We have been struggling over the last few days about how to write about our Mom. She was a beautiful, intelligent and determined woman. So determined that during her final days of battling with cancer she would look at us and say either, I am doing good, right? or I think I am getting better, don’t you? All we could do was smile and reply, absolutely mom! Our mother has been battling with cancer for the last 3 years and she passed away in her sleep July 28th.
What do you say about your mom when you have so many wonderful and fond memories?
Do you talk about Christmas, mom’s favorite holiday, stringing popcorn for the tree, decorated by all handmade ornaments made by mom and us, watching movies together, mom always tinkering with her latest project? Our own walls are still covered with mom’s crafts at the holidays.
Do you talk about her community projects, starting a babysitting coop when we were young in a small town, organizing Christmas cookie exchanges, volunteering for teen dances and talking with people, teaching at the community college or the many other events she was involved?
Do you talk about the woman that bucked convection every chance she had and taught us to make our own way? In 1989, at age 36, mom packed up her 2 teenage kids, and 2 cats into a 1971 chevy impala, and moved from the Chicago area, where she grew up, to be near the California coast, despite the naysayers that said she’d never make it. The whole scene was quite comical, mom waking us up at 2:00 am a February morning, because the snow had started to fall and she had every intention of leaving that day. Our grandfather decided to travel with us at the last minute and threw some clothes in a paper bag. We left in the middle of a blizzard with cars spun out on each side of the road. Grandpa was in the front seat next to mom, setting the rules for the cats - if you leave the back seat it will be your final demise! He renamed Schnapps to Blinky because he would sit on top of the bench seat and just look at him, never blinking. Ultimately, we landed in Livermore, CA.
Mom always followed her heart, and after 20 years in the clean room garment sales business, her children grown, raised and making their own way, she again bucked the system and left her job to be an artist and instructor of stained glass. She created her own business and started teaching out of a shop in an orchard in Oakdale, CA and then onto the local college. Mom renewed her faith while in Oakdale and partnered with her church to create their stain glass windows to replace the ones that were in bad shape.
Mom loved the beach, she loved to sing and dance, to roller skate, she loved art and creating art, she loved God, her children, and of course her dog Max. There were no strangers to our mother, she had a kind heart and a gentle soul. That doesn’t mean she was a pushover. Far from it. You did not want to be on the receiving end or her wrath! But to those in her circles, there was endless love and encouragement. She was an inspiration to all around her and often described as a one of a kind. She will be missed by us all.
Jackie & Eddie