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Community will be missed



As I read about the sad demise of Del Rio’s restaurant, I was reminded that I was long overdue to send this note of thanks to not only that fine establishment, but all the businesses of Ocean Park and beyond.

Three years ago this week, our 88-year-old dad died suddenly, leaving his wife of 63 years on her own in her Ocean Park subdivision. Despite being legally blind, reliant on tube feeding, hard of hearing, and breathing-compromised, our dear mum was determined to stay in her own home.

My four brothers, sisters-in-law, and I arranged home care for her, but also greatly increased the frequency of our visits to her from Coquitlam, Chilliwack, Kamloops, Williams Lake, and Melbourne, Australia.

My mum lived a quiet life in her home through the worst of the pandemic until she suffered a fall last summer, which led to hospital visits, 24-hour home care, much more frequent stays by her grown children and in-laws, and her eventual passing after seven weeks of crisis.

While we can thank Harmony Health Care and their devoted caregivers for keeping our mum fed and cared for, and the Fraser Valley and Surrey library systems for keeping her in audiobooks, the rest of us turned to the community for support.

Pasta is my go-to under stress, so there were many take-out orders from Del Rios during our ordeal. We were frequent patrons of Morrison’s Café, the Ocean Park Pub, the local Starbucks, the Ocean Park Safeway and the liquor store. We also made occasional forays down to Cabin in Crescent Beach and the restaurants along the White Rock strip.

What I noticed during my many solo meals and trips through the shops was the care that this community showed to its elders. Regulars were known by their name at Starbucks. The archetypal little old ladies were welcomed at Morrison’s even if seated alone, and treated solicitously and not hurried out. Servers at the pub and the restaurant were patient with the hard-of-hearing and those slow to find their debit cards. Singles were welcome everywhere. The lottery kiosk lady knew her daily customers and joked with them.

Just as the community, unaware of our suffering, enveloped my family and I with love during our times of stress and sorrow, they took care of their ‘regulars’ every day.

My dear mum’s house is for sale now and I will not venture your way very often anymore, but my family enjoyed 33 years of visiting our parents in their chosen retirement neighbourhood of Ocean Park, and we thank you for your hospitality.

Anne Russell, Chilliwack