She was a happy, optimist, a good-hearted person, one who always had a smile and a kind word for everyone even in the toughest moments of her life.
And right up until she became less able to get around, Mommy never lost her smile. I remember her checking herself in the mirror and despite her physical decline she always managed a big smile and a kind thank you. Most impressive was how she intuitively practiced the sacrifice of praise, even in her most painful state. Mami would always tell me that I was a good daughter and that she didn't deserve so much love, attention or even help. I had to reassure her that there is absolutely nothing that I have accomplished, or I would have done without her financial and most of all emotional support.
Being a teenage single mother of two--Michael, and me, Mommy had a hard time just making ends meet, but she never complained or felt sorry for herself, nor did she ever stop showing us unconditional love-- I remember times where the fridge was empty and other times where we took vacations here in Key Biscayne, Disney World, Saint Moritz, Greece and then once back juggling the demands of paying the bills. I resented the financial struggle due to our vacations until my brother passed away in 2004 then I realize how wise it was for my mommy spending all the money we didn't have on vacations together. How else would we have enjoyed so many happy moments of my brother's short life with us?
Mommy had an inherent love of nature--in particular, the beach--and she'd always find time to put on a bikini and go for a swim, she always made sure that we went 3 times into the water, as I do also, just ask Elisabeth Aline. Always check out our tans while eating a whole fish. These past weeks when I took her to the beach, she could no longer swim, but she enjoyed it just as much just looking at it and breathing the fresh sea air. So much so, that when we were driving back from Matheson Hammock beach park she said: I would never have imagined. I asked her what? That being so sick I would have such a good time. Wow, I was just in awe that she still was grateful to be able to enjoy the beach with her declining health.
Mommy was raised in Swiss boarding schools. She would always talk about those days as if they only happened yesterday. She would explain, apologetically, why she didn't know more about life or the value of money because she was educated by nuns. The only compensation she knew for a job well done was Swiss chocolate, that she later despised.
Her teenage years in the early 60's she lived in Washington DC and went to Saint Mary's Academy High school, where she was a freshman and was part of a very important chapter of American history because she recalled the day when John F Kennedy was shot. The whole school began crying for the president passing.
During that time in Washington DC at a German Embassy party, she met my dad. I guess they really hit it off or the party was very good because my mom got pregnant, and my grandmother got mad. They decided to get married right away and went to Vegas of course. The wedding album is very cool because they both look like movie stars: James Dean & Brigitte Bardot. However, it was too late because my grandmother filed a police report for dating a minor, that prevented my dad to find a job. My mother eventually suggested they move to Venezuela and that's how I was born the same day they landed in Caracas. A couple of minutes earlier and I would have airplane tickets for life.
In Venezuela as soon as she turned 18 another chapter began because she was of age to receive an inheritance. This is a whole other story, that my daughter and I are working on. In fact, it caught the attention of the same journalist from the Washington Post that unraveled the Watergate scandal and from a Pulitzer author. Stay tuned, in the meantime if this triggers your curiosity feel free to look at the newspaper clippings we are sharing today.
My mom's life crisscrosses between Switzerland, Venezuela and the US and she created her own unique stamp on life that only this trio could originate. She is the only person I know that could speak these 3 languages without an accent, not like me (I speak all 3 with an accent).
In the early '80s when the first black Friday hit Venezuela's economy and the currency fell, we moved back to Switzerland. She thrived, though, in her own way--always working, keeping busy, and always helping my brother and me to pursue our dreams and to become the best we could be.
My mommy's biggest joy was her granddaughter, she was always excited to see her during summer vacations, her eyes would light up and she spoiled and bragged about her as any good grandmother would do. She shared with her the love of nature, animals and spontaneous adventures, that usually ended by swimming in a lake or river. She loved to cook for her: banana bread that she learned from Swiss camp, Spaetzle, Rosti and Geschnetzeltes a typical Swiss dish; but also, Venezuelan food like cachapas, tequeños (tacaños as Elisabeth calls them) and arepas of course.
She would often explore different parts of the woods, lakes and share her love for nature and animals, even insects. One day I even saw her taking out a live cockroach to save her from being killed. I have only known another mom like that and that is Val's mommy. We would always compare notes about our mom's love for animals and smile.
Her favorite spot for vacationing was Greece. She loved walking down the beach and exploring off the beaten track. One day her dog Manolito got lost and eventually return even though it was his first time in Greece. Ask Leslie later about that story how my mommy would refuse to eat until her little Yorkie was found.
We were lucky to spend these last holidays together, thanks to the heroic act of Elisabeth. When my mother's life partner called because he was too sick to help. Elisabeth flew to Switzerland and found her grandmother lying in her apartment alone. She single-handedly carried her to the hospital, stayed with her until she was stabilized and help her to arrange with doctors permission to take a 12-hour flight to Miami.
Although my mom was struggling with ill health by then (her kidney was operating at 10%, her heart at 25% and COPD), she put on a brave face and enjoyed three months of uninterrupted sunshine and warm weather, our 2 dogs, 4 cats and all our friends, some of you friendly faces I see today here, that came to visit. Coming from the snow country, Mami couldn't stop raving about how stunning the climate was, that contrary to the majority of people she like it hot & humid like me--and how beautiful the beaches are in Miami.
My lasting memories of Mami are simple: a hard-working, passionate figure of strength who never waned in her support or love of me and my daughter, and who soldiered on, even when times were tough, like when my brother passed away in a motorcycle accident.
I was with my mother, looking straight into her eyes, until her last breath. And even though it was tough and hurtful to see her for 2 weeks in the hospital with tears in her eyes, especially during her last hours of suffering. At the same time, it was a blessing that we spent this time together in the same bed holding hands, looking at each other until her last breath. It was peaceful as Mike with unparalleled compassion witnessed. That is how I envisioned my own death with my daughter by my side for the last goodbye until reunited in heaven for eternity.
We will bring her ashes back to Switzerland to lie in the same cemetery my brother lies and where I also want to be when my time comes.
There are several beautiful things people have said to me, my favorite is that we cannot be there when our moms are born but some of us are lucky enough to be there when they transition to a better life. I am the lucky one. And like I said to her while kissing her all over, if I could choose my mom again, I would choose her 1,000 times over, because there is nothing like a teenage Swiss, Venezuelan, American mommy.
I'll be back to work on Monday because it's what my mommy would have wanted as she had a strong work ethic and was concerned about me missing so much work for her.
It is a great privilege to write this eulogy to express the sadness that Elisabeth & I share over her loss and also to celebrate her life by telling you the joy she brought to us. Mommy, thank you for everything you've given us--and the warmth we shared during your precious time on earth.
God bless my mom and all of you for being my friends. Always.
Apocalipsis 21:3 Y oí una gran voz del cielo que decía: He aquí el tabernáculo de Dios con los hombres, y él morará con ellos; y ellos serán su pueblo, y Dios mismo estará con ellos como su Dios.
Apocalipsis 21:4 Enjugará Dios toda lágrima de los ojos de ellos; y ya no habrá muerte, ni habrá más llanto, ni clamor, ni dolor; porque las primeras cosas pasaron.
Hace cinco décadas fue que nos encontramos y en el transcurrir de todos esos años vivimos muchas experiencias, algunas muy buenas otras no tanto, pero lo importante de todo es que siempre contábamos la una con la otra.
Le doy gracias a Dios de haberte puesto en mi camino, me enseñaste tantas cosas que atesoraré siempre en mi corazón. Gracias a ti conocí por primera vez el mar, ese día fue hermoso. Ese era tu lugar favorito y lo compartías con todos tus seres queridos.
Solidaria, generosa, amorosa, ocurrente, alegre y divertida así eras y así siempre te recordare.
Queridas Claudia y Aline, lamento enormemente la pérdida de Anna. Pido a Dios fortaleza para sanar poco a poco nuestros corazones. Mis oraciones y pensamientos están con ustedes.
This beautiful soul will always and always stay in my memories and my heart. Always smiling, always happy with something positive to say. I treasure knowing your Mom and your daughter as you are all same - loving, beautiful creatures of God. I am with you with my thoughts and sending you and your daughter lots and lots of love. Meg
Hola Claudia: I hope that those lovely pictures you shared with us remind you always of the great time the 3 of you spent together. She came to Miami to say goodbye and have a great time with you and that is something to treasure during these difficult times. Onky time will help you heal so in the meantime count on the friends to support you in any way we can. Un fuerte abrazo de quien te aprecia mucho y admira, Marcelo
It's with a heavy heart that I ask you God to comfort this beautiful family in this extremely painful time! It's never easy to say goodbye, but we say see you later while holding on tight to the most beautiful memories of our loved ones and the fun moments that were spent together. May Anna Maria Hitz be at The Lord's arm resting and rejoicing in peace in Jesus name!
Mis queridas Claudia y Aline, cuanto lamento la perdida de su querida madre y abuela. Mis oraciones siempre con ustedes y que Dios la tenga en su gloria. Las quiero un monton
Our last Birthday & Holidays all 3 generations together
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