Lorna spent her life doing what was right

Fighting what was wrong, Lorna van Mossel always did right.

Defending or championing human rights, refugee or newcomer rights, gender rights and a host of other causes, Lorna was a very determined, five-foot-nothing social activist who called me several times a week when I worked as a local journalist.

For decades, Lorna was my conscience.

At times when I was bombarded with angry, sometimes vicious emails and letters from critics, she would call to quietly offer praise and support. And when I was at my cynical best, lazy or blissfully unaware of some deserving cause, Lorna would be there, on the phone, talking about overdue social change and nudging me to write a sympathetic column.

“Wake up, Frank. You can help make the right thing happen,” she said on one occasion.

Lorna was 90 when she died this week after years of work for the local Multicultural Centre and lengthy service as a Citizenship Judge.

A few days before she lapsed into a coma, I sat beside her bedside and, at one point, she found the energy to haltingly urge me to continue city-hall efforts to defend gay rights and make our community more inclusive.

While she gripped my hand so tightly,  I wanted to thank her for all her caring compassion and belatedly tell her she was right — that her lifetime struggle for justice had always been right.

But the huge sense of impending loss and the lump in my throat prevented me from speaking.



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