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February, 2008:

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
Resided:
St. Petersburg, FL
Visitation:
None
Service:
2/23/2008, Saturday 11:00 A.M. at First Alliance Church of St. Petersburg 5000-10th St. No. (727) 525-9315
Officiating:
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

Hmmmm..

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..

Wow… It’s February Already!

Well I guess it’s time to write something here again.  In my last post you’ll recall that after doing all of the work to implement our new aircraft maintenance system a decision was made by the powers that be to postpone for a month. 

Well, the month is now over.  It’s in as far as I know.  They’re supposed to flip the switch at 8AM tomorrow.  All I know is that my part is done.  This is really just the first part.  It is putting all of the inventory and part of the financing (another system) up.  The actual aircraft themselves (we have 138 50 seat CRJ200’s we fly for NorthWest Airlink and 5 – soon to be 16 – 84 seat CRJ900’s we fly for Delta Connection) still have yet to be put into the system.

I came in at 8:30 Thursday and went home at 2AM Friday morning; came back in at 8:30 Friday morning and went home at 1:30AM Saturday morning; came back in at 9 on Sunday morning and left at 5PM to go to BW-3 to watch the Superbowl.  Woo Hoo! 

Since Thursday I think I’ve worked over 40 EXTRA hours.  I’ll be sure to try and snag a comp day or two when I go to the lake.

This weekend or next I need to get down to see my sister.  She’s VERY ill.  We found out she had lung cancer in August of 2006.  They did some really agressive chemo and radiation.  It took its toll on her.  2007 was a good year for her though.  She came through the illness pretty good.  Unfortunately she took a bad turn around Christmas of 2007 when we found out that the cancer is now in her brain and in her hip. :(

I have be flying back and forth to Florida to spend as much time with my sister as I can.  I don’t know how much longer she’ll be here for me to do that so I am trying to do it as much as possible.  Even though the airline doesn’t pay me as much as I would make working somewhere else, it is really a blessing that I can literally just hop in the car and drive to the airport and jump on a plane to Tampa anytime I want to.  For an unbelieveable price.  As long as there is an empty seat of course.

Thank God my sister is down in Florida and not in Utah or California where she used to live.  That would really suck.  Especially for my parents.

I don’t know how my mom does it.  She’s like a rock.  She’s always been there for us.  When I was 19 I was in the hospital with a brain tumor.  She was right there for me.  It was a long, hard 9 months in that hospital with many illnesses.  Many times they thought I’d die while in there.  But she was always there for me.  Now… years and years later… we’re all grown up… and it’s my sister.  Unfortunately her prognosis is nowhere near as positive as mine was.  My mom is still right there.  She will be til the end.  Just like a rock.  She’s an amazing woman.

I find it weird when I think about… what are the chances that you marry and have two children… and that BOTH of them end up with brain tumors?  Archie Manning ended up with two kids who each won the Superbowl as the quarterback of their respective NFL teams.  My mom and dad end up with two kids with brain tumors.  Life is funny sometimes :( 

Say a prayer for my sister please.  Say one for my mom & dad while you’re at it too. :)