Anita Marie Covert passed away on January 14, 2021. She was born in Calgary on September 1, 1959 to Dale and Dorothy Goodner. Her ex-husband Blain Covert and their children Devon and Kelly mourn her passing. Anita celebrated her first grandchild Elliot, Kelly’s daughter, on January 11, 2021. She is also survived by older sister Shelan Beatty, her husband Bill, daughter Danna Stephens & husband Graham, and son Kyle Beatty. Numerous family and friends will miss her.
Seems a little silly to sit down and sum up a life on a page. Lofty as it is; one can't cage a soul in any number of words. Though there are some books that feel like it, for a moment at least, while you're lost within the pages. My mom loved to get lost in the pages. Live the vast internal worlds of her books for a time: On a lounger in the sun, with a cat by her side, crowded under a lamp, or stretched out in the tub with bubbles aplenty, surrounded by potted plants.
Plants filled my childhood home and her life in one way or another. Either the huge monstera that climbed the stairwell of our childhood home—and was home itself to our pet chameleon, Diego—or the roses she cared for in her garden every year. She worked on hands and knees, fingernails caked with dirt, rooting out weeds, pruning the lilacs or picking raspberries from bushes. I took after her, eating the choicest berries and collecting the rest for the family.
I once came home from school and shared with her my school unit on plants, while she pruned her roses. Young and naïve, I assumed this knowledge was novel to my mother and would help her gardening. She nodded along, feigning surprise at the newfound wealth of knowledge— “The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, you say?”
Always listening, never condescending, a graceful gaze from under her wide brim sun hot. Her cobalt blue gaze and knowing smile is not something I can easily contain on this page; it was always bright, yet sharp enough it could turn to a smirk in a moments notice, should she decide to be silly or sarcastic.
That look and that moment stands out to me as quintessentially Anita: soaking up the sun like she might have been at a Palm Springs Film Festival or on a jungle tour in Belize, or any one of the numerous places she traveled to; and working away in the dirt as she did in the D.R. and Mexico, where she built houses through Habitat for Humanity, alongside my father.
She loved to travel and worked hard at her time in the travel industry, and later on, teaching computers. When she came home, she enjoyed winding down with a movie—sometimes falling asleep from a long day’s work.
I like to focus on those memories of strength. The heart in her chest slowed with time, her physical strength faded with it. Though even in her final days she showed strength of spirit—some might call it stubbornness—with her refusal of walkers and insistence on living in a place where stairs were sometimes a battle.
A far cry from her agile times as a child, roving across Alberta due to her father’s Job for much of her youth, before settling in Calgary where she found a loving partner in my father. The two married and moved to Winnipeg where they had their first child, Kelly. Then the family bounced back to Calgary, where I was born.
Each day memories of my mom fall onto my heart like snow from the heavens. Sometimes the memories flurry around me with the cold reality that she's gone. I'm sure if you're reading this then the snow is falling around you as well, each snowflake a moment in time that you spent with her. I wish I could include each and every moment here on this page, but that’s a bit like trying to hold a snowflake in your hand. I urge you to hold it in your heart instead: all those times she danced like no one was watching, sang like no one was listening, and listened like you were the only person on earth.
Her passing at 61 was a surprise and she unfortunately never met her granddaughter who had been born days before. But little Elli will meet her grandmother in one form or another through those memories we keep in our heart. We can live out the virtues that we fondly remember in her, by caring for the new and beautiful members of our family. Just as she might have, we can sing them “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and wrap them up in all the love we can offer. In other words, protect and nourish them like the snow does for the flowers in my mother’s garden.
I love you, mom. I wish you could read this over and edit it like you did with all my writing.
**P.S. To those who are curious, we will hold a wake in the early spring for Anita at her garden. The hope is by that time restrictions will open up and we can share in a social celebration of her life. Email me your address at Covert.Devon@gmail.com if you care to take part and we will send a paper invitation (please place Anita in the subject line in case it ends up in my spam box). We will try to cater to as many as we can.
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