Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tragic Days

This is a photo of John's Aunt Pris (Priscilla), who died in a tragic accident at her home early Saturday morning. She was a very vibrant, loving, fun and caring person who was just 49 years old -- a woman in her prime.

John's family is pretty large, close-knit and well-known in the area where they're from. Pris' husband, Rich, also comes from a very well-known family, so it didn't surprise me that there would be at least 200 people (seemed like many more than that) at her viewing last night. Pris touched so many lives outside her family, from her long-time fellow co-workers, to her 4-H friends, and everyone she ever taught how to ride a horse. They were lined up in the freezing cold, for blocks outside the funeral home, waiting for more than an hour in some cases, to help the family grieve.

When John's mom told me the terrible news, I was right in the middle of frying potato/veggie pancakes (latkes) for my mom's Chanukah celebration on Saturday afternoon. I was shocked and couldn't think of how I could help Pris' surviving immediate family members. It took a day to figure it out: I would cook for them. If there's nothing else I can do, I know I can cook for people. John joined in as well, making a massive chicken and vegetable stir fry.

We sat down with a list of pretty universal food items that we thought they might like. The list grew ever larger, but I knew I could do it all before Tuesday when we left for the viewing. All day Monday, I made baked ziti, baked macaroni and cheese, red sauce (Italian), garlic whipped potatoes, sauteed green beans, corn, peas, carrots, jasmine rice and a few other items that escape me at the moment. John came home from work and took over for a while, making the stir fry, at the same time I prepared a cookie crust dough for a couple of pies I wanted to make. I gave Pris' kids a list and they promptly posted it on the fridge. On Tuesday morning, I baked the two fruit pies (berry and summer fruit, and peach blueberry), which were still warm when we arrived in Pennsylvania to greet her family with two coolers filled with food and open arms for loving embraces.

Our intention was to make sure that Rich would not have to think about cooking for at least a week. Fortunately, Rich and Pris' son Michael will be staying with Rich for a few weeks, and their elder daughter Holly and son-in-law Steve live right next door. Michael let us know that he was looking forward to diving into the bounty, but Holly said that she and Brianne would be dividing up the food into portions to freeze for Rich. Either way, John and I made a commitment to ourselves to visit Rich when we return from our Christmas trip to Utah and periodically check up on him from time to time.

In the meantime, I will keep them all in my prayers.

This is how the newspaper The Morning Call published her obituary:

Priscilla E. Stocker, 49, of Lower Nazareth Twp., died December 16 following an accident at her home. She was a daughter of the late John P. and Elaine (Wagner) Wettlaufer. She had been employed by Cadmus Specialty Publications for many years. She was a 1975 graduate of Easton High School. A Northampton County 4-H Club leader, she loved her horses and her dogs, even Bart. Survivors: Husband of 31 years, Richard; two daughters, Holly Hess and her husband Steven of Lower Nazareth Twp., Brianne of Bethlehem; son, Michael R. of Doylestown; four brothers, John of Sandy, Utah, Thomas of Bangor, James of Palmer Twp., Timothy of Bel Air, Md. Services: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Ashton Funeral Home, 14th and Northampton streets, Easton. Call 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Contributions: To the Northampton County S.P.C.A.


Jackie said...

This is so sad, Deb. And I see from the obit that Pris and her family live not far from us; we often go to auctions down in Bangor, for example. Condolences to all of you. -- Jackie

hereandthere123 said...

Thanks, Jacks. It's been tough going, but we went out to Utah (and had a surprise trip to Vegas) to spend some quality time with John's parents. I'll be blogging about that soon.