Linda Pearl Mary Birchard
Obituary for Linda Pearl Mary Birchard
Linda Birchard – April 22, 2020
Linda Pearl Mary Birchard has left on her final road trip. She’s hopped into her yellow VW convertible “punch buggy” and has journeyed onward, where there were many anxiously awaiting her arrival.
Born in Estevan to Russell and Mary (Gorgichuk) Birchard, Linda lived most of her life in her beloved Swift Current, SK, with stints in Richmond BC, Winnipeg MN, Saskatoon and Regina SK, Lethbridge AB, and for the past four years living 182 steps away from her cherished duo, Kara and Catheryn, in Halifax NS.
Linda spent most of her professional life as a Court Reporter and Judicial Officer within the Province of Saskatchewan court system taking part in preliminary hearings and multiple jury trials. She also worked with both the district court and Queen’s Bench, involved in coroner’s inquests, and examinations for discovery. Following her retirement, she lent her willing ear and loving heart to those who called the suicide prevention line, and worked at the local women’s shelter as well, becoming a surrogate mother and grandmother to many.
It was her personal life, though, that truly defined her. She leaves behind her greatest pride and joy: her three children Ron, Michael, and Kara Erdahl. A single mother in the 70s working full-time, Linda created a warm home for her kids. There was always a baked good to be had (or stolen) and their friends were always welcomed; in fact, the majority of them still call her ‘mom’. She found the time and money to enroll her sons and daughter into activities, teams and clubs – and did a lot of driving to get them where they needed to be, cheering and beaming with pride from the audience or stands.
Linda loved to drive. Road trips with the kids were common – whether to the best burger place (Heidi’s) or off to various spots in Saskatchewan to visit much-loved extended family. Trips always included lots of singing, and usually a stop for fries somewhere. Once her children were grown, the trips continued as she explored other parts of Canada and the U.S.
She was an excellent listener with a compassionate heart, a caring communicator willing to share wise advice to those who asked, and always rooted for the underdog, never judging as she believed that you never know a stranger’s story. Her love of animals was evident to those who knew her. She provided a loving home for many treasured pets over the years, and right to the end, she’d talk about the songbirds in “her” tree out her window singing to her. Linda’s spiritual connection to nature was strong and she was ever amazed by it, taking joy in the ocean waves during a storm, swaying trees, and her favourite: large rocks. She loved her singing bowl, the multiple angels in her space, and had a story about each sentimental piece she owned.
Linda lit up a room when she entered. She had a great laugh, and a mischievous side that contributed to her ready smile and twinkle in her eye. She wasn’t afraid to be silly, loved to just have fun, and had a great sense of humour. She was always celebrating the achievements of others, and never forgot birthdays and anniversaries. She changed lives just by being herself and attracted kind people while doing so. She used her crochet talents to make lap blankets for seniors and for “broken-hearted animals waiting for their forever home” at the shelters, and cross-stitched memorable pieces for many.
She had been a long-time supporter of dying with dignity. Because of this, when she realized that her chronic kidney failure was impacting her quality of life, she arranged for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) and chose Earth Day as her time to pass over. It was very important to her that everyone knew that she was not afraid in the least – in fact, was excited about this next journey. Most importantly, she wanted everyone to know that she felt deeply grateful for having the freedom to make this choice.
She will be profoundly missed by her daughter Kara Erdahl, sons Ron Erdahl and Michael Erdahl, granddaughters Ashley Hibbert, Stefani Forgey, and Ryann Erdahl, sister Elaine Harrison, cousin/“sister” Jeannie Gorgichuk, and scores of family and friends.
Special thanks to Catheryn Hodgson for all your love, joy, and kindness. The bond between you and Mom was extraordinary. To Leslie Hennig for being another daughter to Mom all these years. To special friend/caregiver Eleanor Young for giving her the freedom to stay in her own home. To Dr. Gubitz of MAID for making her last moments peaceful.
Thank you to all who reached out to Mom. Your cards, flowers, messages, calls, prayers, and visits meant the world to her and brought her so much joy.
Linda Birchard donated her brain to science, and has been cremated. She has asked Kara and Catheryn to scatter her ashes at her favourite places in Nova Scotia, and to bring her home to Saskatchewan as well. There will be a celebration of Linda’s life in 2021 in Swift Current.
Linda has requested that donations be made in her memory to your local shelter for women, men or animals.
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