Mom was a wonderful caretaker. Mom took excellent care for Daddy after he had his stroke until she had hers. She made sure he took his pills on time, fed him the proper food, and devised quite a system of “doing his pills.” Mom had customized a pill case for Dad, so that he would never miss a dose of his numerous pills.
Mom gladly took over the care for Aunt Jay after she had her stroke and entered the assisted living facility. When we had health issues in our lives, Mom would be sure that she came to help nurse us back to health.
When we didn’t make the best decisions in our lives, we knew Mom was there to accept our mistakes for what they were, and help us however she could. Mom was a wonderful Busia to her beloved Andy and Matt. I think she secretly wished she would have had more grandchildren, and Mary complied by giving her 3 by marriage.
One of Tom’s favorite Busia stories about Andy was that Mom was visiting them in Indiana when Andy was about 4. Andy was “reading” a book, and Mom was curious to see if Andy could actually read. So, she asked Andy to read to her. Andy replied, “ Read the book yourself!”
Once she was present when Matt was presented a gold medal for being the fastest runner in the class. When Matt realized the medal was not real gold, he became upset. A week later Matt received a golden trophy from Busia with for being the fastest runner in his class. Matt beamed when he saw the trophy and it is still one of his most cherished possessions.
Mom was a dedicated worker. She was not one who needed praise or laud for her activities. After Dad had his stroke, Mom took over reigns and was president of the Different Strokes Club for 11 years. We were surprised to find out that she had actually been the president for that long.
She took her duties of being secretary for WAVE meetings very seriously. Joan remembers that when she was in the hospital waiting to have her heart surgery, that Mom asked her to type her WAVE notes. So, being the good daughter, Joan went home, typed her notes, and brought them to her to proof. Mom was not satisfied – she said she liked “newsy” minutes and spent the entire afternoon rewriting them.
She enjoyed being a part of the DeBary Garden Club. I don’t think they ever talked her into being an officer, but she faithfully watered the flowers at the library on a weekly basis. Mom always enjoyed bowling, and bowling was her outlet for some personal time when we were growing up. Mom bowled every Wednesday with the Strokes’ Club until her stroke.
Mom was also the hostess with the mostest. Mom enjoyed cooking and entertaining the “gang” of Florida aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was always fun to go there and enjoy a great meal and conversation. Mom took her hostess duties seriously. One time when Daddy’s van caught fire and burned in the driveway, Mom had made coffee and pulled out Danishes to offer to the firefighters. She was too busy performing her hostess duties than to be concerned with the van.
Eleanore who had never been in a hospital other than to have her kids, had open heart surgery in October 2003, and sadly had a massive stroke 4 days later. The Dombrowski kids and family had to pull together and become the Team Dombrowski that Mom and Dad had developed and nurtured when we were children. We found ourselves faced with decisions that we never thought we would have to face concerning Mom and Dad’s care. Eleanore faced her new fate with grace and courage. She always tried to help the nurses care for her. She still would try to take care of Dad by trying to fix his collar, wipe his chin, or making sure his shirt was tucked in.
She communicated her negative desires by giving us what we now affectionately called “The Hand”. Mom loved pink. She liked to wear pink, and she used pink in her decorating. She looked pretty in pink and in the last few years we made sure there was plenty of pink for her to wear. So whenever you wear pink, think of Eleanore. She will be smiling down on you. (And yes, real men wear pink too!)
In conclusion, Eleanore was a caring, nurturing, giving, compassionate woman. She had many wonderful times and touched many peoples’ lives. She faced her difficult times by relying on her Catholic faith and inner strength. We will all miss Eleanore’s wonderful sense of humor, gorgeous smile, and good cooking. However, God decided he wanted her now. She is at peace now, and will always be with us in our hearts and thoughts. We love you Eleanore! Rest in peace and keep everyone organized and in line up there in heaven!
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