Ilona, (Helen), Mom. May 14 2019
"I have learned to give, not because I have many, but because I know exactly how it feels to have nothing."
Okay, so Mom said it her broken Hung-lish, with a smirk and glint in her eye, but she really meant it.
Give time. Give words. Give kindness. Just give.
And she definitely did. She also made sure her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren knew how to as well.
On the night of May 10, 2019, Mom passed in her sleep in the middle of the night. It was just as she wanted it.
Mom was a tough, strong and resilient woman who defied odds constantly. One of the family jokes was that she had way more than 9 lives and that cats had nothing on her. I could tell you all about them, but this is a blog post and not a novel ... here’s a snippet of a book we really should write ...
Born in 1933, Mom had a tough life growing up in depression era Hungary. Tougher still surviving war torn Europe in WW2 with her 3 brothers, sister and mother but loosing her dad (my grandfather) to a bombing raid. But she fought hard to survive and even persevered after she lost a child who was almost year old. Then only months later fleeing the Hungarian Revolution, landing as a Canadian refugee in 1956 with her husband, a 3 year old daughter (my sister), and one suitcase. Without knowing a word of english, and its 40 below zero. Now, that's tough. And all along she gave of herself to others. Helping cook, wash, take care of others as the refugees boarded trains in Halifax travelling west.
She and Dad created a life in Canada raising three kids and creating community around them. Cooking at the church for all the rest of the refugges, finding work where she could, eventually becoming a printer, raising us kids (and any other kids we brought home with us). She just kept giving of herself.
My parents loved exploring what Canada had to offer, camping, fishing, and traveling around Canada in freedom. She also had a unique sense of humour, baked amazing pastries, stitched like mad, was always willing to help out anyone where she could (even a stranded guy at side of road with ducks...) and was a uber resourceful! She literally could grow vegetables in gravel, she didn't need to, but she would show you how ("because that's what we had in our first house," she would say, ... "a yard full of gravel").
I will be forever grateful for her and all the sacrifices she made so that I could live my life, safe, secure and out of harms way in a free country. I will also be grateful that she was in my life as long as she was.
She saw things and had to do things I don't think anyone can even fathom or comprehend and for that I feel incredibly grateful for her. She taught so much and gave so much more.
Really am going to miss you. Love you Mom.
As a side note ... please forgive us if we miss a step or two in the next little while, thanks.