My beloved cousin Lisa died last Sunday at the age of 93. This is my tribute to a remarkable woman.
|Lisa at 24|
At the time, the United States government did what we would now call profiling in dealing with the influx of European refugees. Hungarians, whatever their profession at home, were trained to be bakers. (I remember many Hungarian bakeries in the Fifties and subsequent decades.) Viennese were sent to massage school. So Lisa went to Florida to become a masseuse (don’t worry, not the X-rated kind), or perhaps the triage took place at some kind of refugee camp in Florida.
|Lisa at 41|
“Are you all right?” he called out.
She waved and yelled back, in the delicious Viennese accent she never lost in a long lifetime, “I can take care of myself!”
|Lisa at 68|
|Lisa at 72|
Lisa spent her final days in hospice at her own home and was surrounded by loving family at the end. I chuckled through my tears as I read in her son’s email that after she stopped taking medication and entered hospice, she “surprise[ed] everyone with her renewed vibrance for life…even swimming a couple times.” I wasn’t surprised to hear it—that was Lisa.