Friday, March 13, 2009

Sophie Chengelis Faras

Today is my mother's birthday and she would have been 87, but she passed away last August 10, 2008, in Youngstown, Ohio. I was fortunate enough to have been there with her, along with my brother and sister, aunts, uncles, cousins...
     While I was growing up my mother probably did every craft imaginable. (I believe that rubbed off on me a bit!) She also did them really well. Perfectly almost. And that was how her life ended also. Everything happened so perfectly. 
     When I got to Youngstown, it was pouring rain, but on the way to the hospital, there was a huge rainbow. My mother was pretty unresponsive and the doctor had given her a couple of days to live. We took her to Hospice House (a fantastic place, I might add). They took such good care of her and treated her so respectfully, she started to revive. Well, being the spunky stubborn old Greek lady that she was, she actually lasted 2 more weeks. We found that she hadn't lost her sense of humor and sarcastic wit. She even yelled at us for having BBQ Wings and not offering her any. That didn't happen again. She had pizza and beer the next night!
     We had great conversations where she said the most perfect things in letting us know how she felt about us and how we felt about her. 
     At the end she was not really conscious. We all just sat around her bed. She was dying, but it didn't seem sad; it was just being very present in that moment, watching her move on, working hard to get there. She was moaning and gurgling with each breath. Then I noticed she wasn't gurgling anymore. And she was breathing really slowly. Then the nurse walked in and said that this was it, (I don't know how she knew to come in at that exact moment) it was happening and she started rubbing my mother's feet. Everyone gathered around her bed. And her breathing just kept getting slower and slower and slower until it just stopped. It was so peaceful. She made it look so easy and gentle. And then it was all over. And then it was sad. It was a very beautiful death. It was all perfect. It didn't really seem perfect while it was happening, but looking back everything happened just the way it should have and I feel so lucky to have been able to have been a part of it all.To have gotten that time to be with her and talk and laugh and joke and be frustrated and sad and happy and be with my family. I can't imagine it any other way.
     After her funeral there was another rainbow.


charley said...

Thanks for sharing your journey with your Mom, she must have been a feisty gal. How generous to get to spent those two weeks together with that normal family chatter in spite of the circumstances.I felt a sense of peace wash over me while I read that part.

Love Stace

Michael said...

Dear Evelyn,
i am grateful for your mother's story. It sounds magical with the rainbows and the additional time...chicken wing time...well, yes, beer and pizza...good greek food.
I know you are an amazing cook because of your mom....I also know she has feed your art spirit...which
I am grateful for because your work feeds me...feeds the eyes of my soul....feeds my spirit.
Thank you for the story...Happy Birthday Evelyn's Mom

Anonymous said...

Dear Evelyn-Now I know who taught you to live in the moment and to enjoy that moment and while we're at it let's make this moment creative, crazy and loaded with people and food! Thanks to your mum! And I hope some of it rubs off on me. See you this summer for more moments. Besos, Kathy (Cuenca)

Tricia said...

Hi Evelyn,

Reading your words about Sophie gave me a warm feeling and a big smile. My own memories of her are flashing through my mind and my smile is growing. Thank you for reminding me of all those hours spent together at Yaya and Papu's home.

Much love always,


beautifulpirate said...

That is lovely. It happened sort of the same way with my great grandma. I loved her completely and she was one of my favorite people in the world. I felt nearly every word that you wrote in this...

Campbell Jane said...

I saw you on Etsy and just dropped by. What a wonderful story and tribute to your Mom. I know how badly you must miss her.
God Bless

Sylvia said...

Awww Litsa, this brought tears to my eyes. Sophie was such a special person, and that She really looks like "the twins" in the early days.
I'm really glad that my Mom was able to make it back there too.