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In Memory of My Mom

My mom passed away Wednesday night. Erna Teschler died in Kansas City, Missouri on March 19, 2014 at 5:40pm CDT. 
Erna Teschler 
Sitting on Santa's lap, Christmas 2013
After a serious illness and a close brush with death a year ago, I moved her from Grants Pass, Oregon to live here in Missouri with my husband, daughter and myself. She was placed in the care of Crossroads Hospice, a local agency. After mom regained her strength from proper care, good eating habits and a loving environment, she began to thrive. Even though she spent many days alone while we were at work, she enjoyed the companionship of a grumpy old lady cat named Lucy. Lucy quickly became her BFF. Lucy would take naps and inform my mom when it was time for her bowl to be filled. My mom also became the “doorman” for the other two furry family members, Bella the dog and Reggie the Hobo cat. Most evenings after work, we received full reports on how Bella had escaped into the neighborhood and was gone for hours until some helpful stranger brought her back home. Mom didn’t care much for Bella’s free spirit. Mama would also report whether or not Reggie (Hobo cat) had or had not made an appearance that day. Many days he did not, due to his (similar) wandering nature. Lucy was the only animal that received Unconditional Love from mom (because she never left the house).

Mother's Day 2013, with granddaughter Andrea, daughter Joanne (3 generations)
Mother's Day 2013, with granddaughter Stephanie
Due to her illness, Mom didn’t get out much; she tired easily and was tethered to a tank of oxygen. She did enjoy spending quarters at the casino, but only made 2 trips during the time she lived with us. So, for the most part her days centered on the cats, the dog and whatever TV show she was hooked to at the time. She started out being a full-blown Golden Girls addict, later moving to CSI Miami, Criminal Minds and most recently, every Tyler Perry Madea movie ever made. I always thought the fascination with the Madea movies was the funniest or most ironic, given her twisted and dead ex-husband was a full-blown Nazi (seriously). She loved Madea though. When I asked her why she was watching another movie again (that she’d already seen), she’d tell me “They’re educational” or “they have good messages”. (Kudos to Tyler Perry). Mom was addicted to Coke, ice cream and black licorice (Yuk). She had an insatiable sweet tooth. She was lucky because I told her if she was fat and ever got diabetes, she’d be up Shit Creek, because I would cut off the Sugar Train.

1993 her first and only trip back to Germany
Born in 1934, in Hitler’s Germany, my mother lived a difficult childhood, at best. For a short time her mother was held in a Concentration Camp for speaking out against the Nazis. Mom met and married dad during his Army tour of Germany, after the war. My grandparents had since divorced and even after marrying, my mom remained with her sick mother for nearly a year to take care of her until her death. After my grandmother’s passing, in 1953 my mom crossed the Big Pond by ship to New York; from there she took a train to meet my dad in San Francisco.

Two items made the trip (over a span of 60+ years) from:
·         Germany to NY
·         NY to San Francisco
·         San Francisco to Texas
·         Texas to Hawaii
·         Hawaii back to Texas
·         Texas to Oklahoma
·         Oklahoma to Oregon
·         Oregon to Missouri
·         Back to Oregon
·         And finally back to Missouri

Those two keepsakes are a vase that’s at least 75 years old and an ink and watercolour drawing of her home town: Marburg, Germany. I have them now and hopefully someday my kids will cherish them as I do.
Ink drawing, Marburg, Germany
Vase
My mom was relatively small, about 5’-1” and 130 lbs. when she was healthy.  I guess in outward appearance, she may have seemed frail or maybe even defenseless, but as mean and tough as I think I am, it cannot compare to the strength and fortitude she had to leave your home, travel to live in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and starting a new, successful and happy life. My mom not only learned to speak English, she gained her citizenship before she had me, 5 years later. As easy as it is to travel and communicate in today’s world, I still don’t know if I could take a leap of faith like that.

Oct 2004
Erna Teschler was married to my dad for 21 years. Together, they raised three kids: me, a brother and an unexpected baby sister (that came from Hawaii). During the three years we were in Hawaii she also went to Cosmetology school. She worked as a Hair Dresser (Stylist) for the rest of her working life.

Mom made a lot of moves in her life, but resided in Germany, Oklahoma and Oregon all for over 20 years each. In 2004 after divorcing her second husband, I convinced her to come live with us. While she adapted well in her early years, she did not like the bigger Kansas City as compared to the simpler and smaller Grants Pass, Oregon and moved back a year later. That move was much harder for me (than for her, I think) as she wasn’t as strong and healthy and to know I couldn’t be there to take care of her or help her out when she needed it. I thank God that he kept her well enough to move back with us for the last 13 months of her life. She made our lives richer and, Lucy the cat happier.
1993 (L-R)  Sister Hilde, Mom, Brother Helmut & Wife Annie
Reunited after over 40 years
Mom was a thrifty person who could squeeze 15₵ out of a dime, but was extremely generous to others. After her second divorce she lived on a very meager budget but would share extra garden produce with neighbors and friends. She was not a “joiner” and preferred staying home to driving, visiting and getting about, but was a gracious hostess when company would call on her.

My mom is survived by two daughters, one grandson, three granddaughters, three great-grandchildren, her favorite son-in-law, many friends all across the country, and Lucy the Crabby Cat.
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I love you Mom. We miss you already.
Glamour 1950s
While I do not know all of them by name, I want to acknowledge the friendship, love and kindness of a few people I have personally met. You all had a special place in Erna’s heart and for that my family and I are eternally grateful:
In Oregon: Tom G., Pam and Ken C., Ginger and Staff at Laurel Hills, Dr. Burchette and Dr. Powell
In Oklahoma: Heike G.
In Missouri: The Loving Staff at Crossroads Hospice: Michelle, Stephanie, Carissa, Sandy, Bruce, Beth, Kim, Jasmine, Jennie and Kendra. I know there were many more at Crossroads that helped my mother end her life with comfort and dignity, but I did not meet all of them and cannot remember all of them, especially during the last 2 weeks.

Her remains are being cremated and a Memorial Celebration will be held this summer. In lieu of flowers, we are asking that anyone inclined, make donations to:

10810 East 45th Street
Suite #300Tulsa, OK 74146
Tax ID 73-1620755

501(c) (3) Nonprofit Organization. 

Or click here to donate.


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Thank you for allowing me to share a little bit of my history. I love comments, leave yours below.



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