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Rest in power, Eva Sidwall

Rest in power, Eva Sidwall

a.k.a. Eve

a.k.a. Sam Plover

1957 - 2023


by Irit Shimrat


“Sam Plover,” as we knew her, was a member of the Mad Canada Shadow Report Group, which, for those who don’t know us,documents and reports to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on human rights violations in Canadian psychiatry (i.e., everything psychiatrists do). We all loved Sam for her 100% antipsychiatry stance, on vivid display in her feisty comments at madinamerica.com.


We discovered that her real name was Eva when she became one of the signers of our petition to the Canadian parliament. The petition addresses Canada’s unwillingness to respect our rights, as legally required by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (not to mention the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). The Attorney General’s response made it clear the government thinks they’re protecting our rights just fine. Still, we keep documenting their contempt for victims of forced treatment and demanding our rights– Sam was both fierce and tireless in this fight.


Sam, who had debilitating COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), talked with me many times about her desire for self-deliverance through MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying). She got her wish on July 26, 2023. She was a wonderful comrade and friend, and we all miss her dearly.


Her husband was the one who let me know about her death. He very kindly wrote me note, from her email address, to say that all the family was with her at the end, and that she died peacefully in his arms: “There were many tears, much love, and nothing was left unsaid … I want you to know that she was very proud of your group and the work you do. I can’t believe I'm saying this, but I will miss the regular and lengthy harangues that I received on the evils of psychiatry. She truly believed in the cause and was a passionate advocate. Please share the news with Erick and the members of your group.”

So that’s what I’m (finally) doing now. Here is her obituary from the August 3 issue of Winnipeg Free Press:

EVA (EVE) SIDWALL


On July 26, with her family by her side, Eva Sidwall passed away peacefully. Eve was predeceased by her father, Cornelius Reimer. Left to mourn her and celebrate her life are her husband, Craig (aka Sid), daughter Kati (Pat), son Mathew (Jill), and Chili the cat. Also left are her mother, Anna, sister Elma (Albert), sister Marlene, brother Alfred, and many nieces and nephews.


Eve was born in Paraguay, and came to Canada with her family while in her early teens. She grew up in Winnipeg’s west end and became a hairdresser. While working at Luigi’s salon, she cut Craig’s hair, and they were together for thirty-six years.


Eve was a complicated, vital person with many passions and interests. Her primary love was her children. When the children were young, the Sidwall house was full of the neighbourhood kids. Eve knew them all, welcomed them, fed them, and talked to them. She volunteered at school, drove on field trips, did book orders, hearing tests, and anything she could to help and support her kids’ education. When the kids reached high school, teenage parties were held at the Sidwall house where Eve could meet and talk to them all, watch over them, and keep them safe. She loved them all.


Eve loved animals, all animals. The family dogs were rescues, as was the cat. She believed that every animal that came to her door or her yard looked hungry, and she fed them all. Cats, squirrels, crows, sparrows, even wasps got fed. Eve hated any kind of animal abuse, watched for it everywhere she went, and her wrath was terrible for anyone guilty of it.


Eve was an artist working with polymer clay. Her eye for colour and form and her attention to very fine detail gave us things of real beauty. Switch plates, cabinet knobs, vases, tea pots and coasters were all beautified by her work. Her many wine glasses, created with an eye towards a craft sale, have become family heirlooms.


Eve was a homemaker. A great cook and baker, she hosted family dinners that were delicious and interesting, and loved to see the laughter and conversation that swirled around her table.


Eve had many other passions as well – motorcycle riding, the cabins, classic rock and blues, volunteering for hospice and at Deer Lodge, and the happy summers at Hillside Beach. Eve was also a humanist who valued connection, and a strong member of the anti-psychiatry movement.


Eve could be opinionated, outspoken, and blunt. She was also sensitive, empathetic, intuitive, and loving. What she could never be was boring. We love her so.


Special thanks go out to Doctor Ashe, Doctor Ward, and Doctor Kyle. Your empathy, care, and services improved both the quality and length of Eve’s life.


Cremation has taken place, and Eve’s ashes will be scattered at her beloved cabin as part of a private family gathering.

If you wish, please donate in her memory to your local no-kill animal shelter. While you are there, think about adopting.


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