Remembering Mom: She was My World

I remember as a child, I was always scared of being alone as it was just the two of us.  I always said to her…”don’t ever leave me.”  She always promised that she’d be with me.

I was 20 years old when she died.

This week’s Remembering Mom post was written by a close friend of mine.  I hope you enjoy it.


Joyce Hylary Pitter

My mum and I having dinner at a restaurant in Paris, France.   I was 10 years old and this was such a memorable trip – getting to see the Eiffel Tower for the first time with her and doing what we loved – eating good food!



As a child, she was my world. I didn’t grow up with any siblings and she was the only parent in my life.  She meant everything to me.

This totally showed our life.  With no siblings, Mum always played with me…even in the tiny blow up pool!


My mum had a very kind and gentle nature. She was very soft-spoken and caring but inside a very strong and determined woman as she faced so many obstacles in her life.

From her late 20’s, she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis which took a toll on her body. In later years, this brought on several other ailments, but in spite of her weak body, she was the strongest person I knew.

I don’t know how she did it, raising a child and running a school all on her own.

I remember my Grandma and my Aunt telling me stories about my mum when she was a little girl and how she’d line up her dolls and pretend to teach them. She was born to be a teacher. 

She later became the principal of her school.  I remember watching her interact with the kids and how much she cared about each and every one of them. In the small island of Antigua where I grew up, so many people knew and loved my mum, and appreciated the positive impact that she had on her students.

When I was a teenager, she would work full days, come home to have dinner with me, and then head off to spend time with a couple of little boys who needed some care and support.  I’m honoured to say that my mum was that person. She was just amazing.

I remember us participating in a garage sale when I was around 17 and selling our items out of the trunk of her car.   The plan was to put the money we had made towards something that we needed.  We had so much fun and by afternoon, our plans had changed.  After the garage sale we took that money and treated ourselves to a fabulous meal at a restaurant instead!

My mum and I shared a love for good food.

We enjoyed going out to try different restaurants and I loved coming home from university to find that she had cooked one of my favourite meals. She was a great cook.

I often came home to spend weekends with her.  On one particular Sunday, I remember sitting and working on a puzzle of her favourite movie.  Sitting, chatting, eating and laughing the whole afternoon and enjoying the time with her.

Before I knew it, it was time to head back to school.  I jumped up to pack my things, while she continued with the puzzle.  When I came out to give goodbye hugs, Mum said to me, “Come on, just stay a bit longer and finish this with me…it’s almost done.” I did, even though it was late. I remember her being so happy.

When it was time to go, we hugged and I rushed out the door saying goodbye and see you soon.  She died two weeks later.

I’m so glad that I stayed to finish the puzzle that night.

I think of her every April 4th. She was only 46.  She had the prettiest green eyes.

There have been so many moments in my life that I have deeply missed her and wished she was by my side: special birthdays, my wedding day, the day I followed her path and became a teacher, the births of my 2 children, and many others.

Her love as a mother was the deepest and most genuine.  My one hope is that my boys will know this same love from me.

I loved how she made me feel.  I miss her so much.



Writer’s Note:  This piece was written by Joyce’s daughter, Nika.  Nika and I met around 10 years ago when we began teaching at the same school.  We have been friends ever since. She even made the trek to Northwestern Ontario to be in my wedding party.  Although I didn’t get to meet her mom, I’ve always thought that she was an incredible woman.  As a single mom, she left everyone she knew, family and friends in Antigua, so Nika could have a good education in Canada.  Naturally when I thought of someone to write about their mom, I immediately thought of Nika.


Thank you for writing about her, Nika.  You described her beautifully.  You’re an incredible mom to your boys.  She would be so proud of you.


Please take a moment to leave a comment or to click ‘like’ to let Nika know that you enjoyed her writing!  Thank you!

10 Replies to “Remembering Mom: She was My World”

    1. Nika, After reading this I cried. I cried because I can only imagine your pain having lost your mum, and with my recent medical crisis, my own boys nearly lost me. Just thinking about that, and Mikie’s family brings me to tears each time. It is never easy to lose a parent at any age. I thank God i was lucky, that I was able to return to my family.
      I never got to meet your mother but i have always heard wonderful stories from David about his aunt Joyce, especially the one where she made him eat oatmeal, because it was good for him! I feel as though i knew her based on his wonderful, and heartwarming stories. Nika, we are family, and I know the dedication and love you show to Vernon, Ethan and Noah. Love you girl!!! Love Joanna, David, Jacob and Dylan.

  1. Nika, there has never been a doubt in my mind of just how amazing your mom was- both as a person and a mom. How could there be- her daughter is an exceptional, caring, genuine person and a phenomenal mom- just like her! Your mom is proud of you Nika. Very few share the special relationship you both had.You are truly blessed😘 Much love, Geeta

  2. So beautifully written and brings back so many, many memories of my beautiful sister, Joyce. It would fill a novel or two to compile all the wonderful things Joyce did during her short life. I see so many of these traits in Nika and am such a proud Aunt and Godmother as I witness her compassion, her genuineness, devotion to Vernon and her two boys, Ethan and Noah, love of travel, cooking and fine dining …. not to be forgotten her island delights oxtail and stew peas. Nika is so very caring towards me and I love her so very much.
    Auntie D

  3. Reading this warmed my heart/ After knowing you, Nika, for all these years it was great to see another layer of your onion revealed. A beautiful, touching piece.

  4. Hi Nika,
    Thank you for sharing the story of you and your mom! Unfortunately I never had the chance to meet her but I definitely see her fruits on you. I was deeply touched.

  5. Nika this was true ly touching to me. Brought a few tears to my eyes. Aunt Joyce was one of the best aunts anyone could ask for. I too remmeber the fun puzzle games and learning how to spell the word missippi . It was so fun the way she taught me to spell it was like m I crooked letter crooked letter I humpback humpback letter I 🤗 I will remmeber The good times for ever sending you hugs and thank you for post
    Love David

  6. Hi Nika, reading this brought back many, many memories; indeed Aunt Joyce was a calm and special person, can just imagine her and Mikie catching up on old times and laughing at us. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  7. Dearest Nika,

    Your mom, my sister, was one of the dearest people. A quiet person with an inner strength. I often wondered how she managed to handle a Montessori School and raise a daughter at the same time. Seeing how you are with your boys reminds me so much of her and I know she would be extreamly proud of you.



  8. Dear Nika,
    I realize this was written more than a year ago so I hope that the replies are still being monitored. I will always cherish my memories of your mother (and the two of you together!) during my time teaching in Antigua. In some ways it was a difficult experience for me but your mother supported me in such a loving way throughout. I don’t think I’ve ever known a kinder person.

    I will also never forget the morning I received a phone call from you and learned that she had passed away. Such sadness for you, for her, and for those in the world that never got to know her.

    I found this post when I googled your name this morning….we are coming to Toronto in early November and I was wondering if you are still living there. If you get this, you can contact me at

    Much love,
    Jane Hanson Tafel

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