With broken hearts, we regret to announce the sudden passing of our beautiful mother, Pauline Aucoin. On June 14th, 2020 at the age of 64, Pauline passed away at the New Waterford hospital. Proud mother to Robert, Denise, Kimberly, and Eric - her four children were the light of her life. She sometimes called us simply to say, "I just wanted to tell you I love you today." All she wanted out of life was for her babies to be happy and healthy. She faced many hardships in her life, yet her love of life is what she was known for. Time spent with family filled her heart with so much joy that she couldn't help but exclaim, "I love my life!" after every visit.
Pauline was born and raised in New Waterford, to Alexander and Martha (Currie) Gillis. She was the eighth born, of their dozen. Growing up in a large family, she was surrounded by love. They helped take care of each other then, and continue to do so today. Family gatherings were an important part of her life. She, her siblings, and their families gathered at Nanny Gillis' house every Sunday after church. They laughed and told stories, while preparing food together. Everyone looked forward to summer, when company visited from Ontario. Pauline was famous for homemade pizza she spent all afternoon making. When their Mother passed away two years ago, those traditions changed. Now they host "sister parties", and gather for an evening of snacks, drinks, and laughs.
Mom volunteered with Brownies as "Tawny Owl" to spend time with her daughters. She enjoyed playing pool and bowling over the years, and playing Wednesday night darts at the Legion. She was easy to love, as her infectious smile and genuine kindness made people feel happy and uplifted. A friend to all, she loved to share whatever she had. She worked as a Bartender and was good to her patrons. She always had snacks, gum, Band-Aids, Rolaids, Tylenol, Kleenex; you name it... in her purse whenever they needed anything.
In addition to her years worked at JT's with her 'purse of plenty', Mom also worked at The House of Plenty convenience store. Customers were greeted with her welcoming smile and she was known for being friendly to everyone. She was happy to be working again, with her old Kmart co-workers. Like many teens in large, hardworking families, Mom made the decision to leave Breton Education Centre for work at Kmart with her best friends, Lois Gillis (Treige) and Joanne Rigby (Anderson). We were so proud of her, when many years later she completed her GED. She was one of the smartest people we know. We've never asked her to do something that she couldn't do.
Mom was a "Jack of all Trades". She could build or fix anything, which earned her the nickname, "MacGyver". She built barns, laid flooring, and chopped wood. She was not afraid to get her hands dirty, often had a bruised nail from a bang with a hammer, or a sore back from painting overhead on a ladder. We grew up on home cooked meals and desert. Even cleaning on Saturday mornings was fun when Mom cranked the stereo and we listened to her favorite oldies. She also taught her girls how to sew and bake, and our Halloween costumes and birthday cakes were always homemade.
In 1993, Mom became a single mother of four children, aged 4-16. She took her own advice and decided to "Trust God". When she no longer had a vehicle, we walked or biked together for our Sunday visits. She continued to take us to church and taxi home when it rained. She taught us to pray the rosary together, and as a family, we were strong. Our family bond grew so much stronger that year, when we realized that she had to be both Mom and Dad. Those years couldn't have been easy for her, but she made sure that we never went without.
In 2006 she met the love of her life, Dave Carew, a handsome out-of-towner, who wanted to spoil her. Though Mom was very independent and self-reliant, she agreed to a date. They spent many happy years together. Even in his death, Dave made sure she was looked after, and I'm sure they enjoyed a dance in Heaven this week when she arrived.
Her favorite thing to do was have her grandchildren for sleepovers. Because there were so many at once, we used to worry. Mom always told us, "I'm not afraid of them!", and it turns out, the kids were always so well behaved for her. That could be because she let them do all of the things that their own parents wouldn't let them do! Like hammering nails, painting, starting bon fires, sleeping in tents, making candles out of melted crayons, giving her makeovers, and baking. When we picked them up the next day, she always had a list of stories and would beam while telling us about their adventures. She thanked us for letting her have them, asked what she did to deserve all of this, and said "This is just what I needed. I love my life!"
Pauline is survived by her four children, Robert Aucoin, Glace Bay; Denise (Brian) McLeod, Sydney; Kimberly (Jason) Hennessy, Sydney; and Eric (Michelle) Aucoin; Sydney. She didn't think she could love anything more, until she met her grandchildren, Katelyn Hennessy, Ryan Aucoin, Dominic McLeod, Abbey Hennessy, Maria McLeod, and Burke Aucoin. All six arrived within a two year span, and she loved to brag about being blessed.
She is survived by her siblings, Mary Catherine (Paul) Currie, New Waterford; Sandy (Janice) Gillis, Ontario; Patsy (Eric) Sutherland, Victoria Mines; Laurie Gillis, New Waterford; Duncan (Lynne) Gillis, New Waterford; Josie (Blair) Locke, New Victoria; Susie (Paul) Hines, New Waterford; Jeannie (Jamie) Stevens, New Waterford; and Marcie (Joey) Williams, New Waterford. Also surviving are Dave's children Rebalee (Dalton and Jayda), Dave, and Darcy; her sister-in-law Edna Aucoin; good friends Kim and Doreen Leforte; as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews. She is also survived by Moo, a tiny Shih-Tzu pup she adopted last year. Though survived by Moo, it was Moo helped her to survive the Covid-19 social distancing restrictions. This tiny pup gave her the love and companionship she desperately needed at a time when her family was unable to visit.
In addition to her parents Alec and Martha, Pauline was predeceased by her partner, Dave Carew (and soon after, their Shih-Tzu, Gizmo); her sister and brother-in-law Lydia (Donnie) MacLeod; brother Bobby Gillis; sister and brother-in-law Jenny (Pat) Usher; and her Mother-in-Law, "Nanny Aucoin". She was also predeceased by many aunts and uncles, and special grand niece and grand nephew.
Cremation has taken place, under the direction of Forest Haven Memorial Gardens. Due to restrictions and social distancing, we are unable to celebrate her blessed life with a funeral.
We would like to thank the staff of the New Waterford hospital for providing exceptional care. Her illness presented and progressed rapidly. Staff worked efficiently, with patience and tolerance, as they went above and beyond to ensure she had everything she needed in her final days. For that, we will be forever grateful.
"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."
Online condolences can be made at www.foresthaven.ca