Born Florence Jane Wyant on August 12th, 1926, my grandmother always went by "Jane". She and her older sister, Doris, were the only two children of John and Florence Wyant. Jane grew up and lived her entire life in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1949 she married my grandfather, John Patrick Terifay. They met after he returned from the War. Together they had three daughters: Susan, Denise, and Karen. Through those daughters came ten grandchildren and through those grandchildren have so far come nineteen great-grandchildren. Jane Terifay was a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, and a great grandmother. Without a doubt, she loved her family with all her heart. When I think of my grandmother, I think of her unconditional love. I remember her gentleness, kindness, and selflessness. When I think of my grandmother, of course I think of Wildwood. I think of the family tradition, started by her and my grandfather many years ago when their daughters were children, of vacationing there every summer. I remember spending weeks there in the summers with parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, close family friends, and my grandparents. I remember my grandmother slipping a few dollars into my teenage hand as I headed up to the boardwalk. I remember walking with her in the mornings to Russo's Market. I remember playing games with her in the Olympic Casino. I remember her and my grandfather sitting, waiting for the tram car. I remember, when she was older and could no longer walk the long distances, taking her on bike rides on the piers. I remember special lunches alone with her on the boardwalk, while everyone else was on the beach. When I think of my grandmother, I think of the amazing love she showed for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I think of the attention she paid us and the interest she never failed to show in whatever we had to say. The things that were important to us were important to her, too, simply because they were important to us. She made us feel seen and heard. She never judged. She was always willing to give us her time.
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When I think of my grandmother, I think of how she would hold my hand in hers and soothingly caress the back of mine with her thumb. Something about that simple act let me know that she was present in those moments, that I was loved, and that I was safe. In her final days, I tried to provide this same comfort to her. I hope I did. When I think of my grandmother, I think of the way she would end every phone call with a gentle "I love you". I can hear it now as I type this, so vividly that I find it hard to believe I'll never really hear it again. When I think of my grandmother, I think of roast beef dinners in the house on Guilford Street. I think of warm rolls and butter, macaroni and cheese, and steamed corn. I think of the best rye bread--the kind with the toughest crust--and liverwurst sandwiches. When I think of my grandmother, I think of coleslaw, apple salad, and ambrosia. When I think of my grandmother, I think of seeing her wave to me from the little kitchen window above the garage. When I think of my grandmother, I think of Christmas Days gone by. I think of too many people in too small a space, but everyone happy to be there. I think of packages being opened and wrapping paper being torn. I think of green carpet and a yellow kitchen. I think of love.
When I think of my grandmother, I think of hugs. When I think of my grandmother, I think of her last words to me. A few days before she left us, before she went to sleep, she grasped my hand and asked about my grandfather. After I answered her questions, she grew calm. In the quiet, she tightened her grip, raised her eyes to meet mine, and said softly but firmly, "Take care of each other." Not a command; a request. These were the last words I heard her speak, and although I was alone with her at the time, I understood that they were not meant
only for me, but for every one of us who she loved and who loved her. I went home from the hospital that night and wrote those words down, with my grandmother's name and the date on a sheet of paper at my desk. It seemed necessary. A couple of nights later, just a few hours before she would be gone, I got to tell her I loved her one last time. She wasn't able to talk with me by then but she gently squeezed my hand and I believe she could hear me. I told her how much she was loved. I told her how thankful I was for having her as my grandmother. I told her I would share her message and that we would take care of each other, just as she taught. And I told her goodbye, though I didn't know then that it was for the last time. Jane Terifay, my grandmother, passed away in her sleep in the early morning hours of November 8th,
She was 93 years old. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, and husband. The love she put into the world will live on through her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all who knew and loved her.
"Take care of each other" - Jane Terifay, November 5th, 2019
We love you, mommom.
Thank you for taking care of us so well, for so long
Relatives and friends are invited to Jane’s Life Celebration on Friday, November 15, 2019 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at Nativity of Our Lord Church, 605 Street Rd. Warminster, PA 18974 followed by her funeral mass at 11:00 a.m. Entombment will follow at Sunset Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers donations in Jane’s name may be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation at www.wish.org. Family services are entrusted under the care of Decker-Givnish of Warminster, 215-675-2070.