How do you even begin to tell the story of Frances Weber? I have been touched by her love in so many ways, and I'd have to write a novel if my intent was to share all of them that I can remember. Instead, here are a few memories that immediately come to mind.
As a boy, working for my dad at Maple Grove, not every day was a walk in the park. On some of rougher days, Grandma would walk down from her home with a big pitcher of PINK lemonade, seeking me out to provide some relief. "You're doing great, only 3 more hours to go!" After the pep talk and the lemonade, the day was substantially better.
As a college kid attending Whitewater, she opened up her home to me and provided me with a great environment to learn and excel in school. How can you not be excited to get up for a 7:30am class when you know that you have 8 pieces of french toast, bacon, eggs, and orange juice waiting for you every morning? She knew my class schedule better than I did, and she made me feel like I could/should conquer every class.
When I blew my knee out playing basketball, I was sent home after the surgery with my PT workout. Almost every day for 3 months, Grandma was with me helping me through the therapy. She'd be down on the floor encouraging me, celebrating every success. Mind you, she was in her early 70's at the time.
Fast forward a decade plus, and now Suzanne and I are married with kids. Even though she was in her 80's, Grandma was always there for my kids. When John was born, she came down to Illinois and stayed with us for two days to help out. After Lauren was born, we were up visiting, and Grandma decided to take Lauren for a walk around Maple Grove in her stroller. An hour later, she came back and said the stroller was pretty hard to push. Upon further review, we realized that Grandma never disengaged the breaks! The wheels were worn down to the nubs, but she was still strong enough to push Lauren around Maple Grove with the breaks on! In her 90's she attended many dance recitals and competitions, sitting there for hours patiently waiting to see Lauren dance for 3 minutes.
Over the last few years, Grandma and I were able to talk about deeper topics. She attended a Matthew Kelly speaking event in Brookfield because she wanted to grow in her Faith. We would frequently talk about what spiritual books we were reading and what we were learning and getting out of them. When I lost my job, Grandma was there to emotionally and prayerfully support me. Rarely did I visit her without her mentioning at some point that she was praying fervently on my behalf.
Finally, a couple of months ago, I showed up at her house around noon, unannounced, for a visit. I had an unexpected opening in my schedule and just wanted to see her. I had already eaten lunch. She was mulling over what she wanted to eat. I told her to pick whatever she wanted because I had eaten and was good. She said, "I kind of have a taste for french toast...you always liked french toast...would you eat some if I made it?" So, for one last time, I was able to watch my 98 year-old Grandma make me french toast from scratch. We ate it together, and it was fantastic. I walked out of her house grinning from ear to ear.
One of the reasons we moved back to Wisconsin was so that we could be closer to family. The time we spent with Grandma Weber will always be cherished. I'll miss her terribly, but I KNOW we will see each other again. RIP Grandma.