Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Remembering Ethel

I met Jean Baruch's mom Ethel when I became Jean's first Director of Bead Donations at Beads of Courage. Sometimes I would stay at Jean's sister Deb's house in Tucson if I was helping out at a BOC event because I live in Phoenix. This is where Ethel and I bonded over morning coffee - we discovered we both loved our cup of morning coffee so much! I found her this wonderful art coffee mug at a local bookstore and gave it to her thinking she might like to use it sometimes. The next time I saw Jean, she said "Mama loves that mug you gave her and she drinks her coffee out of it every morning." Well that just made my day that I could give her that happy spot in the morning.

You see, Ethel was always and forever a mother. It didn't matter if you were her kid or not, she enfolded you in a big hug, smiled that big, warm smile of hers and you became family. You just knew that when her kids were growing up she was the mom on the block feeding and taking care of everybody. Her heart was as big as all outdoors and she loved people. She baked the best cookies and had a great sense of humor. Her spirit shines on in her children Jean and Deb who are paragons of community service and full of love and compassion for their fellow human beings. And they can make me laugh long and hard and give great hugs.

When Ethel returned to Minnesota this last time, I knew she probably couldn't take her coffee mug with her so I went shopping for a new one to send her. I looked forever but they all just seemed so ordinary and not special at all for my special coffee buddy. Then I found it, the perfect mug, and sent it off to her.

She sent me a card and told me she loved her new mug and what a wonderful surprise it had been to open the box and see it. We made plans to have coffee together in 2012 when she returned to Arizona but it was not meant to be. Ethel left us on January 3rd, 2012 and I will miss her terribly.

I know the mug will have to stay behind, but I know the message will always be with her.

The message on the side read simply "You Are Loved".