Friday, October 25, 2019

Celebration of Life for Edna Helmrich

Jan. 22, 1927- Aug. 29, 2019

(October 20, 2019 - Wiltwyk Golf Club, Kingston, NY)

Good morning and welcome to each and every one of you who made the trip and took the time to come to celebrate my mom, Edna Helmrich.  I am so glad you are here.

She was born on January 22, 1927 in Brooklyn, NY and she left us on August 29, 2019.  She lived for 92 ½ years…about 5 years longer than she probably would have liked.  

Edna, or mom, or Grandma or Nana or whatever you called her lived a wonderful life.  Most of it spent with the love of her life, Billsy (William Helmrich), to whom she was married for 65 years. They adored one another….and while I often thought they were total opposites, I never once saw them fight and they totally understood one another.  

My mom was truly my hero and my role model.  She taught be how to be a mom, a wife, a friend and even a cancer survivor.  She had breast cancer far too young, before it was OK to even say the word, and at a time when you really didn’t talk about it or tell anyone. I watched her handle her illness with such grace and strength that when I was diagnosed 10 years later, I knew exactly how I was supposed to handle it…the same way she did. With courage and dignity.

My mom was funny and smart.  Smart about life and about people.   She “got “ people. She understood everyone and for the most part, everyone loved Edna…she volunteered everywhere Weight Watchers, Boy Scouts, Brownies, PTA, synagogue, Sisterhood, Hadassah, B’nai Brith (which were all the same organization as far as I was concerned)….and she loved her work as a geriatric social worker. And she was the best bargain shopper around.

If you knew Edna, then you were familiar with her wisdom.  In case you might have missed some of her “Ednaisms”, here are a few:

On health:
“M” is for Milk you need to drink plenty, not tea or coffee before you are twenty.

You will catch a cold if you go out with a wet head.

On life:
A journey of a thousand miles starts with but a single step.

That’s why they make vanilla and chocolate… and throw in strawberry. 

Age is a number, hers was unlisted.

It never hurts to ask! The worst that can happen is they will say no.

On fashion:
Plain is shane.  When in doubt, wear black.

On Sex: from here up is all his, from here down is all yours.

On Marriage:You should definitely try on the shoes before you buy them!

On relationships:  Every pot has a cover.

Always be nice to everyone.  Every person is someone’s child.

On Ego:
If you think you’re so great, can you make a hole in this glass of water?

If you were embarrassed about something you did, Edna would tell you no one would remember it the next morning (and she was usually right!)

I miss my mom….a lot.  When she was well….we talked on the phone every day, sometimes it was for just a minute, sometimes for an hour.  When she told me a secret she would ask me to “kiss my pinky”.  When she bought me a present, she told me she got me an “S” for surprise. Even during these past 5 years as her dementia worsened, she has been there for me in my mind and in my heart.  I remember her strength, her zest for life, her sense of humor and her warmth. I recently read a Modern Love piece in the NYTimes about death and in it it said, "Death ends a life, not a relationship." She is still my mother, I am still her daughter.  That will never change.

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