Lucette Carpentier BA, MA, MBA
September 1947 - July 2019
... Lucette was 34; I was 30 when we married. She told me she could not wait forever to have kids. I was never ready and forever came to pass. She was a great partner and I am sure she would have been a wonderful mother and grandmother.
As an only child she will have to depend on the memories of other than her progeny to recall the wonderful, resourceful and thoughtful person that she was. That is where I come in.
You may have noticed, as you entered, a book about a book which some of you may think out of place. Her DNA may not live on, but the words we crafted together and the message they convey will, of that I am sure.
It was shortly after 9/11 when I walked into my local Chapters and noticed a pile of Korans stacked near the entrance. I purchased one, took it home and started reading. I had always dreamt of writing something more useful than a User’s Guide for a Management Information System.
I told Lucette that I would like to write about what I had read and would re-read many times over. I expected it would take me a year or two, three at the most to complete a sort of layman’s guide to the Koran. Ten years was more like it. Ten years that turned out to be some of the best years of our time together.
Most days began with the buzz of the alarm clock; my signal to get up and go downstairs to make the coffee. Ten minutes later, a warm cup of coffee in each hand, I would make my way back up the stairs, leaving one cup on the desk in my home office, and the other on her bathroom vanity.
Back in the bedroom I would open the curtains and then walk over to the bed to kiss her good morning. She would shower and get dressed and I would drive her to her job on Parliament Hill, a five to ten minute drive depending on the traffic.
For 35 years, she was one of the fifty or so elite professionals who provide translation and simultaneous interpretation to the House of Commons, the Senate of Canada, Parliamentary and Cabinet Committees and Party Caucuses.
After a hurried goodbye and have a nice day – Wellington Street, in front of Parliament, is a busy street in the morning – I would make my way back home and begin my day’s work which was, for about ten years, bringing order to the Koran.
When she got home at the end of the day, depending on the season, and the weather, we would sit on the front porch with a glass of wine and some munchies and she would read and comment on my day’s work. I always had a copy of Fakhry’s interpretation of the Koran on my lap ready to answer her questions. This was when her Masters in Linguistics, specialty Translation, came in handy.
Sipping her wine, she would patiently explain some of the nuances of Fakhry’s translation that I had failed to grasp or that I might have misunderstood.
We agreed on most things when it came to Islam and the threat it posed to Western Civilization except, that she believed it would all come to pass, that the moderates would win the day and the March of Civilization would continue and we would not see the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, which ushered in the Age of Reason, undone.
She was always the optimist. As Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice, our layman's guide to the Koran, grew from a few hundred pages to encompassing the entire book, her optimism was severely tested, but her dedication to what would become our project to make the Koran accessible to the layperson never wavered.
If we can, believers and non-believers, have the type of discussions Lucette and I had about Islam – taking time-outs if the discussion gets too animated – then her optimism that a modern interpretation of the Koran and mutual respect and understanding will eventually overcome fanaticism and intolerance may be validated and nothing would make her happier.
Love you Lucette
Lucette passed away on the afternoon of July 5, 2019
Nov. 4, 2019
Lucette declined her ordained cousin’s offer to give her the last rites.
“Faith,” Mark Twain said, “is believing in something that you know to be untrue.” Not that that is the case with you and others who are convinced of the veracity of your competing books of revealed truths. Even with the end just moments away Lucette did not seek comfort in what was for her, a lie. She did not need it. The doctor, who would shortly allow her to die on her terms, asked her, “Madam, how do you feel?”
She replied, “Happy, very happy.”
I laid next to her and we said our last goodbye. What I still cannot get over is the serenity with which she crossed over into, what is for those who value empirical truths above all, the great unknown. I hope I will have her courage, when my time comes, to not seek comfort in a lie.
I appreciate you trying to convince me otherwise, but I may be a lost cause, and I like it that way.