Note to my readers: Life is not all about hips. My hips hurt still and are quirky, but my heart hurts with the raw pain of loss. Please celebrate today with all you've got regardless of your hips.
You are known to us as mom, but to others as "seester", wife, daughter, grandma and friend. There can never be any one moment or time that will define you, but rather a kaleidoscope of emotions, experiences, ideals and relationships. Relationships with your brother who has known you as an integral part of his family. He knew you when you were a teenager dealing with an annoying little brother who was 13 years younger than you. He knew you as you became a wife and as you became a mommy. There were ongoing jokes that lasted your entire life - between just the two of you. You were there for his wedding to his beautiful wife, Kathy, who we heard you shared giggles with the evening before you left us.
You were a faithful wife to dad truly showing what the phrase, “in sickness and health” really meant when you took your vows on July 3, 1965. You have loved dad with your whole heart, mind and soul and we knew with all of our being that these last 17 years of missing dad only proved that time does not heal all wounds. Hearing you talk about dad and how much you missed him makes this easier as we know you are now at peace.
You were our dad’s Querida - the woman who put up with his jokes and who had your own wicked sense of humor most times. You were the woman who traveled the world beginning on your honeymoon with the love of your life and instilled a love of travel in your children. From Spain to Poland to Israel and beyond. You experienced travel that allowed you to see the vulnerability of others in this imperfect world. What did you do with that knowledge? You acted on that vulnerability and supported others through your acts of service.
You were a daughter. A daughter who made grandma and grandpa beam with pride of your accomplishments as a teacher, a wife and a mom. You were their daughter, but also their friend. You walked both of them home as they aged and ailed. You shared laughter, martinis, travel and an unending love. You were named Faith Hope and Love by your parents, and they loved you from the moment you walked into their lives in March of 1940. You answered to Glo Glo and your parents adored you. Plain and simple.
You were our mom. We had our moments as most mothers and children do. We are sure there are times where we rolled our eyes at you as teenagers. We know there were moments of impatience as we got older and made our own choices - perhaps choices that you would not have chosen for us. But we always knew that you loved us like a mom does - with unconditional love. You cleaned up skinned knees and broken hearts. You welcomed the birth of 7 grandchildren. You traveled with them to places like Washington DC, Alaska, Washington, New Mexico and Hawaii. You shared the pride that we had in our own children. You always called us on our birthdays with an off-tune rendition of Happy Birthday. Each of us may admit that we answered the phone with hesitation on our birthday morning as we were reminded that you were not a melodious mom. We knew, however, that you were an artist. You painted a picture for us of strength, love, faith, devotion with the vivid colors of resilience, hope and joy. In the words of Alexander Hamilton of Broadway show fame, “Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” We are hopeful that we, as your children, will continue to provide the water and nutrients to the seeds you have planted.
You were a grandma. Known as Grandma or Gamma Powski depending on who you asked. You are being remembered by your grandchildren for those same off tuned birthday songs. For leaving $5 bills underneath pillows after visits. For celebrating with a margarita on a 21st birthday. For sharing yellow watermelon at street fairs. For defining love in an imperfect world.
Mom, one of the greatest blessings that we have and the one that brings us peace is knowing that there were so many others who loved you. We knew that your community - your church family as you called all these amazing people in your life -loved you. Many of them have shared the effect of your love, your smiles and your laughter. And, yes, even the same off-key Birthday song was heard by them as well. You were called amiga by some for over 50 years. Some of your friends you raised kids with and traveled with. Some of these friends were your students. Some also thought of you as their “2nd mom”. Others were your relatives, who because of a shared ancestry and mutual love for each other, called you friend. Some of your friends who have known you for a much shorter time have also shared that you had a positive impact on their life. Again, there was that smile, that laughter and your faith.
You have many friends and family who are celebrating you. They are here to walk you home. You are home. You have peace painted by a lifetime of love. You will be remembered and loved deeply.