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?