I would like to share a few personal words about my mother.
She was not from here. Youngest child of elementary school teachers, Christos Tsamis and Paraskevi Spiliotopoulou, she was born and raised in the clean mountain air of the northern Peloponnese.
She knew what cold and hunger are. In the middle of a cold winter night in December 1943, she watched German soldiers break into her house, kick her mother (literally) out on the ground and burn it down to ashes. They were left with no beds, shelter and food and were not allowed to keep any blankets. Yet, she never had hatred in her heart.
She went to Athens for the first time when she was 16 years old to find work, soon after WWII ended (1946). She worked hard at a notary public’s office and gave all of her earnings to support her poor mother.
Never liked friction or felt jealousy and resentment for anyone or actually argued with anyone (except for my dad, who left her with no choice sometimes). She could be very stubborn, but she was also very cheerful and deeply enjoyed being sociable in the most routine everyday human interactions, greeting people, neighbours, friends, and family and laughingly (not just smilingly) exchanging queries and information.
She loved people and she was loved by people. In her name day (in Greece this occasion is more important than a person's birthday) she would receive between 60 and 70 well-wishing phone calls (representing 60 to 70 households). Neighbours used to joke that she could handily win a local election with her popularity.
She would read me stories to eat or put me to bed or cheer me up in the morning, as I would wake up quite grumpy (or so the story goes). She loved going to church and chanting Byzantine hymns and was a real thesaurus of Greek countryside poems, superstitions, and proverbs.
She had lived here in the 1980s, when my father's work posted him to the Greek Consulate General in Toronto, liked the place, and made many friends. But her home was Athens and she returned with my father in 1992. She visited my sister and I here a few times afterwards, but despite our pleadings for her to stay here for good, she preferred to live in the old country. Until 2013, that is, when her health started declining and we brought her over to live with my sister's family. My sister, Daisy, and her family took complete care for her with the utmost devotion until the end.
Although, she smoked like a chimney (from 16 till a few weeks ago), her passing was unrelated to smoking.
A very dear friend of mine is Muslim. When I was in devastating pain because of my father’s passing on September 4, 2010, he told me that it was Ramadan and when people pass in Ramadan, it’s because God wants them near Him.
It’s still Ramadan today…
Tuesday June 5, 2018 at 6:34 pm