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‘Auntie Sylvia’ could well cook

Sylvia Allen died on April 14, 2022, at the age of 102. The funeral Mass was held May 17 at the Santa Rosa RC Church, Arima. This tribute was written by Guido, her eldest nephew, who resides in Canada.

Permit me to reminisce just a little bit on the remarkable life that Auntie Sylvia enjoyed, one that was blessed by the Almighty along the way. Her heritage, and that of her siblings, was shaped by her mother and my aunt. My aunt was one who loved to share her food and her many homemade healing ointments and oils, all products of her garden to which she tended well into her 90s.

She always displayed caring tenderness and mothered many of her children’s friends when they came to visit.

Auntie Sylvia was a wife and mother who, with her husband Denis and children, migrated from Trinidad to Montreal in the early 60s to new experiences. Their home in Montreal was the setting for many celebrations and meals, all prepared by her. She was a fantastic cook. After she lost Uncle Denis in 1971 and her eldest son Lydon in 1975, she moved to Scarborough in the 80s. Once here, her backyard garden was her solace, and she took pride in her gardening skills which she undoubtedly inherited from her father who was an agriculturist.

We all remember the estate in Cumuto. Auntie Sylvia generously distributed her products to family and friends.

Auntie Sylvia was like a second mother to me. The warmth and love that she extended to me, was also transferred to my wife and sons once I became a husband and dad. The love and warmth were always returned to her by us. She continued cooking and baking well past her 95th birthday.

I would call every Sunday evening to say hello. On one of these calls, she told me that she was falling apart, so I asked her whether she had baked bread and muffins that week. Her answer, “Yes I did.”

I told her, “Auntie Sylvia, let me assure you that I do not know any other 95-year-old that still cooks and bakes like you do.”

She was loved by her children, and they took excellent care of her, especially Judy, to the very end. Thanks Judy.

I would like to close this tribute to my aunt with some words of encouragement that were passed on to me by a friend when he heard of my loss.

He said, “Your aunt seemed like she lived not only a long and happy life but one in which she was very busy. Her personal presence and the example her life provided will continue to shape the lives of all those who knew and loved her. She will be missed but she leaves you all with a strong faith as well as many long lasting and happy memories for all of you to treasure. The Lord knows His own and He has called your Aunt Sylvia home to Rest in Peace.”

We cheer on the angels that whisked you away on Holy Thursday. Now we ask God to help us to recognise when He allows your spirit to fill our rooms with laughter and kindness.