COMMENTARY · 17th March 2012
A Greiving Niece
When I moved here in April 2005, after my brother passed, my uncle took my kids and I under his family wing. For the first time in my life I knew I was exactly where I should be. He let me know that he was happy that I came back home. He coined my son “Sm-ooyget Rhythm Nelson” because Rhythm was always around, always listening attentively and only speaking when words were needed. At every feast, wedding or stone moving he let us know we were included and we were part of him.
One of my favorite memories was when we ran for Band Council together. I will never forget that night. He had a twinkle in his eye, the twinkle of hope, the twinkle of helping his community restore their culture and true history, the twinkle of instilling pride, dignity and respect within the Kitsumkalum reserve and beyond. He kept sending me to the phone to call Diane, Michelle, Todd and Carl to get their permission to submit their names. In that moment he had a vision of a better future for all that knew him and he called on his family to stand beside him. He had the most compassionate, generous and loving heart. Anyone that was touched by him would want to follow and be around him.
On my travels to different Nations, Territories and Communities I soon realized how far his name extended into the aboriginal culture of the whole northwest. I was so proud to tell them all that he was my Uncle. He was known from the tip of Tahltan Territory to the bottom of Vancouver Island; throughout the interior and out into the ocean.
If I ever said, “Lloyd Nelson” someone was sure to know who I was talking about. They would tell me what a great guy he was and I would tell them that I already knew what a great man he was; always kind, always smiling. He was well respected wherever he went but he was always humble when it was brought to his attention.
Whenever I went to him for advice he would think about it for a bit, give me his opinion and then end his advice with “And that is all I have to say”. Then I knew the lesson was given and now it was up to me to make my own decision. I, and only I, had the answer to whatever situation that was in front of me. His gentle guiding hands were making me a stronger, better person.
For as long as I can remember he has taken care of my mother Maxine. When they were just young kids he always told her he would buy her wedding dress. So when he walked her down the aisle to give her away at her wedding she knew that they were both remembering when they were children and what was said back then. They had a silent understanding of love and acceptance right from childhood and throughout their lives. Although there were times when they hardly saw or even spoke to each other, they always knew each other was there. She watched over his family and he watched over hers.
My daughter Candice was so proud to bring my grandbaby Taylor to meet Marge and Lloyd when they came for Christmas and it was one of the best. To have Uncle holding her baby in his arms and give her a nickname, was a christening into the family. When they first met my son George they said he was the son that they lost years ago, and of course he never forgot Sm-ooyget Rhythm Nelson.
My brother Buck with his boys Kyle and AJ, my sister Loni and her children, Dillon, Jennifer and Skye, always knew where to go to get a piece of our culture. Eating crab on his porch with the smell of fish in the smokehouse wafting through the air, sharing life stories and pictures was always the best part of their visits from wherever they moved to. My brother Joey and sister Jennifer shared many stories with uncle on the ocean, mixed in with a few tall tales. I was so proud to share my family with him, and we will always be under his protective wing.
I would sit and listen to his stories of Port Essington and tales of being on the boats on the Skeena; well it was like I was there with him, one of the kids, learning life’s hard lessons. Through Uncle Lloyd, my mom and my Auntie Clara, whom you all know as ‘Slingshot’, I have been living many lives from the history of Port Essington and I look forward to living many more. This is what my Uncle has given me.
The night after his passing I slept at his house to keep the candle flame going and clean his room. And when I woke up to the sound of the gillnet drum being brought in to be picked, I knew it was him fishing in the heavens. I could hear the clanking of the net being drummed in and could see the big smile on his face.
Whether it was picking him up in Port Ed after fishing, taking him to the doctor or saving his seat at Bingo, I was proud to be there for him. He knew he could depend on me and I knew I could depend on him. I made a promise to him, that I would always be there for Marge, his children and his precious grandchildren and great grandchildren forever, and he knows I will keep that promise. He was, and always will be our true Chief.
And that is all I have to say……
Looking west over the bow from the captains chair of the Diana Marge
Tribute To Loyd Nelson
Comment by McCarthy on 17th March 2012
Loyd Nelson is a Great Roll Model for many,
young fishermen, hunters gathers,
We learned friendship, peace, wisdom & smiles.
For the Skeen River, North Coast Ocean,
we all connect by radio, sharing a piece of salmon with many others.
You will be missed for the moment, in all life cycle you be back again. For its Tsimshian culture re carnation "be born again".
The great spirit will bless a new one, some day carry the nobility spirit of our past fishermen, to lead again.
So be the fishermen code. We are here, nothing is lost, nothing is missing, your heart and soul teachings will flower next generation. By a strong example.
How to be a kind gentle man.
Much Love prayers to your wonderful family
A great loss
Comment by Trish on 17th March 2012
I am very sorry to hear of your loss. You were fortunate to have had him...our condolences at this time.
Comment by FayEllen McFarlane on 17th March 2012
You have been left with beautiful memories that will keep him alive in your heart. So sorry for your loss.