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Sandi Levinson | My strength, My hero

My mother meant a lot to me, she was a great woman and truly a good person. Everyone who met her was her friend instantly. Maybe it was her smile, maybe it was her genuine desire to help others, maybe it was her sense of humor…whatever it was, she will be missed. She passed away February 4, 2011. Below are simply the words I said at her funeral service – these words can not express what I have in my heart, my thoughts and my emotions for my mom.

Friends and family,

Thank you all for coming here today, and supporting our family. Having so many people here shows just how many people my mother touched and how special she was to so many. I wanted to say a few words now for my dad and sisters on this difficult day, to celebrate my mom. Because that is what she would have wanted, everyone to be happy and to remember all of the good things about her.

As many of you remember, she was always smiling and in a good mood. I can’t even remember a time when she was angry or even too upset with me that didn’t end with a smile or a laugh. And as many of you who know me, there probably were several times that I deserved more than her laughter. On several occasions, she was the buffer between me and my father, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized most of the time when she said – wait until your father gets home, she never really told him anything.

She always had a smile on her face and was always there for me and our whole family. She was the glue that kept us all together. She was always so supportive of any decision we ever made, no questions asked and without judgment. Even if it was a decision that was not what she would have wanted – and as many of you know I made a few of those

She was one of my best friends as she understood me better than anyone else could. I could really talk to her about anything, she would listen and help me, but always stay true to her morals. No matter what.

She has been and will continue to be one of my most important role models. Even today when I talk to large groups about Internet marketing and social media, I use her as my example. When I launch a website, if am I proud to show it to my mom, I know it is done. If I would not want my mom to read it then I should not be posting it on Facebook. She always knew what was right and she was true to herself. I mean, this is a woman who has not had ice cream since I was a child in the hospital because she ‘promised’ not to if I was alright. Cake and cookies were also on the list of things she would not have.

She always did what she thought was right, and was proud of it. I think that all came from her background as a teacher. Most of you know that she worked at United Airlines for a long time, but she was an elementary school teacher in the Chicago Public Schools when she started her career. When she went back to work after having us she even substituted for some of my classes – I remember her subbing for Gym class at North School when we lived in Des Plaines before we moved to Buffalo Grove. But when we moved to BG, she went to work at United.

Looking back, we were so spoiled by that. I mean, we had airline tickets in our drawers that we could write our own tickets to anywhere at any time, as long as there was a seat on the plane. Travel was different then. We were lucky growing up to be able to travel almost anywhere. London and Mexico, Arizona…I was even able to go to Japan in college because of my mom. I mean, we went to Maui like other families went to Florida. She loved to travel. We were lucky. So lucky, looking back, that Terminal 2 in Toronto is something we will remember forever.

I have so many great memories. When I posted to facebook that morning, I was reminded once again how lucky we are and just how many people she touched. That post on Facebook, and the regular wall posts, there were well over 100 comments, maybe even 150. Friends and relatives remembering my mom and their memories of ‘the boat’, tubing for the first time or the lady that always took in dogs. Whatever the memory, it was refreshing. Refreshing that she was always trying to help others and really did it genuinely and from her heart. She loved so many from her heart.

Her Grandkids were her pride and joy. She cherished the time she spent every Friday watching Rachel and Theo, up until about a year ago. Watching Brynn, Logan, Josh and Sofia play soccer, baseball, an instrument or sing at a school concert. With 6 grandkids, she tried to make it to all their events. Even when it physically got tough for her to do. There was even a time when she sat in the car to watch because she was not supposed to be at the field.

Through it all, all of her medical issues, she never complained about herself, she never asked why her, she always had a positive mental attitude, and she always kept fighting. She was so strong for so long. She was a great woman, a great mother, a great Nana, a great wife. She was great person that meant a lot to so many. She is now at peace, no more pain, no more treatment, no more suffering, simply peace and rest.

That morning, at 9:25am on Friday, my dad, sisters and I were by her side, as we should have been. A great weight was lifted from the room. We felt it. It was time. I will always remember the clear day, as we all looked outside. Peaceful-ness in her face and calm across her body. Hoping the first thing she would do would be to eat ice cream.

I love you, Mom, you will be missed.

2 thoughts on “Sandi Levinson | My strength, My hero”

  1. I hope my sons feel the same way about me as you feel about your mom. This is a beautiful tribute to a great lady. Your mom worked for United and my dad worked for TWA, so I totally get the wonderful life you grew up in having free airline tickets anywhere you wanted to go. First class upgrades cost $10 back then and there was always space. Ah…those were the days! But, that shaped me and I can see shaped you into the adventurous and fun person you are today. My folks are both gone now, so I can truly say I feel your pain but you will always carry your mom with you and your kids will too.
    Take Care.

  2. I just found out today that Sandi passed away. She and I worked together at United and retired at the same time. She had such a sweet spirit, and I always knew she would listen and take my concerns to heart. It was truly a blessing to me to have her as my supervisor.

    I’m sorry for your loss. May the memories you have of her bring comfort to you and your family.

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