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Even after death, this friendship is still growing

"Nancy, You Were Such a Mom"

By Marcia Galik
The Cincinnati Enquirer

My friend Nancy is gone, at age 41. My age. To use a cliche, she was a devoted wife and mother. As another friend, Julie put it, "If you lined up 100 women and were asked to pick a mother, you would pick Nancy."

We had a private joke. I would say to her, "You're such a mom." That was a compliment. Especially before I had my own children I was in awe of the things she did for and with hers. Decorating T-shirts for all five in the family to wear on a hayride. Making Halloween costumes. Planning large birthday parties. Popping popcorn on a cozy, snowy day for no other reason than to have fun and spend time together.

Nancy represented total commitment to her family, without selfishness. It's tough sometimes for the rest of us to understand. After I had my two boys, we continued the joke. When she saw me out playing with them or taking them to the park, she'd say, "You're such a mom." That was a compliment, too, and I knew it.

A giving neighbor

Several years ago, there was a herd of kids - all ages, all sizes - playing in Nancy's yard with her three daughters, who were among the oldest in the group. She walked out of the house carrying a huge tray filled with drinks, cups and snacks for all. I couldn't imagine putting together all these goodies for such a huge group of children, and I told her so.

Her reply: "That's why children start off small. You work up to this." Pretty smart.

Never did Nancy talk down to anyone. Her comments and advice were always warm and genuine. She truly never had anything bad to say about anyone.

As my friendship grew with this generous next-door neighbor, I was able to see just how giving she was. The West Chester community tends to be transient, so welcoming those new to the neighborhood can grow a bit tiring. Not for Nancy. She always had her own little welcome wagon of goodies, smiles, and introductions for new people. The beautiful part is that she never thought about how special her visits were. But people remembered them.

One flower remains

Cancer hit Nancy undetected until it was too late. The summer of 1997 was her last. She passed away on Aug. 11, leaving behind a very sad husband, three daughters ages 17, 14, and 10, and numerous friends and relatives who miss her dearly.

Several years ago, I remember Nancy planting lots of violas, small purple and yellow flowers, in one of her flower beds. Soon they seeded and spread, even to my yard next door. When she tired of the violas after a few seasons, she pulled them out.

A week after Nancy's death, I found ONE viola among my 100 pink and purple petunias, a reminder that my friend continues to touch me even after she is gone.

Thank you, Nancy, for the lessons in patience, friendship and generosity.

And thanks for the flower.

This article was published by The Cincinnati Enquirer on February 9, 1998 and was written by Marcia Galik.

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