Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Beautiful Life

God asks no man whether he will accept life. 
That is not the choice. 
You must take it. 
The only question is how. 
~Henry Ward Beecher

( Ellis Island)

I found another amazing story in the obituaries today. What an incredible, inspirational life.
"Our beloved mother was lifted on angels' wings to be reunited with our dad, Ted, the love of her life and husband of 64 years. Frances was a devoted wife and caregiver, who took loving care of her husband for 18 years, prior to his passing on November 1, 2001. She has missed him dearly and in spite of her loss, her faith and devotion to Mary, the Blessed Mother, provided her with the strength to live her life with a kind heart, grace, and laughter that touched the lives of all who knew her.

Frances, the daughter of ___, was born in Wierzbowczyk, Poland on July 24, 1921. At 19, she met our dad, Ted, a handsome, young officer, at a dance, and after a brief courtship, were married on January 28th, 1940. After only 2 weeks of marriage, the newlyweds were shipped by cattle train to Siberia and spent the next 2 years as laborers in a Russian concentration camp. Her son, Ted was born in Siberia and died at 6 months. Of the 68 families deported to Siberia in 1940, Ted and Frances were 2 of the 10 survivors. Mom believed that her First Communion prayer book sewn into the lining of her coat was the reason for our parents' survival.

After Stalin's declaration of Amnesty, in 1942, the young couple were separated for 6 years. Frances worked as a nurse in Africa, and Ted, a staff sergeant, served in the 2nd Polish Corp., in the Middle East and Italy. Neither knew whether the other was alive. The young couple were reunited in England in 1948.

In 1951, Frances' cousin sponsored them to New York to begin a new life. They arrived with a 15 month old daughter, a trunk of personal possessions, and 5 dollars in Ted's pocket. Job opportunities moved the family to Ohio, where 2 sons, John and Chet, were welcomed into the family.

Mom's fondest memories have always been of time spent with her cherished family and friends. Mom was a wonderful cook and baker, her torts were never duplicated. She was a gifted seamstress who made all her children's clothes. She enjoyed collecting angels, music, dancing, reading, embroidery, and making wreaths. Mom's garden and home were always filled with flowers. After her husband's death, she spent her time as the "master gardener" of Sunset Village. Although her physical health slowed her down she always recruited someone to plant and water "her flowers".

Mom was currently writing a book of her memoirs. The book remains untitled and unfinished, but her memories will remain with us forever. Mom was briefly employed at UT's Carter Hall athletic dining room. She enjoyed serving the athletes, "her boys". She fondly told stories of the huge quantities they ate and the unusual food combinations. A couple of "her boys" paid their respects to "mom" at our father's funeral.

We remember in our thoughts and prayers those who have predeceased our mother. Our father, Ted; her infant son; her parents; brother and 2 sisters."

We are SO lucky to live in this country right now. I find myself "whining" about the dumbest things...can you imagine what this young mother had to do without when she moved across the world with her baby? Can you imagine the "stress" of the unknown when caring for your sweet little baby, especially after losing your first born previously? The trust you would place in your husband to provide? That incredible love between two people who went through such devastating things? No parents to rely on, just your own bootstraps? And then to come through all that, and be a loving mother and wife who appreciated the simple, beautiful things in life, like flower gardens and baking, and laughing at college kids who eat too much?


  1. Thanks for sharing this, it really puts the little things which bother us into perspective.

  2. By God's divine power, I ran across your blog. This post touched me so much. Not just the the lovely obit, but your words. It's easy to forget just how blessed we are, you helped me remember my blessings today. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for this beautiful post...I truly needed this today and to be reminded of our blessings! After having a rough weekend, especially as a mother I am grateful for your words to bring me back down to earth - LOL!!♥
    P.S. I love reading your blog:)

  4. WOW!! That brought me to tears!! Can you imagine what that woman (that couple) endured? We could never imagine it - it's so far from what we "endure"! To be apart from your husband for 6 yrs not knowing whether the other is alive or dead? To lose an infant? To travel with nothing (like you said)? Wow! What an amazing woman!!
    I agree - your post brought a lot into perspective. Wish I could wear it on my shirt to always remind me. :(
    Thank you for sharing...

  5. What an amazing story. I can't imagine what that young mother must have been through, especially not even knowing if her husband was alive or dead. The story speaks volumes to their courage and dedication to their marriage. Thanks for sharing it. :)

  6. Goosebumps! Bless that woman's heart- what faith! This hits home so much- we have been working on really appreciating what we have and not always looking for something more- it seems to be a bad habit in our family.

  7. Excellent post, Sarah! I have been thinking on this sort of thing a lot lately myself. What an inspiration Frances' life is, even in death!

  8. Wow I loved that! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing and I agree that we all need to stop complaining and appreciate all we have. We are so blessed!

  9. What a lovely post, Sarah. Thanks for sharing. I, too have decided that I've had enough of all the "woe is me". It's really not that bad. How fortunate we are!

  10. Wow! What an amazing family! I agree -- there is way too much complaining nowadays!

  11. Wow! This was a powerful post. What a wonderful woman. I admire her. It makes me more grateful for what I have and also sad that her generation will all soon be gone. They went through so much and we can definitely learn a lot from them.

  12. What an awesome post. Life got busy, and I hadn't stopped by in a while, But I am so glad I took the time to read your blog tonight. And I am so blessed you took the time to share this ;)

  13. Beautiful post... I love your "say it like it is" approach. That dear, brave woman is evidence of how great our country is, still. My flag flies out in front of my home everyday in support of my brother in Iraq and my brother in law about to leave for Iraq. I am proud of them and proud to be American. I will keep this woman's story in my heart as well. Thank you... What a blessing your blog is and what a blessing to live in this great country!

  14. love this post. great perspective! i'm sharing this with my husband tonight. thanks!

  15. Thank you for this beautiful post. I am printing it to put on my refrigerator to remind me just how fortunate I really am.

    We all get down with so many of the "have-tos" and "I wants" today--I know I certainly do. The trials this brave woman faced make them all so small and unimportant. They REALLY are the "Greatest Generation."

    Thank you!