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I haven’t been posting regularly to my blog or Twitter account because of an event that I am still trying to comprehend: the death of my mother. She passed away suddenly on June 17 surrounded by several of my siblings and other relatives, but I missed her last living moments while driving my car, racing to be by her side before it happened.

Although my mom had lived a long life, at 88 years old she was still very healthy, showed no signs of illness and recently had a positive check-up with her doctor. What completely caught my family off guard and shocked us all was a “wish come true” for mom; she wanted to live long and die fast, did not want to linger or be kept alive by machines and explicitly said so in her living will. The suddenness of her death is difficult for me to accept, but I am relieved she did not suffer and that her life ended in a dignified way.

Mom, Dad and pet LuckyThis post may not seem topical for a blog about the nature and environment in Vermont, but the relevance is in the term “nature”. My mom was a “good-natured” person who equally loved and accepted all her children and grandchildren. She was a devoted and loving wife to my father for over 60 years, a mother, grandmother, a caring and helpful soul to those less fortunate, a good neighbor, patriotic citizen, religious (but not fanatical), a walking dictionary, gardener, lover of animals and nature, an excellent cook, baker and master crossword puzzler; she was a bottomless well of patience but refused to be disrespected by anyone. Her name was Aneila (she pronounced it a-neel-ya; the Polish pronunciation is an-yell-a, and means heavenly messenger or angel). My mom’s parents emigrated from Poland in the early 1900’s, eventually established a farm in Pennsylvania and had six children. She was the last of her siblings to pass away.

My mom and dad were the parents of 10 children with myself being the youngest, and from their children came many grand, great-grand and great-great grandchildren. I have several fond memories of my childhood surrounded by family; every holiday with my siblings—and as they married with their children also—my parent’s house would be loud with kids and adults talking, laughing, telling stories, eating and playing. My mom would prepare holiday dinners that were delicious and incomparable to anything I have had since those days. Holidays were special but we spent lots of other time with my parents because they instilled in us the importance of staying close and supporting one another as a family.

I eventually moved away for college, did some traveling, and made my permanent home in Vermont. Wherever I roamed or however difficult life could be, I always carried a sense of security with me that my mom (and dad) would always love and accept me: it is what got me through some of the most trying times in my life. Now without her (or my dad) I feel such a sense of loss, like a part of me is missing. However, what is not missing is the strength of character she gave me and it will get me through the sadness.

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