(Please read Daughter Theresa – Part I
Please read Daughter Theresa – Part II)
I could not imagine that Theresa had any resources or energy left with which to do anything further. “What did you do, Theresa?”
“The other day, I grabbed as much produce as possible off the shelves from my store and brought it all down to be stored in the basement here at the house. Then, the next morning, I grabbed the keys to the store and walked out of the house. I told myself that I’d give the keys to the first person I encountered.”
“Omigod, Theresa. Did you actually do it?”
“Yes, I did. I met one of the women from Atlin and I handed her the keys. I told her the store was hers. Free.”
“She must have been dumbstruck,” I said.
“She was speechless. I had to coax her to take the keys. I told her I’d sign the papers with her and help her get started. But now they can’t take my store away and they can’t take my house away. From now on, I’ll earn my keep by giving room and board to a couple of people. They can pay me in ways other than giving me money. They can go and pay bills before my name is even on record.”
“And another thing,” she added. “I am volunteering actively again with the Ambulance crew. I really need to give back. I’m not up to flying a plane for Med-Evac, but I sure can be on board as an attendant.”
“Theresa, that is fantastic”. I was amazed she was able to take on that responsibility so soon. In fact, she became the Unit Chief for the Ambulance Service in that same year, 1987.
Our busy lives did not provide us an opportunity to visit in person. When the School Board next met in Atlin, I was thrilled over plans for a long-awaited visit. Unfortunately, Theresa had to attend a Hearing that was held in another location. We had no choice but to keep in touch through telephone and Canada Post.
In November of 1988, my contract in the Stikine School District was finalized. Before I returned to the Coast, we spoke on the phone. Theresa said, “Amy, I like the way you write. I’m asking if you would please consider writing my story.”
“I’d love to, Theresa, but I know so little about your family or your history. I’d need to know lots more about your life and your sons. Tell you what, you get a tape recorder and start talking. Do it a bit at a time, but tell me the stuff you would like to see in your book.”
“Okay, I’ll start doing that,” she promised.
Later in 1988, when I was on the Coast, she phoned. Her voice warned of sad news. “I have a couple of things to tell you, Amy, and I’m not sure how well I can do this. First, you wanted to know the Insurance company’s decision. My god, they put me through enough hearings to drive anyone insane. But I won’t receive any money from them.” She paused. “But here’s why I really called. Dick died.” With that she broke down and, thankfully, would not hang up.
Eventually, she was able to talk. She spoke of her last few months with Dick. I remember the sadness in her voice when she said, “For a long time, the only way I’ve been able to comfort him was to hug him from behind. He couldn’t tolerate anyone being in his ‘air space’. He would panic. I missed his hugs so much.”
Towards the end of the conversation, the topic moved on to her sons and her life in general. She admitted she still had not recorded any details about her life. I said, “You know, Theresa, I didn’t ask you one really important thing about your story. What will be its title? ”
“Oh, that’s easy. Call it “Daughter Theresa”. We enjoyed sharing the memory of a softer time when, as two women breaking into a rich new friendship, we worked together in a blizzard, talking about Mother Teresa and preparing her beloved Beaver so she could fly home to her loved ones.
“When you’re ready and can do some recording, send me a tape,” I said. “Keep reading those “Daily Promises” and keep remembering that I love you.”
“I won’t forget. May the gods be with you”, she said.
I never received a recording. My friend, La Femme Fatale D’Ame of Northern Bush Pilots, Theresa Bond, was not done with death. This time she was the passenger. The plane hit a mountain and no one survived. The last communique broke my heart:
On May 4, 1990
In the Line of Duty
Chief Theresa Bond – Emergency Medical Assistant II
Theresa Bond, 42, was the Unit Chief at the Atlin station in northwestern British Columbia when she died in a plane crash en route to a Unit Chiefs’ meeting in Smithers. Theresa joined the BCAS in 1980 and became the Unit Chief in Atlin in 1987. Sadly, Theresa’s husband Dick died only 2 years earlier due to illness. She left three sons in their late teens and early 20’s, Brendan, Alexander, and Peter.
Postscript to Brendan, Alex and Peter: I did not have the opportunity or the pleasure of meeting you. When your mother spoke of you, I heard a mother full of love and respect for all your accomplishments and unfolding talents.
I have no photos of your mother and could find none on the Internet. She never mentioned any changes to her facial features following the accident on Dease Lake. Since there was no photograph accompanying the notice of her death, I suspect she did not allow one to be taken for the Ambulance Service. If you discover this article, and deem it worthy of your family’s acceptance, I would be delighted to add a photo of your choice to its contents.
While it is only hearsay, and I add this cautiously since the North holds many tales, an ex-Northerner told me that your mother did enter into a relationship with an artist in Atlin during the last year or so of her life. Having met Dick Bond and knowing the incredible personality of this man, I have no doubt he would approve heart and soul. I can only hope you did, too.
As a respectful and loving friend of your mother, I confess a deep wish for her: Out of all the despair, the grief, the struggles and the soul wrenching administrative hassles that your mother had to undergo, may she have experienced a love that rose from the ashes of tragedy and filled her final days beyond measure. May she have had one last opportunity to love deeply as a woman of worth and deep value.
( ****Addendum: In May of 2015, Theresa was honoured for her service as a Paramedic in our Province: https://souldipper.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/for-theresa-bond-the-unveiling-of-a-memorial/)
(Photos available at: Theresa Bond – Bush Pilot of the North)
This made me weep.
I do hope the boys got to read this.
It’s been quite a struggle for me, Cin. Nothing like editing through tears.
I’m glad you, as a mother, said that about the boys. I tried to put myself in their shoes to get a feel for how it would affect me. When her name was googled before, only the ambulance notice appeared. Now my blog comes up so I really want love and respect to be utmost and predominant.
Hello again. Two questions for you. Is it possible to put me in touch with Amy, the author who wrote about Theresa giving away the store
I am planning a final research trip to Vancouver and Atlin in the near future, and would love to meet Amy, and any other contributor to your blog
Hope you can help
Bendan, I will respond to your email.
Hi there Souldipper
I am getting ready to visit Vancouver and Atlin to finalize input to Theresa Bond biography
I’d love to meet Amy face to face to interview her
Ditto Norman Swanson’s son
Can you see if they are available to meet. Pleasebfeel free vto give them my email address if that helps
If any commenter would like to contact Mr. Lillis, please do so, as he requests, at email@example.com.
Such a sad but wonderful biography of this time in her life…you have presented a warm and sensitive story. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Thank you, Charles. I’m looking forward to my meditation with my Guides. Though unplanned, I’m glad that this has been shared on the September Anniversary of her survival.
Pingback: Daughter Theresa – The Guides Respond « Soul Dipper
I feel that I just lost a friend. Someone I loved and still can love through you. Thanks for this addition to our World. I don’t think I will ever forget someone like your Theresa.
Michael J. – this is fantastic. The fact that you can feel love towards this woman is such a gift. Thank you.
Beautifully written. I do hope her boys somehow come across your touching account on their mother. Think it would be something special for them too.
Thank you, Alannah. I’ve posted notice of this story on a Face Book Page that has many Northern subscribers. If it’s meant to be, the word will get to the boys. I appreciate your comment because as I wrote it, I kept putting myself in the sons’ shoes: How would I feel about an ‘unknown’ friend of my mother suddenly writing about my mother like this?
Well, this has left me breathless. An inspired account of an inspiring woman…”Daughter Teresa.”
If her sons do find this … hope … then I would think they would feel it’s a thing to be treasured…
Something of a vindication too … they must feel some anger with the community, insurance company, and the families who sued. This story might help them find strength and forgiveness … as though she were here to guide, direct, and inspire …
Thanks for posting this story … Glad I came in when I could read all three at once.
Jamie, thanks so much for your comment. Receiving responses like yours, I am pleased that this is now “out there” for them. And many blessings to you, as well. I know it is no coincidence that I have found your very deep and inspirational writings.
I salute your courage in telling this story, Amy, through the inevitable tears. It’s surely a blessing to wrap such a tragic tale ultimately in love. My thoughts too, go out to Theresa’s sons. Lots of love to all of you, xxxx
Thank you, Naomi. While I was writing, I remembered marveling over Theresa taking off in her plane, all alone, flying for hours over nothing but the wilderness of the North. She told me that one of the things a bush pilot does consistently is look for places one could land if necessary. I used to do that as a passenger. When I found places that looked good to me, the pilot would point out that they were sloughs, bogs or other impossible landing conditions!
Perhaps Theresa’s sons will receive your message.
I read your wonderful story. I too knew Theresa and all of the days you spoke of that that wonderful lady went threw she gave me the same book.
Oh, Cynthia, thank you for speaking up! To honour your privacy, I am going to contact you at your email (which does not appear for others – only me.)
Dear Souldipper and all bloggers
Theresa Bond was my sister, and I was fascinated to learn of your blog. Thank you all for your contributions.
I am writing a book on Theresa’s life. In fact, it was my editor who alerted me to your blogs.
We are nering the end of this manuscript, and I would love to hear further from any of you
Brendan, how fabulous to receive your comment! I will respond to your email. Thank you so much.
Amy, As they say in Journalism, “this story has legs.” Just let us read it day by day, week by week.
You are so very sweet for saying this, Michael J. It’s been a doldrum day and this offered a bright spot!
Brendan, my name is dave deines and I am the Provincial Vice President for the Ambulance Paramedics of BC. We have almost completed a memorial wall at our office in Vancouver. I have been trying to find a picture of your sister for a while with no luck. Are you able to provide us with a hi-res picture of Theresa and a brief write up of her time as a paramedic in Atlin?
Any assistance that you could provide would be appriciated.
Provincial Vice President
Ambulance Paramedics of BC
Dave, I will post your comment here on Soul Dipper which is my personal blog. In case Brendan did not request notification of subsequent comments, I will cut and paste your note in a forward to Brendan. I am not at liberty to pass on his email since I do not have his permission to do so.
I am delighted that my article about Theresa Bond may help with the completion of the Memorial Wall. A deep and sincere thank you for all the fantastic service you and your colleagues provide for us.
Very well written.
Thank you for sharing.
Thankfully, because of this blog, Theresa’s brother has contacted me. Oddly enough, he is just finishing a book on Theresa’s life story – which I will devour. Plus the BC Ambulance Service is putting up a memorial wall in Vancouver for those people who have died in service. I was able to connect them with Theresa’s brother because they had no photo of her.
Hi i have always wanted to know something of the woman that died beside my father, My Dad was the pilot flying that day, I do want to simply say there were many families hurt that day. I dont know the name of the boy that was on the aircraft that day but i understand he was only four years old. I was just a 16 year old kid and had not seen my dad in a few years. I sure hope the years have gone well for all of Theresas friends and family, God bless you all
Thank you, Rocky, for taking the time to introduce yourself. I really appreciate the sensitivity of your comment about all who were hurt that day. A tragedy such as that accident would have repercussions that reverberate over many lifetimes. I’m sorry you had to lose your father. Even though you may not have seen him for years, at least you knew he existed. To lose that reassurance would be devastating. I sincerely hope you have been able to maintain contact with your father’s family.
Hopefully Theresa’s family will see your comment, Rocky, about your hope for them. And I would like to extend that to you. My heart goes out to you in a very big way.
Thanks for visiting and many blessings to you and all you love.
Matthew wrote the following comment on my Soul Dipper Facebook Page. I asked him to add his comment here:
” Matthew Edward Rollison
Jun 27th, 4:35pm
hello , this is so strange. i just finished reading atlins anguish by brendan lillis. and found your blog shortly after, trying to find pics of the plane . you see i am an ex atlinite. im 38 right now. back in 79 my grandparents bought the gas station in town and sold to the sands brotheres in 81 i believe. at that time we lived in whitehorse, but would visit my grandma and grandpa ted and elizabeth aka( betty) kent, most weekends. they lived at the old post office where the old town clock stands just behind the atlin inn. they built a beautiful house out by surprise lake . it has a red roof ya cant miss it. anyways we moved to atlin in 83 i think , we were only there for a year i think. i was entering into grade 3 at the then brand new school. I befriended peter hunt but he was a year older and in grade 4 as we had a split class. i remember having sleepovers at his moms a few times in the old trailer. dick was never around when i was there. and actually my dad worked for dick for a a short time and i am going to jog his memory for details on what he remembers of those times. i dont know if peter or alex would remember me. i met alex once in 83 as for some reason he didnt live in town full time, i presume he stayed with his dad, but he was very friendly to me , i remember he has a project to build a model rocket that had a camera and take pictures from the air when launched. anyway we set it up on the corner of pearl street , there was me ,peter, alex, and some other kid i cant remember. we set up for launch. and i dont know if this was done on purpose or by accident but a cessna float plane was taking off from the lake and flewparallel with pearl st, and was directly overhead as alex launched the rocket. we missed the belly of that plane by inches, i was a little scared but we all laughed. anyway i have to go , would be happy to share my memories, that place has always been special to me and the sight of that orange beaver taking off daily,stuck in my mind. it also spurred me on to getting my own pilots licence. and that is still my favorite aircraft. take care:)”
Here’s Matthew’s permission for me to add this:
“Matthew Edward Rollison
Jun 28th, 6:10pm
I don’t mind at all, although I’d like to maybe write a second draft with some more detail as I was in a bit of a rush. I’ll try and get some time this weekend, but if you don’t hear from me by the4th of July, go ahead and print what’s there. Glad to help :)”
I believe I have pictures of the actual crash site the RCMP gave me, or rather gave my uncle who then passed them to me many years later