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In the early morning hours of April 27, 2020, my Mother passed away peacefully. In fact she had lowered her head for a nap some thirteen hours prior, and never woke up. She was not a COVID-19 statistic. She was tested later and she did not have the virus. However, COVID-19 has played a large role in preparing my dear Mother's funeral. A traditional mass has become impossible. Churches are closed. There will be no bereavement luncheon. At least not in the near future. These traditional items such as viewings, masses, and fellowship that we come to expect where loved ones can hug and kiss my Father and I offering condolences are suspended under the current social distancing environment. The minimal funeral procedure means everyone must remain a proper distance and the chairs in the funeral parlor strategically measured a safe distance apart. These are the times we live in. No one has to like them. We just need to accept them. As a result this post is for those family and friends who cannot be with my Father and I to celebrate my Mom's extraordinary loving life. I've placed a copy of my eulogy below so that they can feel connected across the social distancing divide; unable to attend. My Father and I thank all of you who have reached out to us during this time. We say thank you. Please take care of yourselves. Continue to show love for each other, and God Bless.
-- G. Ciszewski.
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FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL OF YOU HAVE COME OUT TODAY TO CELEBRATE MY MOTHER’S LIFE. I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL MEMBERS OF THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY … THE ADAMS FIREHALL EMS TEAM THAT CAME TO THE HOUSE … AND THE STAFFS OF DEGRAF MEMORIAL AND BUFFALO GENERAL HOSPITALS WHO DID ALL THEY COULD TO HELP MOM BEFORE SHE SLIPPED AWAY PEACEFULLY.
PEACEFULLY IS THE WORD HERE. AFTER WATCHING MASS FROM OLC ON THE LAPTOP … AND BEFORE THE LATER EVENTS OF THAT SUNDAY AFTERNOON … MOM HAD PLACED HER HEAD DOWN SEATED BETWEEN US … DAD ON THE COUCH AND I IN THE LAZY-BOY AND SHE WENT TO SLEEP. THAT IS THE LASTING IMAGE I HAVE OF THE DAY. HER BEING WITH DAD AND MYSELF. THE THREE OF US TOGETHER. HOME. HOME WITH MY FATHER AND I IS WHERE SHE WANTED TO BE. THERE WAS A TIME OVER THE LAST TWENTY MONTHS THAT WASN’T ALWAYS A SURE THING AFTER HER FALL. HOWEVER … THOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY GATHERED HERE TODAY KNOW FIRST HAND MY MOTHER WAS A VERY PERSISTENT AND STUBBORN PERSON. THAT STUBBORNISH WAS THE STRENGTH THAT HAD GOTTEN HER OUT OF MANY CLOSE CALLS THROUGH THE YEARS. IT ENERGIZED AND MOTIVATED HER. IT KEPT HER GOING THROUGH THE DARKEST OF TIMES. MOM USED TO LIKE TO SAY SHE WAS BIONIC AFTER NUMEROUS REPLACEMENT SURGERIES. HIPS. KNEES. SHOULDERS. I THINK OF ALL THE COUNTLESS HOURS OF REHAB DEDICATION AFTER EACH WITH ONLY ONE GOAL IN MIND. TO COME HOME. TO COME BACK HOME TO THE HUSBAND AND SON SHE LOVED SO MUCH SO SHE COULD SPOIL US WITH WHAT SHE DID BEST. COOKING. USUALLY STARTING WITH THREE STICKS OF BUTTER. HER CHRISTMAS COOKIES WERE SO LEGENDARY THEY TOOK UP COUNTLESS SHELVING IN THE GARAGE. MY CO-WORKERS SALIVATING EACH DECEMBER WAITING FOR THE DAY I BROUGHT IN A PLATE OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES ESPECIALLY FOR THEM.
COOKING WAS A PASSION FOR MY MOTHER. SO WAS SPOILING. THAT’S WHY SHE’D BAKE SOME EXTRA CUT OUTS WITHOUT ICING … FRESH HOT OUT OF THE OVEN … FOR MY FATHER AND I. SHE PROBABLY DID IT AS A DECOY TO DISTRACT DAD AND I SO SHE COULD CONTINUE ICING THE OTHERS. ON ONE OCCASION SHE PROVIDED US WITH SAMPLE COOKIES FROM A NEW RECIPE. I REMARKED HOW AMAZING IT WAS. SHE QUIPPED BACK … YOU KNOW … ITS NOT MY FIRST RODEO. THAT QUIP IS MY MOM IN A NUTSHELL. MY FATHER AND I LOOKED AT HER SPEECHLESS.
THAT WAS MY MOM. EITHER BAKING CHRISTMAS COOKIES OR MAKING PIES AND OTHER TREATS FOR THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE LADIES ALTAR SOCIETY SHE WAS ALWAYS COOKING OR BAKING … SOMETHING. I ASKED HER ABOUT IT ONCE AND SHE SAID THAT PASSION AND PROPENSITY FOR QUIPS CAME FROM HER GRANDMOTHER HOSMER. I IMAGINE NOW THAT THEY ARE TOGETHER AGAIN AND HEAVEN IS BEING WELL FED.
AND PERHAPS THAT’S ANOTHER WORD TO MAKE NOTE OF. PASSION. MOM WASN’T JUST PASSIONATE ABOUT COOKING. SHE WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT HER FRIENDS. SHE WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT MANAGING ALTAR SOCIETY CARD PARTIES. SHE WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT THOSE ACTIVITIES THAT BROUGHT JOY TO OTHERS. MOST OF ALL SHE WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT HER FAMILY. IT WAS THE THREE OF US … ALTHOUGH SOMETIMES SHE COOKED AS IF THERE WERE EIGHT. MOM LOVED DAD AND I … AND WE LOVED HER.
SHE KNEW THAT. THE DAY BEFORE SHE PASSED THE WEATHER FINALLY BROKE OUT OF THE WINTER DOLDRUMS INTO 60 AND WE WENT OUT FOR WHAT WOULD BE OUR LAST FAMILY RIDE. I HAD ASKED HER IF SHE ENJOYED GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE AFTER BEING COOPED UP FOR SO LONG. SHE DID. MOM WAS AN ACTIVE PERSON WHO DIDN’T TAKE KINDLY TO CABIN FEVER. THAT RIDE WILL BE A LASTING MEMORY FOR DAD AND I … AND I THANK THE GOOD LORD THAT HE GAVE US SUCH A WONDERFUL DAY BEFORE HE CALLED MOM HOME.
I WON’T RAMBLE ON WITH MY FATHER’S AND MY MEMORIES OF MOM. EVERYONE HERE HAS MEMORIES OF THEIR OWN OF HER. ANYWAY MOM WOULDN’T LIKE IT. AGAIN … ANOTHER SAYING OF HER’S … THE MIND CAN ONLY ABSORB WHAT THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS CAN ENDURE. IN OTHER WORDS BE BRIEF. I LOVE YOU MOM. I MISS YOU. SO DOES DAD. WE WILL ALWAYS MISS YOU. WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU. AND LOOKING DOWN FROM HEAVEN I KNOW YOU MISS US TOO. GOODBYE FOR NOW UNTIL WE ALL CAN BE REUNITED IN CHRIST LATER.