She Loved

SHE LOVED TO DANCE
And did whenever she had the chance.

SHE LOVED TO HOLD HANDS
I’m not just talking about the millions of times she’d grab one of my unruly child hands before crossing a street or while strolling through a crowded mall. I mean like when I’d visit her in California and we’d be sitting side by side watching television and she would casually reach over and take my hand and place it gently in her own. I usually let her.“—Lisa

SHE LOVED TO KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST NEWS
She read the San Diego Tribune daily and religiously watched the evening news. At 5:00, no matter what she was doing, she’d “shhh” anyone within earshot and turn on the TV so she could be in the know.

SHE LOVED BEING A GRANDMOTHER
Brianna and Blake and MJ and Loy. They were her treasures.

SHE LOVED TO WASH HER DISHES TO A SPARKLING SHINE BEFORE PLACING THEM IN THE DISHWASHER

SHE LOVED COORDINATED OUTFITS
She hated the way I dressed. I still cannot rid my memory of her barring me from leaving the house one day while proclaiming, ‘You cannot wear a pink dress with black shoes!‘”—Lisa

SHE HATED HAVING TO CHANGE LANES ON THE FREEWAY

SHE LOVED A GOOD LOBSTER DINNER

SHE LOVED PLAYING GIN RUMMY
And she won far more often than not.

SHE HATED BINGO

SHE LOVED HER CHILDREN
She was forever gloating about Lisa’s accomplishments, Scott’s business acumen, and Marc’s big beautiful heart. Marc, her firstborn, called her daily and she adored hearing from him. She loved her baby boy Scott so much that when you’d ask her (in recent years) how many children she has she’d often say, “Four: Marc. Lisa. Scott. And Scott.” She must have felt that she could never have enough of him.

SHE LOVED TO BE THERE WHEN YOU NEEDED HER MOST
Even if you mistakenly believed you didn’t need her, like right after I gave birth to Loy and didn’t want her to fly up from San Diego to stay with us, but she did anyway and everything she did to help was exactly the right thing, from keeping at bay the myriad visitors (while graciously accepting their dropped-off meals) to cleaning the house to holding the baby so I could shower to teaching me the lullabies I would sing to Loy for many years to come.“—Lisa

SHE LOVED BEING THE FIRST ONE TO CALL HER KIDS AND SING TO THEM ON THEIR BIRTHDAYS

SHE LOVED TO QUOTE OLD WIVE’S TALES

SHE LOVED TO FISH
Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration. She enjoyed when Marc took her out on his boat in Missouri.
Mom would never touch a fish or worm so when she was here I gave up fishing to help her. The priceless look on her face every time she caught a fish was so worth it. The excitement, the thrill, the squeal of joy she would give out I will hold forever and relive whenever I’m out on my lake. There is a point at the start of a cove that she named “crocodile point” because Mom thought it looked like a croc’s mouth. I will always call it that. Every time I look out at the lake the first thing I see is that point and it makes me think of Mom.”—Marc

SHE HATED CLOSED-MINDED, RACIST, OR SELFISH PEOPLE

SHE LOVED THE GOOD TIMES SHE HAD WITH OUR FATHER

 

 

But she hated him for leaving her after thirty years.

 

 

 




SHE LOVED A NICE PURSE
And she had quite the collection.

SHE LOVED TO SHOW OFF HER MAGICAL GARDENING SKILLS

SHE LOVED ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
One year a mama bird made a nest in one of her planters on her deck. She considered moving it, but knew that would be cruel. A few days after the babies hatched she woke up to find her body covered with small itchy bites: her house had been inundated with bird mites. God, that made her so mad.”—Lisa

SHE LOVED HER SISTER SHARON
So much so that she moved from her beloved California condo to a gated community in a state she very much abhorred, just to be nearer to her. Sure, they had their differences, and yes, they fought over the silliest things, but the devotion those two had for one another was immeasurable. “She was my world.”—Sharon

SHE LOVED SHARON’S HUSBAND MARTY
We had a lot of fun together. Sometimes when I had work in San Diego I’d stop by and surprise her and her eyes would light up when she saw me. I remember one New Year’s Eve, she was dating that Woody guy at the time, and we all went to a Disco. We danced the night away. She could boogie like no one else. She was my wife’s sister, sure, but she and I had something special between us.—Marty 

SHE LOVED HER EXTENDED FAMILY
Particularly her sister’s children and grandchildren: Jen and Howard and their children Cameron and Ashley and Noah; and Jamie and his children Nathan and Arianna. 

From left: Cameron, Blake, Ashley, Nathan, Mom, Arianna, Noah, Brianna

Ashley, Cameron, and Noah had their own special bond with her. Ashley and Aunt would always enjoy playing dolls or Barbies together, especially when we would visit her at her home. Cameron would enjoy the cars and trucks that she played with him and looking for the special snacks/cookies at her house. She and Noah developed a very silly relationship making up the most ridiculous names for each other. Like when she called him peanut butter he’d call her hot dog. For a long time she called him meatball and he called her pizza.”—Jennifer  

The first time I met Aunt was at a Pesach Seder dinner at Jen’s parents’ house. I really didn’t know anyone that night other than Jen, and I was a little nervous. That’s when I met her. Aunt. I called her that right away. Even before I knew where my relationship with Jen was headed. Even before I called Sharon and Marty, “Mom and Dad.”  I called her “Aunt” because that’s what Jen called her. Never “Aunt Florine.” Just “Aunt.”  Aunt had a spirit about her that made you instantly comfortable around her. And yeah, she was, what’s the right word? She was…elegant.”—Howard

When I was a young girl, Aunt used to come spend the night at our home in New Jersey. I would always want to sleep with her because we would stay up talking for hours.  Our talks were always so much fun and I recall the time we discussed where the sun rises and sets. Her makeup and hair always had to be done and she dressed to impress. I will never forget her silky pink bathrobe that she wore to have her coffee in the mornings. We had an amazing bond between us:  whether we were near or far I could always count on her. One more thing: Aunt always wrote the best birthday cards!“—Jennifer

SHE LOVED THE BEACH
But she hated that it made her hair frizzy.

SHE LOVED TO HELP OUT
When Lisa and I bought a dilapidated 1871 miner’s cabin, she immediately volunteered to help us fix it up, even if that meant donning a pair of dirty jeans. Naturally, she wore a pair of protective gloves as she cleaned 130-year-old walls. God forbid she ruin her manicure.“—Victor  

Whenever we needed help, she was there. When Jen’s back went out Aunt didn’t think twice about coming to stay with us to help with our 21-month-old twins and 3-month-old. She was selfless.“—Howard

SHE LOVED WHEN PEOPLE SHE COOKED FOR ASKED FOR SECONDS

SHE HATED BEING REFERRED TO AS FLO
Her name was Florine and even though she never loved her own name, she despised any play on it. After Loy’s godmother Ellen called her Flo, she refused to speak to her.

SHE LOVED MAHJONG

SHE LOVED HER BESTIES CATHY AND LOIS AND BOBBI AND ESTHER
They threw some crazy pool parties. Yeah. They did.

SHE LOVED TO TRAVEL

SHE LOVED MEETING NEW MEN
And oh did she ever have plenty of suitors. She opened her heart to many, but none meant more to her than Keith Anderson. Keith loved her passionately, took her on trips, and kept her comfortable. That is, until one night in a bar in Las Vegas he met a woman who looked like his dead wife and, in a drunken haze, he married her. After that, my mother began a decades-long affair with her own boyfriend. It suited her just fine.

SHE LOVED FANCY CLOTHES
She especially loved apparel that made her feel spoiled and sexy, like furs and silk and cashmere. A long time ago she bought a pink satin robe and not a day went by when she didn’t wear it.

SHE LOVED TO TALK ON THE PHONE
Growing up we all just assumed the telephone was attached to her hand.

SHE LOVED COUPONS
It didn’t matter if she needed something—it was just the idea that she could get it at a discount that made it special. Her pantry was stuffed full of expired foods, as well as things she’d only eat if the world was ending and she wouldn’t be able to get to the store—things like sugar-free pudding and canned onions. Whenever you asked her why she purchased such items she’d say, “I had a coupon!”

SHE LOVED TO READ

SHE LOVED A GOOD SALAD
Mostly she loved a crunchy salad. Before she lost her ability to cook for herself, she made a salad every night. It always included the crispiest lettuce available. She’d add whatever the bottom drawer of her packed refrigerator would offer, whether it be purple cabbage or cold tasteless tomatoes, she’d throw it in. She never ever used bottled dressing but would make her own dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar and lots of dried herbs, always adding a pinch of sugar before tossing it. Whenever she went out to eat she ordered a salad and, if it was in any way subpar (even one small piece of brown or wilted lettuce), she’d send it back and ask for a better one.

SHE LOVED TO LAUGH
And she did, often.

SHE LOVED BEING LOVED
And she was…fiercely.

80th Birthday

Florine Lorraine (Knapp) Kusel (born June 20, 1937), late of Boynton Beach, Florida, La Costa, CA, Edison, NJ, and New York, NY, died a painful and preventable death from Covid 19 on Friday, July 31, 2020.  She was a compassionate and generous daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, cousin, and friend. She shall remain forever in our hearts and memories.

30 thoughts on “She Loved

  1. What a wonderful and unique way to pay homage to a wonderful and unique woman. I felt like I really got to know her and I now feel sad I never did. You handled the conflicting family needs with such grace and dignity. Your mother deserved that, even if your family members didn’t.

    Love, Me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sorry for this loss. Marc I always remember how gracious and welcoming she was. Her smile was very comforting and I loved her convertible Mustang. I am most sad for hers and your families pain at the method of her passing. Such an eloquent honoring of a life lived well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After reading this I feel like I know her just enough to know I would have admired her. I too was blessed with a Mom I called my best friend. It truly is heartbreaking that so many have lost the people they valued the most to Covid when steps could have been taken to prevent it. May you all find comfort in your memories of her. My sincerest prayers of sympathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Marc that was great ! I’m so sorry about your mom . My parents are both still alive 90 and 87 . I’m their caregiver . Our mothers very similar . I say the Shema everyday to protect them from Covid 19 . Again sorry about your mom . I remember meeting her years ago at your home in Edison . Take care . Sorry again

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I probably should not have tried to eat while reading this. The tears started rather quickly, and I had to run and grab tissues.
    I felt like I was hanging out with all of you and sharing stories. This tribute is a gift! I feel like every time someone dies, this is the only proper way to honor them (in spite of the fact that it was only intended for your mom).
    Even though I didn’t see her frequently, your mom was always one of the ‘warm & fuzzy’ people in the family, and I always enjoyed her company. My grandmother, as you probably know, adored her – which says a lot, as there were very few of us in that club!
    Thank you for sharing this. It brought her right back to life for me! I know you will treasure these memories always. 💕💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cousin June Ellen whose name is really only June :). I should have added Helen’s name to this list of loves because, yeah, they really adored one another. Mutual something. Thank you for remembering Mom as the warm and fuzzy part of the family. True dat. Stay safe, my darling. See you soon…xx

      Like

  6. I am so sorry for your loss, Lisa. You wrote an amazing tribute to your mom and I know she is watching over you now, until you meet again in the afterlife. I love reading your work, it makes my heart swell with love and laughter. Hope we can spend some time together one of these days. Thank you for being such a good friend to Jenny. Love, Maryann Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Friend? Jenny is family, Maryann. Which makes you and me extended family. Thank YOU for your words, kindness, and for making Jenny. Very lovely what you wrote. I do look forward to spending more time together. Blessings.

      Like

  7. Oh Lis, I cried all the way through. I love your mom and feel like I know her so well now. What a beautiful piece you wrote for her. I love you and im so so sorry for what you have been through.

    Kelley

    Liked by 1 person

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