On December 26, 2019; D. Patricia Elsnic (nee Haas); beloved wife of the late Henry Robert Elsnic; devoted mother of 3, dear grandmother to 6, and great-grandmother to 8. went to be with her Savior. This is the abbreviated form of the obituary. I left out names for the sake of privacy. What you do need to know that this is the beginning of the obituary for my mom.
The day after Christmas started the way most of the first day after Christmas normally starts in our home. It was quiet. It was going to be a day of rest and relaxation, It was going to be a time to play with our new toys if we received any, read a new book, chat, stay in our pajamas, and eat leftovers.
I had just told my 25 year old son I was doing nothing for the day. I was going to have a day like I just described.. Within in 5 minutes the phone rang. It was early, about 8:30. Okay that is not early in the day necessarily, but early for the phone to ring. Little did I know that my life was about to change forever. It was my mom’s aide. She was in tears and in great distress. My mom had just passed away. I kept asking if she was sure. Of course she was. The day had changed from one of relaxation and hanging out with the kids and husband to grief, urgent activities, shock, and sadness.
My son, poor guy, found out the news while I was on the phone trying to put the pieces together in my own mind. I went upstairs to tell my daughter. She was just getting up. I had a moment to compose myself, but I still did not do a very good job there.
Now, for some perspective, our kids are young adults. Both had off for a week and a half for Christmas and New Year’s. It was the first time in a long time we were having an extended period of time together and that they both had time off from work. We were looking forward to 7 more days of being together. We did, indeed, have those 7 days and a lot of family time, but not in the way we had ever anticipated.
Happily, the Monday before Christmas, my daughter, sister, niece, and I had lunch with Mom. We had a great time. Mom loved every minute of it. She giggled a lot. She smiled. Asked us the same questions again and we gave the same answers. That is how it was this time and the times before. Mom would giggle when she did not remember something or did not know quite what to say. It was the dementia, but it was also her personality. She was always the optimist. She did not want to become grouchy and difficult. She wanted to be the sunshine in other peoples’ days. This picture is from the Monday before Christmas after our lunch. She was so happy that day.
I could easily write a book about my mom, her life, her outlook, her devotion to her family, her love and devotion to my dad. Perhaps one day I will. For now, we sort through a lifetime of memories and a lifetime of stuff as we work to clear out her home. For now, I am trying to focus on how much I have to be thankful for. Waves of grief come and go. A laugh here and there as a memory comes to mind. There is the listening to a voice mail that is still on the phone from December 23rd.
One more note for now. My parents were engaged at midnight on New Year’s Eve 1948 into 1949. On the 71st anniversary of their engagement we buried Mom next to Dad. We didn’t expect to see his casket in the mausoleum space, but it was as if he had been waiting for her. Theology details aside, we chose to look at it as if they had been reunited on their special day after nearly 7 years apart. Mom and Dad will always be in our hearts. This picture is from the evening of their wedding on October 15, 1949. It shows just a snapshot of how happy they were. I would love to think their reunion was filled with those healthy and happy smiles.
Spend time. Make memories. Maybe clear out some stuff as you have time. Be thankful. Mom, may you rest in peace in the presence of God. I love you and I always will.