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February 04, 2009

One Final Journey


1942 – 2009

Bernice White

Some of you have commented that there have not been any additional chapters about our Great North American Road trip. In December, Bernie began to experience severe pain below her left shoulder and around her left rib cage. Just after Christmas, while we were in Mexico, we went to a clinic that determined there was a considerable amount of fluid between the walls of Bernie’s left lung.

To cut a long story short, we decided to come home and Bernie flew to Toronto from Phoenix on January 9, arriving about 6:30 PM. Our son-in-law, Barnaby, took her directly to Cambridge Hospital where she was admitted. A few days later she was transferred to the Firestone Centre for Respiratory Health in Hamilton and on January 16th she was diagnosed with lung cancer, which had already begun to spread.

On the following Monday they did a bone scan which indicated the cancer had penetrated to most bone groups and that she had Stage 4 cancer for which there was no treatment. They could only make her comfortable and control the pain, which they did.

Her condition worsened rapidly as the cancer spread and multiplied throughout her body. This past Sunday they began the final drug treatment, to relieve pain and reduce stress and our daughters, sons-in-law, grandsons and I, along with many friends, all came to say goodbye.

At about 7:45pm on Monday, February 2nd, 2009 she took her last breaths and departed for the Great RV Rally in Heaven. Although very sad and tearful, we were relieved that her ordeal was over – only 17 days after the first diagnosis.

When I heard the verdict on January 16th, I decided that I could never RV again, without my navigator. But I have changed my mind. It is now my intention to continue, at least part-time, later this year. I will tell Bernie my itinerary and describe the sights along the way. I believe she will watch over me, as she has always done, and guide me as we travel together in spirit.

At the moment I am a bit of train wreck, but friends and family who have been through this tell me that the first hundred years are the toughest…after that it gets easier. So stay tuned, there are still a couple of chapters to be written about our final destinations in 2008, but you’ll have to put up with me. There may be some tears on the pages.

Bernie, my love and my life for 44 years is gone,
but as our journal says,

“It’s not the destination…it’s the journey”.

Visitation and Memorial Service – Humphrey Funeral Home
Visitation: Thursday, February 5th from 2-4pm and 7-9pm
Memorial Service: Friday, February 6th at 11am
Luncheon to follow

Posted by Ross at February 4, 2009 08:23 AM


Beautifully written, Ross. We'll see you Thursday and Friday. If you would still like to have a few comments from me during the memorial, I'd be honoured.

Our deepest sympathies.

Jill & Alan

Posted by: Jill & Alan at February 4, 2009 08:45 AM

Dear Ross,
I am so sorry to hear about Bernie. I am happy that you two got the chance to have this amazing adventure together. I lost my husband two years ago, and this will be a difficult time for you. It does get easier, and wonderful memories really get you through the rough patches. God Bless, Kathleen

If you don't remember me, I'm the Welcome Wagon lady.

Posted by: Kathleen Farrell at February 4, 2009 08:54 AM

Sorry to hear about Bernie. I know you will be lost without her.
Peter and Anna

Posted by: Peter Lightfoot at February 4, 2009 09:37 AM


We wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. Jerry and I parked next to you in Naco AZ just about a year ago in our Hitchhiker. We did Fish and Chips and then visited after. Bernie was so vibrant and warm. We have so enjoyed your website and story of all your travels.

Jerry and Judy

Posted by: judy at February 4, 2009 10:01 AM

Hi Ross - My sincere condolences. I have been enjoying the journals and spoke to Bernice on several occasions in the summer/fall before last, when she did some work for O'Shanter. I have known her for many years through our O'Shanter connection - we provide the laundry machines for some of their buildings. I went to see her paintings at the Guild Inn art show, which I always enjoyed. I will remember her fondly. Take care, Ann

Posted by: Ann Wakelin at February 4, 2009 10:12 AM

Uncle Ross,

Words can't tell you how sad we are for your loss. I really thought we would have a chance to see Aunt Bernice one more time; to hug her neck and tell her how much she has meant to me and Paul. She made me feel so welcomed in the family and always seemed to take a special interest in us after Faye passed away. We will truly miss her.

Our thoughts and especially our prayers are with you, Shelly & Mandy right now. I can't imagine losing the person I'd spent the last 44 years with or losing my mother. I am so thankful that she did not suffer for long and that she was surrounded by the people she loved the most.

Please know that we would be there for the services in a heartbeat if I wasn't so close to delivering. We will be there in spirit. Again, we are praying for you all, for comfort and peace during this difficult time.

We love you!
Jill, Paul & Jack

Posted by: Jill at February 4, 2009 10:52 AM

Dear Ross,

Bob and I are so sorry that Bernie has departed from you on Earth. We pray for your healing at this time. We hope to meet up with you once again 'on the road' to somewhere exciting in our RV.

Our Love,
Bob & Melissa Turner

Posted by: Bob & Melissa Turner at February 4, 2009 11:29 AM

As I watched and read all the journals and pictures, I felt it was the most beautiful thing.
Some of the pictures looked like heaven on earth.
It is evident you had made the right choice and enjoying your retired time together in the most beautiful way. She will be your guardian angel from heaven. No doubt it will be hard but the love and memories live forever in our hearts.

Posted by: Estrella at February 4, 2009 12:20 PM

My dear Ross,
How very very sad we are to hear about Bernie's passing, and our thoughts, prayers, and love are with you now. You have both been a significant part of our lives, and Ross, you will continue being our friend and companion. You are so lucky to have so many good friends, such a loving family, and so many wonderful memories.
Our love is with you,
Garry and Connie

Posted by: Garry and Connie Marsh at February 4, 2009 01:38 PM


Thank you for this message and the picture. I will write you in a separate letter--I am trying to gather my thoughts as to what to say to you.

Posted by: Bette Andrew at February 4, 2009 04:30 PM

As I sit here reading this I am crying. I can't believe that such a bright light is gone! I remember how wonderful she was in art class. She was always so positive and had so many helpful tips for my paintings. Art class is tonight so I know we will talk about Bernice and the joy she brought us in class. I know she is still with you (and us) in her own wonderful way.

God bless you!


Posted by: Jacquie Tjandra at February 4, 2009 05:38 PM

I was really saddened to hear about Bernice's illness and passing. I don't know if you know who I am but I used to babysit for Bob & Faye. Please accept my condolences and prayers. Karen

Posted by: Karen Chamberlain at February 4, 2009 05:58 PM

Ross, How incredibly sad. Best wishes & condolences. We met you in May 07 in the Toronto RV park. John & Karen Pollard

Posted by: John Pollard at February 4, 2009 06:19 PM

Dear Ross, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this painful time. Wishing you peace.

I'm glad you have decided to continue your journey. Here's to sunny days and safe travels.

love lynn

Posted by: lynn russell at February 4, 2009 06:26 PM

Dear Ross!
First, let me reintroduce ourselves. Carole and I met you and Bernice in Kino Bay, At Islandia R.V.PK.
and I remember,Bernie suffering a bad Cold.We had common Friends in Ontario, although we now reside in B.C.(Peachland).Bernie told me, that she worked at the same Company, with Barbara Kelly, whose Husband Norm, was my Platoon-chief on the T.F.D. We have been following your Adventures ever since.
Please accept our sincere Condolences,for the Loss you have and are suffering. We know, it will be very hard times for you and admire your spirit in the Decision, to carry on trucking.
Our thoughts and Prayers will be with you.
Sincerely,Eddie and Carole Stadelman!!!

Posted by: Eddie (Adolf) Stadelman at February 4, 2009 07:24 PM

Ross, I am so sorry for your loss and so amazed at your courage and strength. You are welcome to visit us anytime at the farm. The beautiful painting that Bernice gave us hangs on our wall in the living room and now has even more special meaning.
A big hug, Lori and Jeff

Posted by: lori at February 5, 2009 08:11 AM

Dear Ross:

Its very difficult to know what to say. It seems so trite to offer condolences. What a wonderful marriage you have had. I will always remember Bernice on the day you were moving out of your house and getting ready for your RV odyssey. I grieve for you, Ross.

Mark Lewis

Posted by: Mark Lewis at February 5, 2009 08:15 AM

we cannot be there in body as we are on our trip but we have been with you in spirit since we met you both. hugs and wishes and hope to keep in touch
glenda and bill

Posted by: glenda & Bill Dicke at February 5, 2009 11:29 AM

Dear Ross,
I feel your loss, I feel your love, I feel your faith. Thank you for sharing with us all. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
Love, Pam

Posted by: Pam Russell at February 5, 2009 05:51 PM

Having just gone through this same very difficult experience in December, my heart goes out to the entire family. We will never forget, the loss will be forever, but time will heal.

Posted by: Wilma McGregor at February 6, 2009 09:15 AM

She was a great inspiration for me,as we often chatted over tea on her front porch, talked about art ,her travels. her grand kids,and the dog.she had a great laugh,she cheered me up when i was low.I will also miss her,but i am sure she will drop by and watch me paint.she was a true friend, Berg

Posted by: Berg Johnson at February 6, 2009 01:44 PM

Ross White;

All of us here at Active Green + Ross (Cambridge) would like to send our condolences to you and your family. We are deeply sorry for the loss of your wife, best friend and also navigator. Our thoughts are with you.


Tanya Gionet and the rest of the staff at Active Green + Ross

Posted by: Tanya Gionet at February 6, 2009 01:47 PM

It was a joy and pleasure knowing her. Bobbi and Gilbert

Posted by: Bobbi at February 6, 2009 04:50 PM

Hi Ross,

I feel very humbled reading this and look forward to reading the next installments of your journal. How fantastic that you are going to continue with your travelling.

Bernice will certainly live on in you all I am sure.

Happy travelling and best wishes,

Julie and Oliver

Posted by: Julie and Oliver at February 9, 2009 03:35 PM

Dearest Ross,

What a beautiful photo of my dear frind, Bernie.
I will miss her so!

This page is a sincere legacy to the forty four year journey you have experienced.

We will all live on with joyful and happy memories.

As I always said, Bernie gave the best "bear hugs"
and I am truly sorry I was out of country to
return the favour.

I have just returned from Freeport and my heart
and love is with all of you

I will talk soon,


Posted by: shirley blain at February 12, 2009 11:45 AM

We were sorry to read your email which confirmed what we had recently heard from Madeline. We express to you our great sympathy at the loss of your wife and mother to your family. One reason for gratitude is that together you were able to enjoy your rcent time of touring the world together to add to the many wonderful memories which you already haD. May God strengthen and guide you in the future,
Grace and Wallace Whyte

Posted by: Grace and Wallace Whyte at February 13, 2009 09:39 AM

Sorry to learn of your great loss. This is to express our sympathy along with our thanks for the many interesting comments and picures received. You will have all theser happy memories along with many others.  May God give uou comfort, strength and guidacne.Grace and Wallace

Posted by: Grace and Wallace Whyte at February 13, 2009 09:48 AM

Dear Ross,
We commend you for your inspirational outlook and determination to stay the journey. Our thoughts, hopes and prayers are directed your way. And we are thankful for the beautiful journey of 44 years with Bernie-- she will continue to be with you along the way.
Larry and Phyllis

Posted by: Larry and Phyllis Harwood at February 18, 2009 12:42 PM

Hi Ross,

I continue to read "the last journey" and hope that this, the extension is going well.
Where are you, anyway?? are you well???

I have enrolled in an intensive Acrylic course at the College, and am considering two others, as I carry on with this Acrylic painting journey.

That I should be as blessed in this medium as Bernie will be my goal.

Hopefully, you are enjoying some improved weather and have met some fellow RV folks en route.

All the best,big Hugs,

Posted by: shirley blain at March 14, 2009 10:04 PM