My mom passed away on May 22 around 4:30 pm after a long, good life. She will be missed on earth but always exist in our hearts. It is not possible to write everything that was my Mom in a blog post. But I do want to let you know more about her.
She was unique in so many ways. Not many women of her generation were as big a sports fan as she was. She loved to watch sports with us. She would talk with us about teams. And as she got along in life, no team was as important to her as the Mt. Union College Purple Raiders.
For a long time, she was the “family bookie” – running a family pro football pool where we all picked winners. This started even before my kids were born. But the kids did not have to be very old before they wanted to get into the football pool (We are a bit of a competitive family). The person with the most picks right won some small amount of money – but more importantly, a traveling plaque with your name on it as the champion that year. My mom loved it because it gave us all something to talk about. But more importantly for her, she got a note once a week from various family members along with their picks. So she was caught up on everything that was going on with the extended family.
I can remember as a youngster that my mom’s car was always the best one to get into after the baseball games. We’d pile a bunch of the players in the car (this was before everyone had to have a seatbelt) and “race” to be the first ones to the ice cream shop. Win or lose the game, getting to the ice cream first was a big deal. Mom always made that fun.
Playing cards, playing board games, the “family olympics” or doing charades, mom always wanted to make sure everyone was participating and that family was involved. The games were always fun, but the times with family were much more important. Mom was all about family. We grew up close to all of our cousins because we spent a lot of time with them even if they were in Akron or Cleveland or Pittsburg or Louisiana. She had an undying love for me dad. She knew she had married a very good man and was thankful for that each and every day. We are so fortunate that she passed that on to us.
My kids took a little time this past weekend to write down things Grandma meant to them. Joan was able to read it to Mom before she died and she said Mom was calm as she listened. I’d like to think she loved hearing what the kids had to say.
Kids. They were SO important to my Mom. She loved to be around little kids. For a few years late in life she went to my sister’s school to help the third graders with math or reading. But I think have the time those sessions probably turned into talking and playing sessions. Mom loved talking about those times. When each of her grandchildren reached teenager status, she took them to either the Pro Football Hall of Fame or a dinner theatre. She wanted one-on-one time with them. She wanted to make them feel extra special. She wanted to create a lasting memory. Even with children she did not know, she drew them in to her circle or worried about the most downtrodden of them all. She was a little kid at heart – making up stories, playing games, staying active.
My Mom’s Uncle Nick from Romania called my mom “Libelulei” which is a Romanian word meaning “dragonfly”. He meant it as a term of endearment. My Mom was not a person to sit around much – EVER. Uncle Nick thought she was this graceful, beautiful being moving from event to event. I think that summed up Mom pretty well.
So Mom is now up in heaven doing something with my Dad, friends and other family members. And when my Dad decides to get in his recliner and take a nap, Mom is probably looking after the little children up there – playing games with them. And they are all laughing. Look for a dragonfly that is my Mom watching over us.