To The Herald-Whig:
Today I came across my mother's obituary. She had 80 years of life, and what did she do with them?
She was a child of the Depression, a child of German immigrants. She didn't have many material things -- a doll and a broken-down bicycle that she rode to her "job" miles away to clean houses and take care of children.
She was brought up in a family who loved her -- a family who valued God, family, neighbor and community. The family knew hardship and poverty but had a great love for music and education.
Fast forward to married life -- at 36 with eight children ranging in age from 0 to 11, she moved over 200 miles from her support system due to my dad's job. He traveled and was gone from the house on business during the week. Alone, she dealt with little money, a tremendous workload and all the physical and emotional difficulties of a growing household for many years.
She allowed us to work hard at home (gardening, household tasks both inside and outside) as well as care for younger family members and neighbors in need, working alongside us. She allowed us to work out struggles with other children and adults with a listening ear and an open heart. She taught us right from wrong although it would have been easier to always believe in our goodness and words. She gave meaning to God as a higher power and heaven as the place to strive for. She taught commitment and love daily through word and action.
She enabled us only to grow into responsible adults who appreciate family, church, neighbor and community. This was her "enabling" -- a good moral foundation, a good work ethic, the ability to deal with life and people, but most of all a great love for God, family, neighbor and community.
Thank you, Mom.
Mary Kratochvil Koch