Ann lived to be 95, but in some ways she never was old. Her code of life was timeless: generosity, kindness, understanding, and empathy. There are people in this world who had the heart of saints. She was that person.
Her life’s mission was to give, spread joy, give again. She rooted for you like no one else. Her laughter echoed through a room, and her solemn prayers were songs to her.
She would whisper her prayers at different times of the day. Sitting on the couch. Standing in the kitchen.
As a young woman, she was the one you turned to about feelings. She listened and would offer the most soothing words imaginable. She hardly ever raised her voice, was understanding, and always wanting to help others. Ann’s mom was her best friend.
Ann’s devotion to her family was paramount. She always pitched in to help family members and especially doted on her grandchildren and great-grandchild. She was there for you. She was ready for the call to watch the kids. She helped prepare the dinners. She washed the dishes. Loads of laundry, she was there. She was chairwoman of the ironing board.
Ann never met a child who wasn’t adorable, sweet, someone who would brighten her eyes and dazzle her conversations. “Isn’t that baby beautifulllllllll,” she asked in enthusiastic exaggeration. There wasn’t any occasion she wouldn’t enthusiastically join in: shopping, dining out, music, theater, horse racing, and other social occasions. Whatever sports the kids were involved in, she was ready to cheer them on. She watched baseball and basketball games on TV and knew exactly who she was cheering for.
Ann spent much time crafting messages of love – cards, cards, cards. She loved greeting cards and would add her messages. She could have been in the Hallmark Hall of Fame. She loved putting everyone’s birthday or anniversaries on her calendars.
She was a bookkeeper and office manager. For several years she worked near the docks as she regaled family members with getting a ride by a distant relative so she could safely go to work one day and there could be trouble. She escaped any problem! Mom, mom, there were mobsters!
After her husband died at age 70, she maneuvered her own life, drew up the courage to move to move far away into her own condo, knowing and relying on a son and his family nearby.
Never enamored of animals, she did, however, take to the family pets. But don’t let insects or other “strange creatures” get in her path. When tiny lizards would make their presence known, she kept a wary eye on them, with a vacuum cleaner nearby.
Ann had quiet determination and turn-on-a-dime discipline. A non-smoker half her life, Ann took up smoking in her later years. But when she was stricken with an illness in her 80s, she quit, “cold turkey.”
As an octogenarian, she was walking a quarter-mile from her condo every day to see her son and his family. Sometimes people would see this elderly woman on the sidewalk and ask her if she wanted a ride. No, thank you.
That spirit of life helped her overcome many illnesses in her later years. She would get very very sick. And then bounce back, up to her old self.
The last time I spoke to her was probably a couple of weeks or more before she died. She was in the assisted living facility, ready to plan her day. She wanted to write checks. She wanted to go shopping. She wanted to get her hair done, all things she loved. Maybe get some chocolates. That was her plan, anyway. She would be a little upset when she saw her son unkempt in a video chat. “What’s up with your hair?” She asked. He had played tennis. “Did you win?” she asked. Yup, she was a bit competitive.
It is Mother’s Day weekend when we honor our moms. Ann was the embodiment of a Mom, and then some. – Joe Cantlupe, Health Data Buzz