Obituary of Brenda Irene Sanden
December 26, 1952 - High Prairie, Alberta
January 8, 2023 - Calgary, Alberta
Brenda Irene Sanden of Calgary, AB, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 8, 2023 at the age of 70 years old.
Born in Slave Lake and raised in Swan Hills, Brenda was a loving and nurturing “little momma” right from the beginning. She grew up in a very loving environment and shared a happy childhood with two brothers who she adored; mothering and guiding them both. Brenda’s parents instilled a strong work ethic and a passion for helping the less fortunate. From the age of 7, she babysat and did other small jobs to help contribute to the family’s welfare. She cared for her pet mice and the family’s Siamese cat named Pyewicket. She had many girlfriends that she loved to do all the girly things with. At the age of 15, Brenda moved to Edmonton to attend high school where she matured, became fiercely independent, and formed some life-long friendships. After attending college, she moved to Calgary and began her career. She would later meet Allan and start their family.
Brenda’s greatest love was her family. She dreamt from early childhood of having a large family. She wanted 12 kids but after number four arrived, she realized how busy life was and decided to devote her love and attention to four (with the hope and dream that grandchildren would one day arrive). She cherished her family and felt very grateful and blessed to be able to stay home with her kids. She was also known as a second mom to many. The family home always had an open-door policy for all her kids’ friends. “Strays” were welcomed with open arms for family dinners and no one was ever left out during a holiday. There was always a stocked pantry of snacks and always a listening ear, if needed.
Brenda loved to be busy. She had a passion for gardening and her yard was the envy of the neighbourhood. She enjoyed cooking and baking and then sharing her creations with family and friends. She truly believed that food was the way to the heart.
Brenda was selfless. She was always concerned about others and would frequently check-in and offer a helping hand to family, neighbours, friends, and strangers. She loved to know peoples’ stories and was the type of person who could sit down with a stranger and make a lifelong friend. Brenda was empathetic, thoughtful, caring, and a strong advocate for anyone who needed it. Most will remember her greeting as a warm embrace and a kiss on the cheek. She had a contagious giggle and was very witty, finding joy in making people laugh.
When the kids went off to University, Brenda took up hobbies such as walking, playing piano, and knitting. She found a passion for travel, sharing many different experiences with girlfriends. She reconnected with many friends and started taking different courses, particularly those focused on wellness. She loved to learn and she was a wealth of knowledge as a result. In recent years Brenda became in-tune with her spirituality and took up Qi gong, drumming, and yoga - also managing to get away for a number of yoga retreats. She also enjoyed numerous trips to Maui – her favourite place to be as it encompassed so many of the things that brought her joy: family, flowers, sunrises, sunsets, and cloud formations.
Over the last 9 years, Brenda’s family grew and she got to experience the joy of grandchildren. Known as Grammie, she was the most loving, nurturing, caring, and involved grandma that any child could ask for. They were the light in her life and they all had very special and unique relationships with her. She was also incredibly helpful in the early days and months following each grandchild’s birth. She would move in and keep the household running, all while teaching her daughters and son the ins-and-outs of being a loving parent. She was a mom through and through and took her job as a mother and grandmother very seriously.
Brenda is survived by her former husband, Allan Sanden, and their children; Greg Sanden (Michelle), Andrea Stayura (Daryl), Krista Borgstrom (Matt), Brianne Lenzin (Mike) and her grandchildren; Isabel (9) Ava (8), Charles (8), Jack (6), Franklin (6), Mary (6), Claire (5), and Paige (2), all of Calgary, Alberta.
She is also survived by her brother David Kool and a large extended family, including many wonderful friends she considered family. Preceded in death by her parents Arend and Margaret Kool and brother Derek Kool.
Thank you to all the staff that touched Brenda’s heart at the Tom Baker Cancer Center. She was in the care of a very wonderful team of people!
Thank you to Wellspring Alberta for providing Brenda with resources, beautiful friendships, and loving support through her journey!
It was Brenda’s wish not to have a funeral service. If you have any special memories and/or photos of our mom, we would love you to share them with us. In Lieu of flowers, donations to Tom Baker Cancer Center or Wellspring Alberta would be greatly appreciated.
“If there ever comes a time when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart and I’ll stay there forever” ~Pooh Bear