Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mama Elizabeta

Most of my quilts are named after friends of mine from Moldova, and I choose the names thoughtfully. I think about the colors of the quilts, the theme, the weight of the fabrics, and the overall feel of the finished product. Sometimes I have one name in mind, but when I'm done I know I can't name it that after-all, and I switch it to one that fits better.

The heaviest, most substantial, strongest, don't-even-think-of-lifting-with-just-one-hand quilt I've made to date was named Elizabeta. Mama Elizabeta, as she is known by everyone including our CO, died this week, just hours after her son arrived from Atlanta and a day after her son-in-law Vasile died. What this one woman accomplished in her simple life has had tremendous impact on our life, changing it in profound ways.

Elizabeta was born in Moldova, the poorest country in Eastern Europe. She had eight children, one of whom died as a baby. The surviving seven are Peter, Pavel, Michael, Alexandria, Galina, Tatiana and Aloana. She was an incredible rock of a woman who saw two of her boys go to prison for refusing military service, was part of an operation that printed banned literature in a farm house while avoiding the KGB, and then steadfastly fought the ravages her body put her through in recent years. Her family lovingly brought her to every event imaginable, until this summer when it was no longer possible.

Her children, grand children and great-grand children make up a large part of our Romanian congregation. What Elizabeta didn't amass in fame and fortune, she certainly made up for in an amazing family tree with roots deep in the things that matter. Her example is one to live up to. I'll miss those eyes that searched into me, willing me to do with my strength what she was no longer able to do. We love being close to her very extended family and feel honored to have known her.

Elizabeta with one of her very devoted grandchildren, Viorica.

Before the Sacramento Romanian congregation was formed.
Mama Elizabeta was related to more than half the group.

At our anniversary party on 10-10-10.