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My Mom's Eulogy
May 11, 2018 PERSONAL
Summing up my mom's life in a few words is an impossible task. She always would say that one day she wanted to write a book, not realizing that all along she had been writing the novel of her life's story in her scrapbooks. Every moment is meticulously documented in her handwritten stories of her time spent here and each happening illustrated by countless photographs. My mother had an amazing ability of making everyone feel that in her eyes, they were the most important person in the world. Look around and let this sink in. Every one of you here is either included in one of her scrapbooks or are a part of one of her narratives. Mary found a role for everyone she met in her book of life! You were all considered extremely important characters in her life story.
Searching through her truly amazing, endless writings these last few days and pouring through the 47,253 images on her hard drive, she has shown me how much she loves us all. Be it the birthday cards, pocket angels, wind chimes, rock hearts, seashells, comfort crosses mom was always giving her time sharing her endless love.
My mother was born June 18, 1945 here in Bristol, Connecticut to proud parents Felix and Clara Sopczneski. Grandma Clara once told me that my mom was too busy to get fully dressed she only wore underpants to feed the squirrels and rode her tricycle, screaming at the top of her lungs because she so was happy to be alive. And live she did.
Starting in High School My mother sure was popular! She was junior prom princess, the harvest queen, senior class secretary and homecoming queen! It was destiny that my dad was picked as "The One" by the girl everyone loved. They started dating at 17 and would spend 55 priceless years together.
On my parents wedding day, my mother documented in her scrapbook for this memorable occasion that during the father daughter dance, her dad sobbed in her ear. She wrote that at that very moment she realized that the man who never seemed to be able to express aloud his sentiments showed her with his tears that he indeed truly loved her!!
Growing up my mother did not want us to have a household full of store bought toys. Looking around my house now I can see why. When Ali and I were little, it was up to our imaginations to occupy our time together. I would look to my sister for all of her creativity whether it be filling garbage cans with water for a pool, using mom's camcorder to make our own music videos or creating Barbie houses out of cardboard boxes, we stayed busy.
Many of my childhood memories took place at Woodridge Lake. Hours after all of the chores for the day were done and the lunches packed. We were off to the lake in the afternoon. The car couldn't start until everyone inside of it was buckled-up. On the way to the lake, Ali would be the DJ in the front seat; I was delegated to the back seat. Mom belted out whatever tune we were listening to at the moment. Time spent together was Great. Once we arrived at the lake, Ali and I would be splashing around in the pool while my mom worked on her latest project or visited with the day's guest. If a storm rolled in, as they often do in the Litchfield Hills, we headed inside while everyone else vacated the property. The gigantic windows in the clubhouse overlooking the lake became our movie screen. We had a private viewing of one of mother nature's spectacular shows. Once the storm passed, back to the beach we went. The day wasn't complete until the sun set on the lake; it was like magic, uniquely different each time.
My mother always used to tell me that since the moment I was born, I wanted to be near her, so much so that she wore me in a "Snugglie" (or what I call a baby book bag). Looking back now, not much has changed. I could never talk to her enough, or be around her enough, she was intoxicating to me. While I was in elementary school, my mom's passion for photography grew. This was the beginning of her recording a huge event in people's lives, their wedding day. In time I became her assistant, which enabled me to spend more time with my mother. The young me looked forward to the time in the car with my mother and the meal provided at the wedding rather than the photography. She loved telling people that I worked with her for the food, she was right. We all know that when Lou had something more important to do at the moment, her cooking skills suffered! She had been known when in a hurry to turn whipped cream to butter and cheesecake into soup. As a kid working with mom was not always good. There were a few embarrassing moments. I feel asleep at the first wedding I ever worked. There was a fart or two that my mom somehow let slip. The self-supplied ziplock bags she kept in her camera bag that she packed with, her "to go" food "for Dad". The sounds that she made as she ate the meal that she was enjoying too much in front of people we had never met before. As time went by, I finally realized that all those things were not that important, it was our time spent together and the bond for our shared love of photography. My mother was then able to pass on to me her greatest passion, Photography!
My mother's final two years were a challenge. They had to be impossibly difficult for her, knowing that, the seemingly perfect being that she became to us all over her first 70 years, slowly began to slip away. My father, Mary's MAN heroically was by her side every step of this journey to help her along in every possible way. My mother, Mary Louise, Lou Lou, would not want any of us to feel sorry about her passing and how it came, but she would rather know that we all hold her in our hearts, always remembering that we were all so very important to her, each of us a staring character in her Book of Life.