Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A tribute to Hilda Gregory

Hilda Gregory, the former principal for the Vancouver Oral Centre for Deaf Children (now known as Children's Hearing and Speech Centre of BC), recently passed away. Hilda is a 1998 Order of BC recipient, as well as a 1999 Order of Canada recipient. She also volunteered countless hours at Christ Church Cathedral and at Jubilee House. Not only is she a tireless advocate for those that require extra assistance, she is a remarkable lady who has been a part of my childhood and adult life.

Below is an open letter of thanks that I hope will inspire others to reflect on those that have had a meaningful impact on their lives. After all, we cannot get through life all by ourselves.

Dear Miss Gregory,
I am thankful for you.

Words cannot express how my heart feels right at this moment. I feel a sense of bittersweetness. The bitter part being that you are gone. The sweet part being that you've left behind a legacy that will continue on for many generations to come.

I consider myself one of your children, even though we're not related by blood. Of the people that I've come across in my life, next to my parents, my husband and daughter, you've had a huge impact on me. You gave me the gift of speech, when others doubted I could speak. You gave me the gift of determination, when teaching me how to speak. You gave me the gift of hope, when I learned how to speak. You gave me a future, one that continues through my 1-year old daughter, who is now learning how to speak because mama can talk to her.

In essence, you've been a beacon of hope for my family and many other families who have experienced your wisdom, your eloquent way with words, and your hard working heart.
I'll never forget thinking as a little child that Miss Gregory had a very big nose, and the blondest, straightest hair I've ever seen. I thought all angels looked like you.

I'll never forget Miss Gregory coming out to my University graduation party and giving us all one of the most beautiful speeches I've ever heard. She not only saw me in my childhood, but followed me to my adult life - even sending a silver brush and comb for my newborn daughter!

I'll never forget the last time I saw you. You were walking down Helmcken street, heading to Jubilee House. You introduced me to the staff there, and told them that I was a former pupil - but to be honest with you, I didn't feel like a pupil, I felt like I was in the presence of someone who possessed greatness through humility. (I hope that makes sense, it seems to make sense in my head somehow...).

Miss Gregory, I am thankful, thankful for you.


With Miss Gregory at my 2009 Convocation
Contributions or Donations in Miss Gregory's memory can be sent to the Hilda Gregory Fund, at her request.

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