My "chochie" (Great Aunt) Marie, passed away yesterday morning at age 91. It's terribly sad to lose anybody, but for our family, it is our matriarch and our last member of my grandparents' generation.
Marie had a massive stroke Friday and was on life support. She never regained consciousness and never suffered, doctors say.
She lived a long, good life and was feisty til the end, spending decades after her husband's death with her daughter and son-in-law in sunny South Carolina.
Scott only met her once -- at her brother's funeral in 2007, actually -- and he loves remembering her HUGE personality, even to a then stranger.
We were sitting at a repast, a customary dinner following a viewing and funeral in the Ukrainian Orthodox religion. There were loads of emotions surrounding me and all of my loved ones that day. Over comes this short little old lady who pulls a chair next to Scott and says, "What's your name?"
"OK. I'm Marie I'm gonna sit next to you."
Scott laughed and spent several minutes talking to her.
"She's great," he said afterwards.
She was unable to make it to our wedding last month, but sent me a note explaining that she didn't feel up to it but that she was so happy for us. She enclosed bits of advice in her pretty cursive that I will treasure always.
Chochie Marie's daughter told family that in her last couple of weeks, the elderly lady walked around calm and pleasant, explaining once that she had done all she could in life and that she was ready to see her husband and other lost loved ones.
I am unable to make it home for her viewing, funeral or repast this weekend, but I like to imagine that I would have to pick some unassuming cousin's boyfriend or significant other and say loudly, in my best Jersey accent, "What's your name...?"
You are an inspiration and a huge source of strength.
You will be missed.
Til we meet again...
(Please give hugs and kisses to Mommy, Pop-Pop, Grandma, Uncle John, Cuz Nick, and all the others...)