My Facebook Thoughts

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Rest Mom, Rest

This week my sister and I said goodbye to our mother.

Frances Plocharczyk was the kindest, gentlest soul I ever had the privilege of knowing.  I was proud to be her son and prouder that she was my mother.

The following is the eulogy I had the honor to write.

God Bless You Mom.

1936 - 2017


Thank you all for gathering with us to rejoice and remember Mom, Ma, Grandma, Fran, Franny, Aunty Fran, Mrs. Plocharczyk, Mrs. P, or Mom Ploch.  Yes, Mom was somebody to so many people and she wasn’t even on Facebook.  As kids, my brother and I called our Mom so often during the summer months our neighbor’s parrots used to mimic us calling her. 

I’m sure each of you has a fond memory of our Mom.  That is who she was.  She was that person you would meet that makes you feel good and positive regardless of how you felt before you met her.  The amazing thing is she had no reason to be such the positive soul she chose to be.

She grew up at the end of the Depression during WW2.  Her family was not wealthy, some might even say poor.  She had four children, Scott, Todd, Gail and Mark.  All boys were physically disabled with Todd dying at the age of seven.  Our Dad worked while Mom took care of the home.  Dad died 30 years ago leaving behind a small insurance policy.

Despite what many would call a hard life, Mom stayed positive.

There was always food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over our heads, and presents on holidays and birthdays.  When you visited her house you were welcomed with,
“Can I get you anything?”

And by the time you left her house, you left having eaten some amazing homemade food, having drunk a good glass of your choice, or having a good laugh about the past, present, or future.  You left her home feeling full in body and soul.

To us, she was Mom.  She was Gail’s roomie, cooking instructor of the family’s recipes, dinner partner after one of too many doctor’s appointments, and best friend.  On her last night, Gail sat with Mom watching a Harry Potter movie, a simple Sunday evening.  This was what Mom liked.

To Mark she was the source of never ending support.  When he wanted to enter a computer training program, Mom never hesitated to support him.  It meant getting up early to be ready for a van to take him downtown to class for nine months.  It meant having his shirts and ties ready for work.  Her support helped him get his start in computers which changed his life forever.

To Donna, she was a second mom.  She was a good listener whenever she had a problem.  She taught her many Lithuanian traditions that Donna cherishes to this day.

To Jimmy she was a great person to be around.  She was always happy.  Jimmy knew he was especially loved as her one and only grandson.

You can’t talk about Mom without talking about her cooking and baking.  She could get a shoe to taste delicious.  Over the years she had created more lamb cakes around Easter than the Shepard’s flock of sheep.  The list of specialties is too long to list.  But rest assured, she has past the cooking torch to Gail.  Gail will be taking lamb cake orders after mass. 

Mom also got to be a Grandma.  It was fun to see her watching Jimmy grow up.  He does enjoy cooking from time to time so maybe her love of cooking rubbed off on him as well.

I think I can best sum up the type of person Mom was by sharing a story about the day Scott passed away.  She had taken care of Scott for 54 years.  In the last few years it was extra difficult as Scott required help with every aspect of his life.  As Gail, Mom and I gathered around during Scott’s last few breaths, Mom says to Scott as he lay there,
“I hope I did enough for you?”
She gave him everything she could and was still concerned if it was enough.  That was who she was.

I won’t go as far to say our Mom was a saint.  She did; however, seem to embody two quotes I’ve always liked by Saint Teresa of Calcutta

"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action."

and

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."



Our Mom did not change the world.  She did, change the world of those around her.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

What's In Your Bucket?

People are amazing creatures.  If you watch them long enough you might scratch your head until you're bald.

In the disabled community there has been an ongoing debate regarding society's propensity to kill off us gimpy ones.  There have been many stories in the news involving the disabled and death.  The reactions to these stories are different when it involves a disabled individual.

When the world learned that Robin Williams had committed suicide we were shocked.  Stunned that this man of high tense hilarity had killed himself left many to wonder why.  Many assumed it was his life long struggles with depression that drove him to hang himself.  Then when we learned it was more likely he could not handle the dementia diagnosis he had recently received.  Society was more like, oh yeah I can understand that.  Williams couldn't handle being disabled, society approved.

There was a mother in 2014 who killed her THREE disabled children because it was very difficult to care for them.  One would think a murderer who confesses would spend the rest of their life in prison or a mental institution.  Society seemed to agree with her and she was home with her last non-disabled child in a year's time.

There was a woman with ALS that hosted a two day party then was euthanized at the end.  She lived in a state where that is legal.  The media loved this story.  

The most recent story is one that really made me scratch my future bald spot.  A 14 year old girl from Wisconsin decide she was tired of being disabled and in pain.  She wants to choose hospice and no longer use her ventilator.  Because she was only 14 she did want to experience Prom.  So word got out, money and services were donated and about a 1000 people helped this girl at her "Last Dance".  The girl in this story and I have the same disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  While SMA is no picnic, its also no gloom and doom existence either.  But, the media ate up this story and people were Ok with a 14 year old, basically, committing suicide.  A fund was setup that raised over $30,000.

FOR A 14 YEAR OLD GIRL TO DIE

I compare myself to this girl because we have the same disease.  I, however, want to live.  Am I in pain?  Hell yeah.  While writing this blog I have to stop every 5 minutes just to shift my butt to avoid getting a sore.  My neck is bent at an awful angle which is painful every night at bedtime.  Because I can't eat very well I've lost 100 pounds in the last three years.  I'm so skinny my bones are making sores from the inside.

Despite my listed woes, (trust me there are more), I WANT TO LIVE!  
  • I want to see my son become whatever he chooses.  
  • I'd like to see the White Sox, Bears, and Blackhawks win another championship.
  • I want to have drinks with Tom Hanks, Barack Obama, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jim Gaffigan.
  • I want to go on vacation with my mother, who raised three disabled children and didn't kill us.
  • I want a roll in shower.
  • I want to see my Facebook friends & family face to face.


I want to see if society will agree.  

Society needs to know, being disabled is not the end of the world.  Sometimes, being disabled, is the beginning of a whole new world.

Will society share my story and donate to living?  Let's find out.

If you support living, share this story and/or click life here,