She LIVED, She LOVED, and Boy Did She Laugh!!!
Mom, We’ll Miss You…
A tribute to my mom: Frances M. Kuschell – (Jan. 1947 to 9/24/2021 – 74 years old)
She Was A Coal Miner’s Daughter…
A Love Bug To Her Family…
Dad Would Often Describe Her as Sexy, Adventurous, and Vivacious…
I imagine right now, you’re sitting on the porch, on the Mountain of the Most High, with God Almighty, enjoying a Diet Pepsi, having a Winston 100, and listening to your favorite music with Peter Framptom, E.L.O, and Elvis…
And you’re looking down on us as an angel making sure we’re ok.
Life will not be the same without you – and yet, I know you will be WITH ALL OF US.
All you really wanted to do for these last years is LOVE UP on YOUR FAMILY.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
It’s who you were.
PURE LOVE for US.
And although you will be missed. You will be honored by all of us.
And your grandkids.
You touched us all in sooooo many ways with your generous heart and LOVE for US.
To know my mom, you have to know she was simple and complex.
She was FIERCE.
She was a FIGHTER.
She endured a lot of suffering: mentally, physically, emotionally…
And through it all, she just wanted to be there to LOVE her FAMILY – for US.
There’s no one she LOVED MORE than HER HUSBAND – Ralph.
Not too long ago, I had a chance to ask some questions about her life.
I asked her: “Mom… what would you say to dad that you’re MOST grateful for… in the way he’s shown up for you?”
“He’s the GREATEST husband I could ever ask for. And I love you. You’ve always been there for me. You’re the GREATEST. And you’re my best friend….”
To know my mom, you have to know a bit of the back story.
My mom would tell me: “Your dad and I met when I was 12. He was 14.
Our friend Ada set up a blind date for us to meet with a couple friends.
We met at Ira Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor.
Your dad saw me and I caught his eye.
He told me: I’m glad you’re not Kathy.
And we started seeing each other….”
And this lifetime love affair would begin.
My mom and dad were together for over 62 years – and had been married 57+ years.
They had been together since they were 12 and 14.
Sure, times were different then.
And they are different today.
However, the one thing you can know as that mom LOVED us like there was no tomorrow.
And, my mom was beautiful…
I remember being 10 years old and my mom was the neighborhood mom.
No matter what was going on, she found a way to host kids from around the neighborhood.
Even if we didn’t have much, she’d make lunches and have Kool-Aid for all of us.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but all the older kids in the neighborhood would also be at our house – even though my sister and I were younger.
Because mom was lively, vivacious, and as dad often described her…. She was a looker.
Mom LOVED kids.
She had an affinity for kids.
She always wanted to take care of and spoil kids.
In many ways, it didn’t matter if they were her kids or not.
Even though we didn’t have much and several times were on welfare, she ALWAYS found a way….
I remember the huge birthday parties with everyone in the neighborhood…
And although there weren’t necessarily a lot of gifts, she made it fun by planning games, and events so we would HAVE FUN.
She loved our home, and she loved our backyard.
Although my dad wanted to have a beautiful lawn… she let us host some huge wiffle ball games and tournaments- because she knew it made US HAPPY.
The fun I had with those wiffle ball games was instrumental in playing sports…
Later, she would fall in love with badminton and there would be some exciting family and neighborhood battles.
She was a GIVER.
She was GENEROUS.
She was LOVE.
She was a BIG LOVE BUG.
Ohhhhhh…. And she could LAUGH with the BEST.
In fact, there may not be a MORE distinct, unique, deep, or heartfelt laugh.
She loved to laugh.
Last year, we had her over for a movie night and she watched DEADPOOL…
And even though we all probably missed most of the movie – she was laughing at all the sarcastic and slapstick comedy.
And – she would even laugh at some of the most inappropriate times too…
Which was part of her character in her later years.
Her laugh was a gift.
And there was no better way than to enjoy that laugh at our FAMILY HOLIDAY GATHERINGS which included our annual Pictionary Family night.
You’ve NEVER laughed so hard…
Every YEAR it was better and better.
Family Pictionary Night could be described as a mix between a skit of “I Love Lucy” and “Bennie Hill”.
In addition to her loving side, Mom was fiery. Competitive.
Her and my dad were always teamed up.
These last few years, she suffered from Parkinsons and also had limited use of her hands – but she would always do her best.
Which included trying to ‘cheat’ a little bit.
She knew the rules…
But every year she would try to ‘say or mouth’ some of the words.
And who could blame her?
Her hands could not do what she was telling her mind to write up on the board.
So her artwork and pictures would always be a hot mess of comedy.
And her trying to ‘cheat’ and mouth the pictures was great comic relief.
‘Fran. You can’t mouth the words…”
She would respond: “…I’m sorry…”
Every year, it was the same thing…
You would laugh so hard, your face and jaw would hurt.
And her laugh… full, deep, heartfelt.
MOM, I’m going to miss your laugh.
I’m going to miss your SMILE.
I’m going to miss your chocolate cake.
I”m going to miss your random phone calls at the strangest times.
I’m going to miss the Chicken Noodle Soup when I don’t feel well.
I’m going to miss your Holiday Dinners and special attention to all of our special days – even months before they happened.
Mom always paid attention to the details of our family and always had child-like enthusiasm about how we were all doing…
She would pray for everyone in the family – everyday.
She prayed for us – even before she’d pray for herself.
It was easiest for her to want to make sure we were all taken care of.
It was easy for her to give a compliment to us.
Just a few months ago, she saw my daughter’s artwork and grades “Kira, I’m soooo proud of how well you’re doing with your school work. Your artwork is so beautiful. You have a gift like your papa. I hope you’ll make some more.”
And she was equally as interested in her grandson Kyler. Since Kyler had taken up football, there wasn’t a week that had gone by that she didn’t ask: “How’s Kyler doin’ in football? Dan, he’s a lot like you and he’s such a good young boy. I’m so proud of him”
It was sooo easy for her to love up on her grandkids.
It was sooooo easy for her to LOVE UP on all of us.
She LOVED us all in SPADES.
All she really ever wanted was for her family to be happy and healthy.
Who was Frances M Kuschell?
She LOVED TO LOVE US ALL… to the very last day when her heart just gave out on Friday 9/24 at approx 5:45 AM.
And as you’re looking down on us as an angel…
I imagine there’s a few things you’d want to tell us:
Sherri. (daughter) What can I say?
Besides your dad, you were there and available for me thru these last years. You did soooo many things to make my life easier and better. You did good Sherri.
You understood me.
You were patient with me.
You could calm me down.
You could talk me off a ledge.
I know it wasn’t easy.
But you made it easier.
You always seemed to understand what I was going through, wasn’t all me.
I’ll always be grateful for what you did for me and your dad.
I’m soooo PROUD of the WOMAN you ARE.
You’re strong, persistent, stubborn, and you have a HUGE HEART.
I think you got that from ME (LAUGHING)
I know your FAMILY means everything to you.
I’m sooo proud of all your accomplishments.
You’ve got 2 degrees. You have a great husband in Doug. He’s a very good man.
You’ve become a strong, independent woman.
Sherri, I”ll always be watching OVER YOU the way YOU WATCHED over me.
I always wanted you to have a better life than your dad and I, and I’m sooo grateful for everything you’ve done for me!
I’m in a better place today.
I’m not in pain.
I’m at PEACE.
I’m at PEACE, in part because I know you’re there to help LOVE the FAMILY the way I LOVED YOU.
Oh… and Daniel (son)
I know you don’t like me calling you that… (LAUGHING)
I bet you still cringe thinking of me coming down to the end of the street hollering for you to come home for dinner: “…Daniel, it’s time to Eat…” (LAUGHING LOUDER AND LOUDER)
Just know… I’ll always be there behind the scenes watching over YOU.
Even though it created some strain with your dad and I in the early years when I supported your business stuff, it was worth it.
I’m sooo proud of the man you’ve become.
You’re a great father and you’ve always found a way to be successful at whatever you put your mind to.
I’m excited to see how your kids Kyler and Kira grow up and I know you’ll share the LOVE I gave you with them.
I’m also so excited to watch from above as you go out and impact the people you do in your business and all the young people you’ll coach in football.
Daniel, anyone that has you as a coach is lucky to have you.
I’m also going to be watching to make sure you take care of Thuy and those kids from here too.
I’ll be sending whispers to Thuy from time to time to keep you straight (LAUGHING DEEPLY).
She’s a good woman.
You can be a little ornery so I’ll be there to help her keep you in CHECK. (LAUGHING EVEN MORE)
And I’ll be taking extra care to be praying and sending angel whispers to Kira and Kyler.
I love those kids.
Although I won’t be there to see them through high school and college, I WILL ALWAYS BE THERE with THEM.
Let them know: “Grannie loves them and will always be there.”
And just keep reminding both of the advice I gave them:
“…Don’t get married young.” (LAUGHING)
I have to say thank you! You made it a point to check in with me almost every day!
As you know, your mom and I were very close.
I loved her.
And I will always be sooo grateful for all of our conversations, long and short over these last few years.
You were always there for me!
I will always be with YOU.
Sandra (sister) and Randy (Sandra’s husband)
Sandra – you were my rock for all these years.
I always looked up to you.
I don’t know what Ralph, or I or the kids would have done without you.
Although we hadn’t been able to see each other much, you would always take my call.
You were there for me.
I hope you know how much I LOVE YOU Both.
I know you and Randy will bring love to each other and to anyone you meet.
I’ll always be grateful for you both.
Now, I can be there for you everyday – in your heart!
We’ve been through a lot together. I’ve always admired your strength, your character, and your ability to take on the world.
From your time as a chemist to now ridin’ around the country.
Just know, that when your on the high road, I’m going to be with you and every now and then I want you to put on some E.L.O, Peter Frampton, or Elvis for me ok? (Laughing Mightily)
I love YOU.
And then there’s YOU Ralph (husband)…
You are MY BEST FRIEND.
You were the ONLY MAN I ever LOVED.
You are the GREATEST HUSBAND and FRIEND in the WORLD.
You were soooo good to me!
I’m no longer in pain.
I’m at PEACE.
For the next 10 years, I want you to enjoy your life to the fullest.
Get the kids to take you on those trips you have wanted to take.
Go see the world.
Go see the memorial for whom we named our son.
I want you to LIVE for US.
I want you to LOVE UP ON OUR GRANDKIDS…
I want you to see them get married.
You’ve been SELFLESS taking care of me these last years.
Now is your time!
I want you to travel.
I want you to laugh.
I want you to enjoy LIFE.
I want you to tell our kids and their kids OUR STORIES – not in sorrow… but in how we enjoyed each other in a simple way.
Let them know how we laughed.
Let them know how we sat almost every morning and HELD HANDS – and how it meant everything.
Let them know how we LOVED EACH OTHER in good times and bad – until my very last days.
Ralph – you have a lot to LIVE FOR… for both of us.
Your work is not done.
Your kids and our grandkids need you.
And always know…
I LOVE YOU and WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU….
Frances M. Kuschell.
Wife. Mom. Sister.
Mom. We miss you.
You will always be with US in OUR HEART!
Dan, Sherri, Ralph, and Family
A memorial slideshow can be viewed HERE.