My apologies to The Covert Letter subscribers, but we are taking editorial license today to remember that Fayetta Covert Stansbury (Nov. 23, 1954-June 3, 2010) died of a cancerous brain tumor two years ago today. It was a sad day. I was unable to be in attendance with the family at her home or in services in Florida.Last weekend we featured poignant commentaries, poems and tributes of fallen warriors, marking National Memorial Day. This is no less important to offer. There are no more words I could write to remember my late baby sister than those published here one year ago. See it at http://thecovertletter.com/2011/06/feeling-the-loss-a-year-later/.
Fayetta’s daughter Erin Stansbury Greaves has given permission to share her eulogy with you today (below).
There has been no coordinated effort with Erin to mark this day and neither have our elected officials signed anything, but do not doubt that today is “National Nutty Buddy Day.” We deem it!
Sister FayZ’s favorite frozen delight was the venerable Nutty Buddy, now produced in Nashville, Tenn., by Purity Dairies. The accompanying photograph, taken while Fay was undergoing treatment, portrays her joyful interlude in the difficult fight for life.
I will go against my best medical advice today and have one, maybe two, Nutty Buddys in her memory. I will scrape off the peanuts as best I can, have some antihistamine nearby and chow down. I can handle the other real food ingredients and preservatives. Nutty Buddy comes in a six pack.
When Fay was a tween-ager, it wasn’t unusual that she and I run away on an afternoon, make a stop at the High’s Ice Cream Store, which carried Nutty Buddy, and enjoy the frozen treat at nearby Huntington Park, Newport News, Va. It always seemed to make the day bright.
Erin has continued to be involved in the fight against brain cancer with several personal initiatives in the Miami metropolitan area calling attention to the need for more research and funds. She created the “Love & Cancer” foundation as a support resource for patients and their families. It is recognized by the National Cancer Society. Her initial effort mobilizing local businesses to honor “The Benefit Card” continues to be a successful local discount program that enables Love and Cancer.
We hope you will follow our lead and have a Nutty Buddy today to help us remember FayZ. We urge you, also to go to www.loveandcancer.com make a contribution to it as well as one of the several brain cancer support organizations locally or nationally. Victory is a long way off in the battle against this cruel disease.—Norman M. Covert; Harry M. Covert
FOR MY MOTHER
By ERIN STANSBURY GREAVES
For my mother, life was peaceful and creative. She surrounded herself with the people that made her happy and things that urged her smile. She was an artist that created in her head first and then with her hands turned her thoughts into beauty. If you’ve ever received a gift from my mother surely you noticed how much care she put into every aspect from the why and how to the perfectly coordinated wrapped presentation. No child went without as she always had extras for those that might pop in.
Her home was her work of art as she precisely decorated each nook and cranny to be exactly what she visualized. Perfectly coordinated and symmetrical. Her home, no matter where in the country it was, exuded her personality, passion for color and fabric, love of our family and its history, and the whimsical way she went about each day. She loved everything green and was a fantastic gardener and grew everything from orchids to herbs with finesse. Holidays were always celebrated to the max with decorations, food, music and an ambiance she made with ease. Our home always smelled delicious and welcoming and it was like it came from her.
My mother loved knitting, in fact she would knit to think. She loved football and could talk the talk with any football fan and put them to shame. Williamsburg and Disney World were her happy places because of the crepe myrtles, magnolias and memories. She chose movies for the scenery not the story and she loved a good old English murder mystery.
She was private, quiet, silly and fun. Laid back, gentle, and sweet. But under that she was strong , protective and steadfast. No one loved her family more. The love of her life, my father, Timothy, was her best friend until the end and she wouldn‘t have traded a moment of their many years together. He shielded her from the world so she could have the life she deserved and she appreciated it every day. My mother felt his loyalty, honor, love and care for her. She would say to me, “Erin, I am a lucky woman,” because dad gave her everything she ever wanted, including unwavering and unconditional love.
She taught me by example what it meant to be a wife and mother; about sacrificing to make the people in your life feel extra special and Going the extra mile to show they matter. She gave me sound advice and was wise in her years. She told me I could do anything everyday and how proud of me she was for no reason. We said I love you every time we spoke without exception and I spent hours on the phone with her some days talking about nothing and that nothing meant everything.
My mom believed home and family trumped all rules; that you should eat cookies for breakfast if you want and Nutty Buddies in the afternoon just because it’s Tuesday. Mom would say, “Don’t worry about that today, it’s a holiday.” To her there was a reason everyday to celebrate. Scarlett O’Hara said in “Gone With the Wind,” one of her favorites, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Mom loved that quote and lived it. Worries and problems always took a back seat to the good times.
Being a grandmother was her passion for the past eleven years, she showered our children with her love. Her homes always had perfectly decorated rooms for them, themed in the boys latest passion from Spiderman to Thomas the tank engine. She was playful and made every trip to Grandma’s like a Disney World vacation. Trains as her living room decor, beanie babies on the book shelf and bowls of candy around every corner. She let them paint on her finest linens and run by her prized beleek and always made sure they knew “they could do no wrong”. She loved nothing more than just sitting with them watching their cartoons, rocking on the porch or reading every new train name out of the Thomas catalog for the 100th time. Julian and I were so lucky to have had that kind of love shared with our boys.
My mother is a symbol of how to live life. Eat the bacon, have the cookie, play your music loud, dance, sing, create, surround yourself with the things and people you love and fight until the end.
Mom would tell us that she always had Irish music playing in her head and she could go to her own land whenever she wanted and dream the day away. Just imagine how great it was to walk around and see possibility and beauty everywhere, to be so loved and feel so protected as gentle Irish music played in your head. That is how my mother lived the joyful amazing days of her life.
Fifty-five years is less than she planned to be around. It certainly leaves us all wanting more, but as my mom would say just about every day, “What are ya gonna do?’ Let’s go have a treat.”– ©2012 Erin Stansbury Greaves.