Re: Mother is here!
To all the messages on the challenges of having Mother (or in-law) visiting
What a gentle feeling that came over me this morning, as I remembered the
Christmas of 1992. As some of you may know or recall, my mother Pauline
Banyai had suffered many years with congestive heart failure and passed away
Dec. 18 that year, with the funeral just 3 days before Christmas 1992.
In 1990 we almost lost her at age 70 but modern medical technology in the
form of some heart work and medication gave her two more years. Knowing that
her life was nearing the end she spent as much time as possible with friends
and family, including hosta people. Those two convention years, Minneapolis
and Columbus, were extra special, as some of you may recall.
In November 1992 she had two passions: get the newest hosta seed crosses
together and think about surviving the winter. The seeds got done but the
winter proved too long.
In early December 1992 I mentioned that we might like to come visit her for
Christmas, as a way of cheering her up. But she asked if she could come our
way instead, which we agreed to. The wonder of her fading stamina and yet
great spirit still inspires us. Visiting local Delaware hosta friends, seeing
her grandsons perform Christmas plays and musicals, cooking up Christmas
cookies for her grandsons, you knew she was doing what she wanted to do, even
under great pain. We spent her last evening going out to a special birthday
dinner with our middle son Aaron, then watched 3 hours of video tape of hosta
gardens, with her mind and comments sharp as ever. She went to sleep and
never woke up.
This morning my wife Lois mentioned that the 1992 Christmas may have been
very hard on me but the family was really close together, at her Madison
Heights home. I recalled the unselfish love of folks like Dan Attkisson, our
neighbor, who agreed to help me videotape the garden the next day in the dead
of winter to capture all the latest garden markers she had put in, in case
they got moved in spring cleanup. What a guy -- Thanks a milllion again Dan.
Others too numerous to mention made very generous gestures that cannot be
Now the real reason for sending this message: my mother-in-law ( 67 years old
) just spent 4 days with us. She is not the "messy housewife/gardener" that
my mother and wife subscribe to, but rather one who sees all the dirt, dust
and clutter inside. This is the first visit we have had in 25 years of
marriage that there were no negative comments. Such as change spells no good
for the future - something is up!!! But she is welcome back anytime, no
So, take it all in stride and enjoy people as they are, not as you may want
them to be. Let's all give the other guy a little slack.
PS: My mother-in-law took the best photo of my mother's front garden on the
July 1993 Metro Detroit garden walk that featured her garden in memorial. The
photo hangs in our living room!
Season's Greetings to all!
bruce and lois banyai
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