For just over 12 years I have had the privilege of knowing, and the pleasure of loving, a very kind and wonderful woman – my husband’s mom. Since our son arrived on the scene we’ve called her Bunia (short for Babunia). At just over 90 she has been in palliative care for the last few months with her health gradually declining. Walter went today and within an hour of his visit, she left this world for whatever is next.
I truly believe she was waiting for her “Vlady” to visit – so she could hug him and say ‘love you more’ – an expression both Walter’s parents would say as we departed or signed off a phone call. The love and acceptance this woman had for her family was endless. She welcomed me into their home from the very first day and we never looked back.
I have fond memories with one in particular – the day we brought our son to visit his grandmother at 3 weeks old. She held her grandson, looked up at her 54 year old son and said “Vlady…you have a son!” (picture the godfather kind of thing going on – but with a Ukrainian accent).
One of the ‘traditions’ of visiting Walter’s parents was to eat and then pack up the left overs so she could give us a care package. We encouraged her not to cook and suggested we go to the Chinese buffet (they were regulars there – especially on holidays!) and then we would adjourn back at their place for a proper visit. What I found humorous, after having eaten at the restaurant…we somehow still managed to be sent home with a care package full of food.
When Gregory was young, she started giving him a bag of chocolate to take home with him – something every good grandparent loves to do. I explained to Bunia that Gregory does not do well with the caffeine in chocolate – so she started sending him home with a bag of fruit. One time, I seem to recall he was about 2, the bag was as big as him – and he proudly carried/dragged it to the car.
I will miss this kind and loving woman. I take comfort though in knowing today she is no longer in pain and for that I am most grateful.
Bunia – We love you more!
The only video I have of Bunia is when she, Dito and Vlady (Walter) are singing to Gregory (not yet born) a Ukrainian song Walter hummed to Gregory throughout our pregnancy. These three are so cute!