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My Sister

Happy 49th Birthday Babe!

Today is Babe’s 49th Birthday.

I meant to go get a balloon and launch it at lunch time but I just sorta forgot and it really isn’t that big of a deal.

The bigger deal is that I remembered my sisters birthday.

Happy Birthday Babe!

Babe & her Daddy at her daughters graduation from University Of Chicago about five years ago.

My Mom, The Artist

I remember when I was a kid my mom was always a talented artist.  She could always draw cool pictures and stuff. 

After she retired she decided to take some painting classes.  Then she got one of those easels and some paint brushes and some canvas’ and went to work.

Boy she really paints good.  She has a lot of her paintings around the house.  She painted for quite awhile but I think the fumes from the oil really bothered her and she doesn’t paint much anymore. :(

I think she still plays around with water colors and pastels once in awhile but I haven’t seen her work on a painting in a long time.

Here are some of the paintings she did.  She did a MESS of them and a ton of water colors and pastels… but I am not going to display them all.  I just want to document the fact that she did this and show some of the paintings I really like.

This is one of my favorites.  I’ll try to get a better picture of it sometime because it looks a million times better in person than it does in this picture.  It’s a tree frog.

This is an Egret.  There are a lot of these hanging around the pond behind my parents house.

I don’t know whose baby this is.  But I think mom took a photo of one of her friends babies and painted a picture from it.

This is a picture of my sister that my mom painted from a photo.

Here are some pastel chalk pictures of a bird, a cheetah & a cat.

I may have displayed this before… It is a little girl on the beach.  I really like this one too.

Stream in the Forest.

I like this one of a lighthouse on the beach with a big ‘ol moon behind it.

Here’s the cat again.

A Cheery street.

One time Mom found this print of an Indian maiden in a magazine and painted it.  I think it’s one of the best ones she ever did.

Indian Maiden Finished:

I’m really proud of how well my mom paints and I love to show my friends her paintings. That is the reason for this blog entry. 

I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do.

Way to go Mom! :)

Ooops. LATE: Happy Birthday Babe! My sisters 48th birthday. November 13, 2008

I’ve had these pictures in my camera since last November. Mom had asked everyone to think of Babe on her birthday and at noon – where you happened to be – if you could, release a red baloon and say a prayer for her.

I forgot all about it. My buddy Addis in Philadelphia emailed me the morning of November 13 to remind me to release my baloon. 

Oh No. I felt SO bad. I’d forgotten the whole thing. :( I went back to work and after a few minutes I thought “Hey, its only 11:10. I can still do this.”  I got on the phone and found a florist a few miles from here. “Do you have red helium balloons?” Of course they did. “I need five. I’ll be right over.”  I left work without even telling anyone and drove to the florist. The wonderful woman was there with five red balloons already filled.

I got them and was watching the clock. I was afraid I was going to have to pull over on I-240 exactly at noon and release them. I pulled into work again at 11:58. Got out of the car, said something to my sister and let ’em fly.

Oh. I wasn’t sure if maybe my mom and dad may have forgotten too and my niece and nephew. Thats why I got five. One for each of us. When they went up one stayed alone (me), two stayed together (mom & dad) and the other two stayed together (DJ & Reanna). Pretty cool.

Later I found out my mom had bought five balloons too for the same reason. LOL. I don’t know if my niece & nephew even thought of it or not.

My dad had my mom get him a blue balloon because he wanted my sister to know which one was from him. :)

Happy Birthday Babe!

Some more pictures I found of us

I found a couple other pictures of me and my sister.  This is pretty nasty of me… how about that hair?  It is from a photo session at our old church we used to go to when we were kids for their directory.  I think it was probably in the 1973 timeframe.  Just a guess.

This is a poor, dystroyed photo but its cool because we were little.  It was obviously taken in one of those ‘photo booth’ machines.  Who knows where?  It could have been at a Woolworths while we were out with my Grandmom shopping… or it could have been taken when my Grandmom  & Grandpop used to take us down to the shore in Wildwood, NJ when we were small.  I imagine it was taken around 1963, 1964 or 1965.

Babe’s Obituary

Elizabeth “Liz” L. Leone 
11/13/1960 - 2/10/2008

Elizabeth L. “Liz” Leone, 47, St. Petersburg, FL, died Sunday, February 10, 2008 at Hospice House Woodside, Pinellas Park, FL. She was born in Philadelphia, PA and was raised in south Jersey. She pursued her career as a construction engineer in CA, UT, and FL. She moved to the St. Petersburg area in 2006. She was a member of First Alliance Church where she came to the Lord with a very strong faith. She enjoyed Rollerblade Hockey and coached several young teams with great success. She was a very active Pool player where she had many friends in Florida. She is survived by 1 daughter, Reanna and 1 son, David both of St. Petersburg; her parents William J. and Betty S. Obst of Rotonda West, FL; 1 brother, Bill Obst of Memphis, TN; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. She was predeceased by her grandparents, Teresa and Fred Obst and Rudy and Rosemary Szewczak. She was supported during her illness by her family, church members, numerous friends, St. Anthony’s Hospital, and Hospice for which she was so appreciative.A Pot Luck dinner will follow the service. Those who would like to bring a dish are welcome to do so.The family requests memorials to:First Alliance Church
5000-10th St. No.
St. Petersburg, FL 33703orThe Hospice Of The Florida Suncoast
5771 Roosevelt Blvd.
Clearwater, FL 33760

Birth Place:
Philadelphia, PA
St. Petersburg, FL
2/23/2008, Saturday 11:00 A.M. at First Alliance Church of St. Petersburg 5000-10th St. No. (727) 525-9315
Pastor Terry Smith

“Goodbye My Sister…”

Babe passed away early yesterday morning.  February 10, 2008 at about 3AM EST.  She had just turned 47 years old.  Mom was sleeping on the sofa next to her bed at the Hospice facility.  The nurse came in to check on her and found she had passed.  Mom called me a few minutes later.  I let her son and daughter know and then woke my dad.  He and I went to the Hospice to be with mom and say goodbye to Babe one last time.  Before I left Saturday night I was pretty sure it was the last time I’d see her with us.  I kissed her head and said goodbye to her and told her I’d see her on the other side when I got there.  It was funny.  When we went back to the Hospice facility and I saw my sister once more it was so obvious to me that she was gone.  This was not her.  But I could feel like she was still there… inside us.  It’s hard to explain.  Anyway we said our last goodbyes and left, thanking the Hospice workers.  They’re all so wonderful.  The had already lit a series of candles at the nurses station with her name written underneath.  My sisters first name was really Elizabeth.  Everyone called her Betty.  When I was a small child I am told I could not say ‘baby’ so I would just call her ‘The Babe’.  That name stuck not just with me but our entire family.  Her ex-husband even called her Babe.  Her best friends when she was growing up in Pitman even called her Babe.  I think her other classmates just called her Betty though.  Recently – after she moved from Utah to Florida and started a new job as a contruction foreman building highway bridges – she introduced herself as Liz.  This is the name everyone in Florida – all her pool shooting buddies, friends and co-workers – knew her as.  Here are some recent photos of Babe.

 This is her with her friends Mary & Michelle.  It was taken after she found out she had cancer but before she relocated to St. Pete.

Here is Babe & her daddy.  This picture was taken at Babe’s daughters (Reanna) graduation from college in Chicago.

This is Babe a couple years ago with dad, her daughter (Reanna), her son (David) and Davids old girlfriend.

Here is Babe with dad and her daughter Reanna.

You saw the picture of Dad, Babe & Me together.  Here is one of Babe and her mom.

Here is Babe, Reanna and Mom.

Again, here is dad, Babe & I.

Most of the ‘recent’ pictures were taken at Thanksgiving 2007.  Our last Thanksgiving together.  It’s nice to have pictures like this to remember it.

Oh yeah, here is a picture of Babe & I one Easter I presume.  Standing in front of the apple tree in the backyard of the little house we grew up in in Clayton, NJ.

And this is us with our second cousin – and good friend – Maureen when she was just a baby.

This is a picture of Babe & I on Easter, 1962.

I hope they have internet in Heaven so Babe can check out my blog. :)  I’m gonna miss you Babe.  I’ll see you when I get there!  Love your brother, Billy


This might be a downer for some people, but I have decided that a lot of what I may type is going to be about my sister.  It helps me if I can write things down even though I really doubt anyone reads it.  I posted earlier but after work I called my mom to see how my sister was doing.  She told me that she’s not doing so good… that she’s acting really confused off and on.  Mom said that my sister is really scared.  It is new to me to hear this because she always seem to be so ‘ok’ with death and ‘whatever happens’.  I think she senses that the end is near.  This really upsets me.  I took a pill my doctor gave me to calm me down when I feel this way and it seems to have helped.  I told my mom I have a week of vacation right now so I can come down whenever she feels like the final days are here.  I didn’t expect this so quickly.  Just at Thanksgiving we were all together.  My mom isn’t in this picture because she had the camera.  I wish now I’d set it on the counter but I had no idea at that time that it would be the last picture of my sister when she still had hair.  Nor did I know that it would be one of (probably the last) photo I have of my sister and I.  My dad looks very upset and lost… I think he was at that time.  I think he’s doing better now.  We all are.  Anyway, let me find that photo.  Oh good.  Here it is.  I’ll always love this photo.

Anyway.  I bought a few books about dying to try to prepare for my sisters passing.  I pray it won’t happen, but I try to be realistic.  That helps me spend more time with her while I can instead of hoping for a cure.  Her pastor is a nice man, but he says things like ‘God can fix this Liz.  Just keep working and trying new things.’  I’d rather that the man she has faith in do his best to comfort her.  He should be there tonight while she’s scared and lonely… comforting her… preparing her to meet God… telling her what a wonderful experience it will be… one that the rest of us have to wait to do.  I want to tell her that I will miss her.  I want to tell her that I will be ok and I will do what I can to help her children if they ever need real help.  I want to tell her that it’s ok for her to go.  I want to tell her that I’ll see her on the other side when I get there!

 Oh, about the books I bought.  One of them is called Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying” by Maggie Callanan (Author), Patricia Kelley.  They are a couple of Hospice nurses.  Mom said this is a wonderful book.  I brought it home to read myself.  I can already see though that my sister is beginning to show the signs of ‘the end’.  I’m sad because it’s happening quicker than I thought.  I need to get down there.  I pray she’ll be ok until this weekend at least.

Ok, I’m rambling.  That’s enough for now.  I’m sad though.  I don’t think I’ll have much more time to spend with my sister.  I am sad for my parents too.  I wasn’t sure of my plans for this weekend before, but now I know.  I’m going to catch a plane and go to Tampa to spend time with my family.  I’ll talk to my boss tomorrow.  With all the time I’ve been putting in I’m sure he’ll let me catch a Friday afternoon flight to Tampa rather than having to wait til Saturday morning..