In Memoriam of our mother
2nd Sunday in December, (1981)
Her last day on earth
Dear Anne, Peg, Rose, Til, Pal, Eddie and Jeanne
But there was nothing to indicate it was her last day with us. That so early on the morn, tomorrow, she would already leave on her final journey.
She looked so frail but then for almost a month now she had become so frail. Today a year ago, it was like a usual Sunday, “Da ben Holy day, spostu prayem Mass.” But since no longer able to see she couldn’t pray her Polish missal, so her Mass was a meditation upon her old crucifix ever in her hand, or on her side table; her Mass was fingering the rosary beads drawn to recollection of those Mysteries that focused upon Christs whole life on this earth. And how “ben da Holy Moder” through His birth, His death, His resurrection.
Indeed as some reach for tranquilizers, or liquor, or drugs of anti-depressant, “diz goot moder” reached for her rosary and crucifix. She “ben” walk with Jesus and “Holy Moder,” the crucifix and rosary beads.
And this, her last Sunday, the rosary beads were around her wrist so “ay not losem,” as she napped during the day. So weak, she would fall asleep even sitting up. If it wasn’t the time to lay down but time to sit and do little exercise, she sat on edge of her bed, with her walker in front of her so she could support hands and arms on it, and slowly move her body back and forth. That was the extent of her exercise. Too weak to walk, anymore.
She ate only soft food and so little. No appetite. She wanted to please me, so she would accept a few portions of just half a teaspoon at a time, warm cereal or warm milk.
She wanted to sleep in the afternoon because Jim and Janie were coming at 5 oclock to visit her. Francie had asked if she could come and I postponed her for next day, that it might be too much company. I wish I had not done that, as there was no next day. Francie had always been so affectionate that her visits “da der grandma” looked forward to because “Francie goin fixem my nails.” Manicured these with gentleness and patience. And it was Francie who had thought to buy corsages for mother, for Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas. The big florist truck would pull into the drive way and hand the little box. And then for 3 Sundays, with care preserving her corsage, she wore it to church. All else the simple attire, but how pretty “bend a flowers.” But where we appreciate the visual, I know mother appreciated, by far the sentiment of this loving granddaughter. There was a beautiful loving bond between Francie and “der” grandma.
Jim and Janie sat on either side of mother, on her bed that evening, embracing her with affection. She was so happy. And when they left she said she was tired. Would like to “prayem rosary and goin for bet.” (that was Sunday night, December 14, 1980 ~~Editor)
December 15th, a Monday morning.
I came to see if she would like to get up. It was 8:30 and sometimes she would be ready to, and sometimes she would ask to sleep half hour more. This morning she nodded a yes. She didn’t speak.
I unwound the long old rosary from her fingers and as I took to place it on the table I kissed the crucifix, breathing a prayer to her Jesus that I didn’t know what to do, I felt so sad. She looked ill. So frail. I should call the doctor. But if I did that he would command I bring her in to the hospital. And all she wanted was to be home. I can’t forget my helplessness and sadness, as I began to dress her.
Christ would say of me the words he used on some friends, “Oh ye of little faith.” (Certainly I didn’t have the faith to trust He was in control and mother had for months asked Him to let her die at home. She believed in prayer.
And for those who pray with such faith it is given to them. For in just minutes Christ took over. She quietly slipped away. She was sitting on edge of her bed and I had the small table in front of her. I was going to get the wash water, so I stepped out of the room. I was just out of her door when I heard the sound, like she might have fallen to the floor. And she had. She slipped off in instant death. There was no sound, no struggle. Her eyes were closed and her face was so serenely beautiful. And I knew she was gone forever. I hugged her and hugged her. Grant got the Central Park First Aid, who arrived in minutes. And we drove to St. Jos Hospital. The chaplain, Father Mark met us at the door. She was pronounced dead but he anointed her again.
And so God took her to Himself.
And she is among His saints.
It does not seem a year. I stopped to see Fr. Dominic after Mass today, and arranged the memorial Mass and Joes, Jims and Gen are informed. The 15th falls on Tuesday. Father will offer the Mass at 8 oclock and my Grant will take me in.
Maryann was at Mass today, and she brought lil Jonathan, who was quiet like a angel. She is such a beautiful lil mother and Johnny is a beautiful baby.
On other home news, Reibels sold their home and land. What a happy relief. Lots of potential clients have been around but none with the money. And Charlie-Janie wanted to get their investment in total, no long pay-off contracts. Was beginning to look discouraging and lo, all at once came the buyer with the money.
And on other good news, Frankie Simac was found in Dallas, Texas. His mother flew to bring him home. He is okay. We guess. She said so. But she is near a mental breakdown uncommunicative. She does not want to talk about him or anything pertaining to this. Her close friend called in person on her and was unable to be of comfort. And I talked with her briefly on the phone. She is ill. She wont let Frankie go out of the house, now, and she doesn’t want to see or talk to anyone until she feels better.
Oh so many sad things. Now the reports from crisis in Poland. And on TV it shows scenes of deep snows. Mother used to say how winters were so cold there. That snow came early and trains quit running and the poor families who had animals, like a cow, even a pig, they would move it to the house. The houses had like a shed attached to the back where “da keepit wood, coal” and things. They would make room in this shed to put the cow or the pig to insure it wouldn’t freeze. Because it was their survival. Even Uncle Francizek in a letter to me spoke (wrote) how he longs for the day when his grandson comes out of military service and settles next to them on the plot of land uncle was financing to buy, so they could have a cow. That if you have a cow you wont starve. You can live on milk and butter and cheese. In that letter he told told this pc of land would be large enough to put in potatoes and cabbage. That anyone so “blogoslowony”as to raise these two vegetables and maintain a cow is secure for food winter and summer. One one more thing would be greater in “blogoslaweniu” and that would be a few chickens, or a pig. Almost all of his neighbors have such lil plots because they weren’t self-employed, they work their lil land and home. But he learned the tailoring profession and was real good at it, fully employed, so he had only a small lot and home. Maybe his sons might have bought the land and settled right by, but the war took them. Their lives were changed. Things got so bad after the war. Unsettled and economically depressed everything got harder and harder to plan. Russian policy was collective farms and other means by which they drained the country of best foods, best hams in the world (he wrote Poland “sinka” ham is recognized as superior to any in the world). Poland got poorer and poorer, as the Communist Regime took so much for export, purposely to keep the people poor to better subjugate them.
Its no wonder that today, with the gains they have made through Solidarity, they will risk so much to take their hard stand against their oppressors.
It could be a war. Todays TV news is so frightening.
Bye for now. God bless. And dear mother pray for us, as always.
All of us up here