Elizabeth Chrapko Honored as Special Mom

May 14, 2006

Lots of farm moms are up all hours of the day, multi-tasking, but my Mom also did a lot of community stuff -- she championed wound-therapy alternatives and was a key motivator for the establishment of a local Alzheimer's home -- and also worked part-time as a registered nurse. Growing up, my memory of her is not of a "working" mom but of an "overworking" mom.


It was important that we all gather around the kitchen table and eat together whenever possible. In keeping with her view of the world beyond the farm gate, Mom would always have CBC Radio playing. Before the Internet, it was one of the few portals our remote farm had to get a view of things happening in the province, the country and the world.


My appreciation of life in the world around us came from her influence.

Mom was the first in her family to go to university, and she believed in the value of education. Even if you were of non-Anglo Saxon stock and even if you were a farmer and even if you were poor, with an education, you could do well out in the bigger world.

I am now back in Edmonton after running three different successful businesses, one of which set some Canadian financial records. My brother and sister have been on most of this journey with me, thanks to an upbringing that stressed co-operation and family values.


One of the lasting things I learned from Mom is to "turn the other cheek," and "leave the world better than you found it" is also noble, but the world is a tough place. The way I've resolved it is to maintain that same bedrock that we learned growing up on the farm, but then to try and examine in others whether or not they're coming from the same place, whether or not they had a mom like mine, basically.


My mother was like a rock and a confidante, a quiet giant, a gentle strong person. She was there without being in your face.


I'm trying to be an enlightened 21st- century father of a daughter, and you read about all this angst that goes with being a kid and raising a kid, and there was none of that with respect to Mom.


My Mom has a quiet dignity and elegance that make an impression on strangers who meet her for the first time. Modesty aside, I hope I can say I got that from her, and all of us did. I know we'll cherish it and pass it on to our kids.


Evan Chrapko, 40, is the eldest son of Lyz Chrapko. He has two sisters, Tonia and Xina and a brother, Shane. He named his three-and-a-half-month-old daughter Elissa, a Ukrainian variation of his mother's name.

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