Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anniversary – One year ago today, MOM (Tina Unruh) WENT TO HEAVEN 2007

She was 88 years of age and she had been married to Dad (Ed) for 66 years, and at 11:00 PM Eastern time her life came to an end in the Tabor Manor home where she had spend the last few years of her life.

We are lonely still, we three sons and our wives and our children and their children. Not for the woman she became in the last years, distant, unresponsive, ill and struggling. Because she became that, we were relieved for her sake when her body shut down. We mourned that Dad was left alone at age 92. We were saddened that our relationship with this woman was now entirely one of memories. She was known for the strength of her hugs and we all remembered that but could no longer feel it. We remembered her blue eyes but could no longer gaze into them. We remembered how proudly and thankfully she spoke of her children and grandchildren and their accomplishments but we could no longer hear her. We remembered how predictably well put together she was, how attractive her clothing and hair and face but we could no longer see her.

The truth is that as her mind grew frail and her memory clouded, she changed, not willfully but helplessly. She could not care for herself because she was increasingly unconcerned about how she looked and unaware of how to affect her appearance. She was increasingly uncommunicative because recognition and language was not accessible to her. It took an agonizingly long time for the erosion to transpire and even as it did, the ravishing young woman with whom my father had fallen in love, and the strikingly mature woman whom he grew to love more than life itself disappeared from his view but not from his heart. He handled his grief so admirably as his family observed. I am thrilled forever that my grown children, and my brothers’ children were all present in a beloved group hug when they heard the soft voice of my father stand by her body to say, “Goodbye sweetheart. I’ll be seeing you soon.”

Did I say we miss her? Dad missed her more. We miss Dad as well. Four months later Dad celebrated his ninety-third birthday and one month after that, our able bodied, keen minded father left for heaven too. Apartment 313 became available and they moved into a mansion.


  1. beautiful dad,
    elegant, graceful and honoring.

  2. Oh Dad, thanks for that.
    She was a beautiful lady inside & out and I do miss her and my dear sweet grandpa too.
    Loved how you wrote that last sentence - they truly are in a mansion now!

  3. Thanks Ron, It is nice to have others like yourself to remember and grieve in a good way.Diane and I attended a memorial service on Wed. for those at Tabor who died in their fiscal year from Oct.07 to Oct.08 so it was for both parents.I shouldnt have gone.It brought back to many memories and they were only 2 of 39 people who died.So needless to say,something was said about all.Diane thought it was good so it was just me.

  4. Sincere thanks Ron for your creative, sensitive and beautiful memory of Tina. She lived well, open hearted, and as you described, with massive hugs and smiling eyes that looked right through your soul. Mother taught us all how to wear clothes well, and Tina, a product of her mentoring did the same with her
    daughters-in-love. It wasn't just "clothes", but how to live embracing - life, others and
    God. Tina expressed her wish to die with her beloved Edward and God granted it - nearly! My love for her is now carried over to her amazing family. Grieve well,
    knowing this is just an intermission. The parting kiss by Edward was deeply moving.

    Esther McIlveen

  5. Thanks Uncle Ron. Great writing. We carry on a legacy left of loving well because we all were loved well - not perfectly, but well. As I read your post, I was paralyzed by the image of her holding me so tight, caught in her intensly loving gaze, not wanting to let me go. Such rich memories.