Viewing hours for my mom will be from 3 to 7 on Friday at Novak Funeral Home, 4476 N High St.
Funeral mass will be 10 AM on Saturday at Immaculate Conception church. Thirty years ago mom had a heart attack, and received triple bypass surgery. She recovered well, and pushed on to live an amazingly full life, rich with experience. All of her doctors marvelled at the longevity of her original bypass: the longest any of them had ever heard of. Ten years ago she had an artificial valve placed in her heart, necessitating more bypasses. She scheduled the surgery so as to allow ample time to recuperate in order to attend my graduation from OSU. That's one example of the kind of thing she did all her life: work out ways to ensure that she was able to participate in the lives of her loved ones.
Mom started her own consulting company, and became a world-recognized expert in her field. Her training sessions and conference presentations were popular because they were hands-on, informative, lively events. She worked hard to engage, rather than lecture. She constantly challenged her peers to grow beyond the bounds of the status quo in the pursuit of making the world a better place. I know, beyond all doubt, that the world is a better place as a result of her work, and her influence on the lives of the people she met.
She travelled around the globe, meeting new people and embracing new ideas. She never lost her passion for travel. Even when her health made it awkward, she continued to book events overseas. She slowed her pace, but never stopped, and in the last few years she got to see a lot of places she always wanted to visit. The fact that she was doing what she loved on these trips was an amazing bonus.
The lives of her family were also greatly enriched. To listen to mom talk about her experiences in Armenia, or in Thailand, or to listen to her talk about work in South Korea, or Brazil, was truly remarkable. She consistently fueled my own passion for travel, and my own unceasing wonder for the world in which we live. When work had me travelling throughout Europe, mom always had a suggestion for a place to see, or a particular dish to try. Her suggestions were never disappointing. When I would come home, weary from the flight, I could never help but smile when I saw mom waiting for me. I could never help but gush about all the wonderful things I'd seen and done. She always listened attentively, truly enjoying my enthusiasm.
My mom also made it clear how special Carina was. She considered Carina much more than just a daughter-in-law. She was a friend. From the beginning, mom welcomed Carnia and the twins into her home, and her life. She was genuinely interested in Carina's life, and was immensely proud of her for sticking with her education in order to graduate. She never stopped encouraging Carina to pursue happiness, but she was wise enough to also help Carina recognize the balance necessary between work, school, and home.
Mom took great delight in being a grandmother. She loved the twins with all her heart. She was a compassionate, thoughtful role model for my daughters, and I am so thankful that some part of her will live on in them. Whether baking cookies, or taking them to the swimming pool, or simply tucking them into bed so that Carina and I could slip out for a date, she made it clear in every action just how special each girl was to her. Mom never smiled quite so broad as when relating some humorous tale from her time with the twins. She encouraged their enthusiasm for exploration, nurtured their love of learning, and was everything a grandma should be.
As we say our final goodbyes to mom, life around us continues to move at a dizzying pace. The twins celebrate their ninth birthday on Sunday. On Monday I begin my new job at OSU. I am deeply saddened to know that mom will not be a part of these things, knowing how excited she was about them. It pains me to think of all the conversations we'll never have.
She was a wonderful woman, a good friend, and a superb mother. She taught me how to live a life full of love, honesty, and compassion. She showed me what it means to be a good spouse, a good parent, a good friend, a good person. I am who I am today because of her unfailing love and support.