Mom-Mom's Eulogy

Here is the eulogy I gave at my grandmother's funeral today, along with a few photos I took.

Such a strong, strong woman.
Today is our chance to say thank you to Mildred Vichko for being a great mother to her children and a wonderful grandmother to us all. Today we celebrate Mom-Mom, as so many of us called her, and many of her admirable traits.

Truth be told, I had a difficult time putting them all into writing. No matter how hard I try, it just didn’t seem to do her justice. Here’s a strong woman who’s been living independently for the past 18 years ever since Tu-Tu, the love of her life, passed away. I still remember the gleam in her eye when she would tell me the story of her and Tu-Tu’s first kiss on the roller coaster at Burlington Island.

I’m sure each and every one of you here today has something to share about how my grandmother touched your life; a story to tell.

For me, her determination stands out most. Some might use the word stubborn, but since this is a quality I proudly got from her, I am sticking with determined. When she set her mind to something, she always got her way...

Philadelphia Phillies phlower arrangement.
Just ask her sons Bobby or Billy about the leaves in her back yard, or Ronnie about the leaves in her gutters. Daughter Kathy would then follow up their work by power washing her sidewalk.

You have never seen a cleaner yard in Burlington County than 6 Beechwood Ave. When autumn came, she was out there almost every day raking leaves and picking up twigs. And when it got to be too much, that’s when her kids would be called in to help out. Not so much called in, as summoned.

One of her great passions was her beloved Philadelphia Phillies. Leave it to Mom-Mom to wait until AFTER the Phillies finally won the World Series to pass away. Now that’s determination! In 2006, at the age of 90, the baseball club named her their Phan of the Year. As a fan for 75 years, she was so tickled by their decision! They sent her down to the Phils spring training in Florida.

Unfortunately, she fell ill during the trip and had to have emergency surgery. In true form, she kept fussing the whole time, saying that she ruined our trip. I told her she most certainly didn’t ruin it, but she wouldn’t hear otherwise. Our four day vacation became 11 days, with my mom and I running back and forth from the hotel to the hospital until Mom-Mom was able to fly home.

All the boys.
Last month, I was talking to Mom-Mom on the phone, and she apologized again for ruining our trip. I told her she hadn’t, but that in fact she’d given me a gift: 11 days in Florida with her and my mother. 11 days away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, spending it with my two favorite women in the world.

Funny thing is: Mom-Mom didn’t differentiate much between blood relatives and other people she considered family. There were her daughters-in-law, Bev, Leslie and Katie, who never were merely “in-laws” to her – they were her daughters as well. Son-in-law Jay was her fourth son.

She had her church family, which granddaughter Michele would take her to every Sunday. And she had her neighbors, John and Mary… and their children Brian and John, who affectionately called Mom-Mom “Nana Midge.”

For you see, Mom-Mom, your greatest gift was your ability to bring us all together. Whether it be the pool parties at their house, with all of the grandchildren there: Michelle, Kelly, Jared, Tim, and me. Or taking us on camping trips in their RV. Or even making us root beer floats when we didn’t feel well.
Carnations on her casket.

Back then your greatest gift was your ability to bring us all together, and you do that today, as well.

There are leaves in the yard, but you are not here to rake them. There are Phils games on TV, but you are not here to view them. There’s a wedding to attend on Saturday, but you are not here to see Jared and Jennifer walk down the aisle together.

You are not here in person...but you are here in our hearts. We all grieve today for we lost a great lady. But I know she is heaven now with Tu-Tu, Ronnie, and Leslie. I’m sure she already has a to-do list for Tu-Tu.

And I know she’s happy and content with what she left us – namely, the leaves. Speaking of which: Bobby, Billy, can you head over to the house after the funeral and take care of those?

Related post:
Why Grandmothers Rock, and the Importance of Thank You Notes

My Flickr albums of Mom-Mom: