Jul 31, 2013


7/31/2013 — cori

Lillian Zukowski Dombek
October 13, 1925 - July 21, 2013

"As much as I have thought on this matter, I see no way around the hurt.  The only way to remove pain from death is to remove love from life."  -  Richard Paul Evans

Our best efforts could not keep Bapchie alive.  Her lungs were diseased beyond repair.  She didn't want to fight, didn't want to stay here any longer.  She was ready to go home.  Who can blame her?  

My Bapchie, or Lil as she was known to everyone else, was a first generation Polish-American.  She grew up knowing both Polish and English.  World War II defined her era.  She grew up on a tobacco farm with her 5 brothers and sisters.   She always wanted to be a nurse but was not permitted to by her parents.  

Bapchie met my Jadziu, Ed who was 6 years her senior, before the war.  They married on Feb. 2, 1946 after 5 years of serving in the Pacific Front .  They lived with her parents for a year before borrowing $8,000 from her dad to buy and fix up a little house.  They lived in that house the rest of their lives.

My Bapchie had two boys, my Dad, Eddie and then my Uncle Micheal, 6 years later.  She worked in two of the 5 mills that Rockville, Connecticut was known for.  She worked in the paper mill making envelopes and also another mill that made parachutes.  She worked nights so that someone would always be with the boys.

When she was 39 when she graduated from The Connecticut School of Hairdressing and opened up her own shop called "Lil's Beauty Shop" that they had built attached to their house in 1969.

I loved this beauty parlor.  It has looked the same my entire life.  When I was a kid I used to think that I also had the skill to do hair since my Bapchie would always let me help take out the rollers of all her clients' hair.  She didn't retire until she was 80.  

After I was born, my Bapchie travelled all the way to England with my Aunt Paula (my Mom's sister) to come see me.  She did the same for my brother, only this time she flew half a world away to the Philippines.  She hated to fly.

Even though we never lived close to my grandparents, we always visited them.  Growing up with my Dad working for the Department of Defense, we moved every two years.  Between every  move we would always have a long layover at my grandparents' house.  Once we lived in the States again we would drive up from Virginia to see them all the time.  Those were our vacations.  It just proves you can still have a close relationship even when you don't live close together.

I remember her always singing this song to me.  I thought she made it up.  I just recently learned that it was popular around the time I was born.  This is it: 

I am so very thankful to have lived 40 years and come to know my Grandma as an adult.  What a gift that is!  I have visited her often over the years, but never often enough.  My children even got to see her multiple times even though we've lived so far apart.  I am so glad they had the chance to know her.  I want them to know of her persevering spirit, her incredibly hard work ethic, and her servant's heart.  

She loved to watch Red Sox baseball and UCONN girls' basketball on tv.  She made each of us her signature crocheted rainbow blankets that we all lovingly refer to as our Bapchie Blankets.  She served thousands of meals in the tiniest kitchen I have ever seen and she made it look easy.  She still hung out her laundry to dry when the weather was nice.

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to getting a card in the mail from Bapchie cuz I knew there would always be a dollar in it with the note: "Use this to go buy yourself an ice cream" and that is exactly what we did because that is what it was for.  

I will miss you Bapchie.  But I'm thankful for your life, the memories and especially all the home movies that keep you alive in my heart.

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