This tribute is in honor of one of my favorite patients whom recently lost her battle with ovarian cancer. She was an incredible woman and the kind of person that really touches lives, including my own. Her children are both patient’s and friends of mine and I wanted to share this with you. I can think of nothing better than to have my son or daughter feel this way about me after I have passed. Her kids may have lost her here on Earth-but, they will never lose the character and integrity that she gave them.
Her son writes the following final tribute after putting her to rest yesterday—
“Mom was a charter member of St. Susanna. Like many good Catholic mothers she was involved in choir, fundraising, Women’s Club, festivals, and other church activities, while being a devoted mother, daughter, and wife. So like many good Catholic families, when a special dessert or covered dish appeared in the kitchen, and we asked “Is that for us?” the frequent reply was, “don’t touch that, it’s for church.”
• Mom’s devotion to family was very real. She and Dad not only made sacrifices for their offspring, but each remained attentive to their respective parents. Mom remained a constant companion to her folks when they were in good health. When her parents and her husband, Ed, fell ill later in life, she was the consummate caregiver until each passed on.
• Mom’s move to Plainfield marked a totally new phase in her life. Despite being in her 70s, the change in surroundings from rural Mooresville to “city life,” brought her a lot of new and renewed friendships, closeness to church, and a remarkable range of new activities.
• Her outlook was a mixture of a mature experience and youthful enthusiasm. When she first moved to Plainfield, someone asked if she would like to transport the elderly. Despite her generosity, she hesitated, because she wasn’t sure she could spend so much time with “older people.” She was committed to physical activity going to water aerobics several times weekly until a few years ago, and recently renewed her interest in card playing, joining a euchre group in the area.
• In addition to continuing her regular attendance at Notre Dame games, and her relish of the pregame tailgating, she added the occasional Colts home game, and opened a new era of travel. As a child and younger adult, she had already seen much of the US with parents and us kids. She began traveling with St. Susanna friends to Great Britain, Ireland, Hawaii, and the Mediterranean.
• When the role of tour guide became too much, she enlisted her son Ed to be her chaperone for her continuing excursions to the Emerald Isle, around 7 or 8 in total. She reasoned that there were 1000 pubs in Ireland, and we still had most of them to visit. As recently as last fall, she was considering another trip.
• Until two years ago, when her health was beginning to decline, she still served as an ombudsman for the needs of her adult children and extended family. Our medical needs, transportation issues, and especially our day-to-day problems were never too much for her to try to handle.
• During her final years, Mom never lost her optimism, nor her acceptance of God’s will for her. As each of us is called upon to be Christ’s human presence to one another, Mom was a great example of that calling to her family and all who knew her well. Mom was not above human frailties, but our memories of her are of her unqualified love.
• Christmas was a shared passion with the rest of the family. Mom celebrated Christmas from Thanksgiving to the Epiphany and often beyond. Even when she was physically able to do much of the work, it took weeks to do all the decorating, cookie baking, shopping, and churchgoing. Midnight mass was followed by a great breakfast in the wee hours of the morning, and she had her last yuletide gathering earlier this year.
• The church raffle/dinner/auction was an annual observance for Mom. She attended enthusiastically each year, and this year (not surprisingly) we bid successfully for a number of items intended for this coming Christmas. It was a standing joke in our household, from January on, “Do you know, it’s only *** days until next Christmas?”
• Throughout her life, even in recent months, her dry and sharp wit remained. There were a range of family inside jokes and sayings, and the slightest hint would raise Mom’s eyebrow and prompt a mischievous look.
• As we reviewed her photos and other memorabilia of her long and rich life, we were struck by one overriding impression, that of her goodness, her strength, her gentleness, and of a life well lived.”
A dear friend of mine shared this with me as well—hope this helps Ed!
WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO EXPLAIN IT
A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
Leave the examination room and said,
‘Doctor, I am afraid to die.
Tell me what lies on the other side..’
Very quietly, the doctor said, ‘I don’t know..’
‘You don’t know? You’re, a Christian man,
and don’t know what’s on the other side?’
The doctor was holding the handle of the door;
On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
‘Did you notice my dog?
He’s never been in this room before.
He didn’t know what was inside..
He knew nothing except that his master was here,
And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death,
But I do know one thing…
I know my Master is there and that is enough.’