She was a British war bride arriving with my dad and his sister at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1944 and raised 3 children, the youngest of whom died from tainted blood received in hospital in the 1980’s.
A very proud and humble woman, she lead a seemingly normal life surviving my grandfather and a second husband of over 25 years each, but as she was coming to the end of her battle with cancer I decided to attempt to summarize her 88 years in a four minute song. That’s an impossible task but I decided to try, and focused on the essence of the person she was at three stages of life: her beginning and childhood with her maiden name; as the wife of a soldier traveling alone to a new country as Doreen Carroll and finally near her end as woman with a third last name, Daley, with a life well-lived.
One thing I learned from her was how to be proud of who you are and where you come from without feeling ‘better’ than others. For my grandmother her family, God and The Queen were the three pillars she rested her story upon and so I had a most powerful experience sitting her down in my studio chair and playing this recording for her a few weeks before she died.
I’d never seen her cry until that day, and if I had to say there is one song I’m glad to have written, it is this one. It’s called ‘God Save Doreen.’