Orania Hamilton, 95
Dear Mom … I miss you very much.
My mom, Orania Carroll Hamilton (called Rae), passed away Jan. 25, 2023, from last-stage dementia, a month before her 96th birthday, in Sandpoint, Idaho. Her husband of 35 years, Joseph Paul Hamilton, died in 1986. Her only sibling, sister Anne Monterosso, died in 2002. Rae was the last living elder of her generation in both her and her husband's families.
She will be laid to rest with her husband at Desert View Memorial Park in Victorville, Calif. She is survived by her three children and five grandchildren, and she lived to be a great-great-grandmother.
Rae was born Feb. 24, 1927, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Greek immigrant parents, Speros and Eleni Segalas. She was a somewhat sheltered child who loved to draw, write and do crafts, and she learned from her mother how to professionally sew and hand-bead clothing and cook the best Greek food … much better than the restaurants.
At age 20, she worked as a secretary for the Merrill Lynch Company, which chose her to be on the cover of "We the People" magazine. She also worked as a waitress at a number of upscale dinner houses, where she was known because of her ability to remember all her customers' names and their menu preferences and for being able to carry many plates and serve more customers, than more experienced waiters. She was a petite, lovely woman with dark brown hair, big, deep brown eyes, a sweet dimpled smile with red lipstick, who loved to go to a nice restaurant, and afterwards, enjoy a movie or stage production, wearing a "Jones from New York" outfit.
My mom spent her married years devoted to loving and caring for her family, in all the traditional, old-school ways. She had some fears, due to a lack of worldly life experiences and some unconventional ways of solving problems, which made for so many stories that she and our family laughed about … and always will. Her tireless tenacity, imagination, and resourcefulness to make something out of nothing, with very little money, made birthdays, holidays, and family events memorable.
Widowed at 59 years old, my mom was strong and brave enough to start pursuing long-forgotten dreams. She always wanted to travel and took numerous trips to visit 42 countries with a granddaughter or a friend as a travel companion. At 70 years old, she started writing poetry, won many poetry contests, had her chapbook, "Cries of the Soul" published, (and sold on Amazon), had individual poems printed in various poetry magazines and anthologies, was asked to read her poetry in some of the countries she visited, and kept her online "Platinum Poetry" room open for 20 years (with a waiting list of poets wanting to participate).
In her poem "Eulogy of Life", my mom wrote for her family, "Don't stand by my grave: I am not there. Gaze around, you'll find me everywhere. Always remember I loved you. Rejoice for me, and then let me go."
It is so hard to let go of you, mom. Every winter, for the rest of my life, I will be able to wrap myself in your love and warmth with the 32 crocheted scarves you made for me. At night, I will fall asleep feeling your protection looking over me, from the Seraphim angels you gave me. I will find comfort in my memories of you and the thousands of things just the two of us did together throughout my life, of the delicious Greek foods and moist Sunday roast chicken you taught me how to cook, of the millions of words and stories we shared over a cup of coffee and "something sweet to go with it," and of how you impacted my life with your selfless love, devotion, and loyalty. I hope to see you in my dreams.
I love you so very much, Mom, DeeDee.