Miriam MacDonald continues to touch many lives.
In honour of the ‘gifts’ she shared, her family recently dedicated a bench on the front lawn of L’Arche Antigonish Hope House.
“She is so special for us, and so many people, so we wanted to do something to remember her,” Lisa Tramble said of the “special” aunt, who shared her infectious smile and warmth with so many people.
The stone bench – crafted by artisan Joe Arsenault – is nestled on the front lawn of the Hawthorne Street residence, where she passed away in 2011 at the age of 68.
“She always called people ‘big shot,’” Tramble said, noting that phrased is etched on the bench.
She added, with a laugh, the family now describes MacDonald as their “big shot in heaven.”
That ‘big shot in heaven’ was an original member of the Activity Centre, located in the former St. Ninian Street School, before making the move to the Antigonish CACL workshop, on Kirk Street, where she became a mainstay.
With her move to Hope House, MacDonald continued in programs, such as Corner Stone.
An avid skater, she also excelled – and medalled – in many Special Olympics, including making a trip to nationals in Regina with Team Nova Scotia.
With her angelic singing voice, MacDonald helped launch several Games’ competition with stirring renditions of O’ Canada. She was also a long-time member of the St. Ninian Cathedral senior choir.
Community leader Beth Wolters said MacDonald “brought a lot of fun” to the L’Arche community, noting her many “gifts,” including that aforementioned voice.
“Miriam always wanted things to be beautiful,” Wolters said.
She noted MacDonald’s love for painting nails and make-up.
“Miriam always had a story to tell,” Wolters said, noting her love for sharing a cup of tea and a visit.
Her bench offers that same sort of invitation – one offered not only by MacDonald, but also the L’Arche Antigonish community – friendship and welcome.
Along with ‘big shot,’ the bench recognizes her love of Special Olympics and music.
“I drove by the other day and there was someone sitting on it,” Wolters said, which, she added, reflects the community nature of the seat, one also conveyed by its public location.
“We wanted to be able to share it with others, and show how grateful we are to the community and the people who support us,” she added, describing its location as “such a beautiful spot.”
“It has such a beautiful view down Brookland Street – something Miriam would have loved so much,” she said.
Family and friends shared in a celebration after the dedication (Nov. 12) at Hope House.
“She would have loved it,” Tramble said.