane, Tony, and their family.
Mom was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor in the spring of 2021, right in the middle of COVID lockdowns, isolations, and strict travel requirements. She had her first surgery in St. John’s, Newfoundland, followed up with radiation and chemotherapy. She came through the surgery and treatments with amazing strength and healed quickly. She was fortunate to have minimal impairments after the surgery. For the following 18 months Mom focused on living her life to the fullest with a positive attitude and hope for her future. Kyla and I were able to share in this with her and both felt that these were some of the best months for her. Mom always believed in being positive, being kind to yourself and others and trusting that the hard times will pass. She put these values into practice every day, even while dealing with cancer treatments and a terminal illness. Mom never complained, even though we knew she had the spectrum of feelings going on inside. Mom was a strong, determined, and independent woman.
In October 2022 her glioblastoma tumor had grown, and it was recommended that it be removed. Mom made the difficult decision to undergo brain surgery in hopes of prolonging her time with us. Mom made it through the surgery and with the support of Aunt Diane (Diane Bennett), she slowly recuperated at home. She travelled to Ontario to continue her healing to stay with Aunt Diane in late November.
Mom found the recuperation from this surgery to be difficult and she experienced more side effects that were hard for her to cope with. Between November 27th and December 11, 2022, Mom’s mobility and speech deteriorated rapidly. She had a serious fall on December 11th, breaking her hip. She was admitted to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center and underwent hip replacement surgery. Mom’s condition had deteriorated to the point that she was unable to leave the hospital.
With the support of the Oncologist, who assessed Mom’s cancer prognosis we made the decision to have her moved to palliative care. Sunnybrook has an exceptional palliative care unit. Mom was made comfortable and carefully monitored. She continued to decline until it was her time to go. None of us wanted her to linger in the state she was in. Being unable to walk, move around or talk was very hard for her and hard for us to watch. We are sad she is gone, but find comfort in her being free from the confines of this disease.
As Kyla, Aunt Diane and I sat and watched over Mom, we were able to tell her over and over how much she was loved, how many of her family and friends were sharing their thoughts and prayers for her healing and how important she was in all our lives. I believe Mom understood this. She was so sad to be leaving us all.
As were Mom’s wishes, she did not want to have a traditional funeral. She had requested to be cremated and her ashes to be scattered at Sandy Point, Flat Bay, Newfoundland. This will be a celebration of her life, with the date yet to be determined. As you go about your day-to-day life, take a moment to say a prayer or raise a glass to celebrate Elaine Bennett and a life well-lived. She was very much loved and will be missed.
Kyla and I want to thank Diane Bennett and Chris Bennett and their spouses for their unwavering support of Mom when she became sick. Each of you gave so much of your time, and energy to help Mom when she needed it most. We could not have managed everything without you. It gave Mom great comfort to know that you were there for her, and she was so very thankful to have you in her life.
We want to offer our sincere thanks and recognition of the exceptional work of the staff and Doctors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. In particular, the Nursing staff of Unit K1C; Palliative Care Specialist, Dr. Rahim Abdulhussein; Social Worker, Danielle Takahashi; Oncologist, Dr. Sten Myrekaug along with the Orthopedic and Neurology departments. You all provided Mom with kind, compassionate and expert care that brought great comfort to our family. Thank you.
In lieu of flowers, we request that donations in memory of Elaine Bennett be directed to "The Palliative Care Unit," in care of The Sunnybrook Foundation , 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4N 3M5. 416-480-4483
Rest in peace Mom.