In Memorium

Jeff and Jim

Jeffrey Michael Kosmala (right)
August 3, 1960-July 5, 2013

The above picture was taken at Disney World. On the left is my Uncle Jim and on the right is my Uncle Jeff. On Friday afternoon, Jeff lost his battle with cancer and won the war becoming part of the Church Triumphant.  He was my mom’s younger brother. They were, in my mind at least, best friends of childhood doing everything together. My grandmother,  forever a mom of six, used to send them outside of their home in Buffalo, NY to play while she tended to the other children. An adventure ensued including a memorable bike ride clear across the city to their grandmother’s house without their mother’s knowledge or permission. My mom remembers riding their bikes around and suddenly turning to her brother and saying, “Jeff, this is the way to Grandma’s house!” Their grandmother and their great-aunt aided and abetted them returning to their home without my grandparents knowledge until my great-grandmother told my grandmother the story years after they were adults and the statute of limitations was long up. One Thanksgiving, Jeff and his younger brother, my uncle and Godfather Jim, decided to “smoke a woodchuck” out of its hole and set a huge field on fire. They went back to the house and waited it out once they found out the fire department was on their way. Jeff loved his sleep. So much so that we whispered as kids at my grandma’s, “Uncle Jeff is sleeping,  you have to be quiet!” This was so ingrained in me that when I met with my grandparents and all my aunts, uncles and cousins at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving 2007 with a sixteen-month-old and two-month-old (they were all in town as my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary was that weekend and my cousin Andy had just been diagnosed with brain cancer and was being treated at Duke), and in the middle of the night I had to weave my way with a nursing baby still attached to me and a LOUD one-year-old wanting milk toddling next to me, all I could think was, “You  need to apologize to Uncle Jeff in the morning for waking him.” I did apologize and Jeff was good-natured about the whole incident saying, “Kristen, I remember when YOU were the crying baby and LOUD one-year old.” He had a quiet nature and a quick laugh. He was a civil engineer for many years until his Type I diabetes caused him to lose his sight. He then got a job working at the Health Department. Jeff might have been particular but he was agreeable. Each year my grandparents and all the “kids” who live in New York and their kids travel to the Jersey Shore for a week. My aunts devised an instrument of torture a device to evenly split, to the penny, the cost called “The Grid.” It has always been divided by household and Jeff, who was married only briefly and never had any children, paid into it the same as everyone else. He never objected. He never refused. He slept for many years on a beach chair out on the balcony to give his siblings with children beds.  He had one Godchild, my brother, Ben. For many years I thought of Jeff by what he didn’t have in comparison to his siblings. No spouse, no kids, health that was up in the air. But in reality, he had a lot. He had parents who loved him and no matter what trial or tribulation stood by him. Who were there for him even in death as they had been in life. He had five awesome siblings. Four sisters and one brother. Siblings who put everything on hold to take him to his “happy place” Disney World, last December to recreate their road trips as kids growing up and make it, as my mother said, his “Make a Wish” trip. Siblings who went in together as his health was deteriorating to buy him a tremendous large screen tv. He had nieces and nephews who loved and adored him. So many in this world wish for those things and don’t get them. It comforts us all to know he passed from this world peacefully. He is no doubt laughing at my two little boys who are arguing and loudly playing the Wii right now. And at me when they crawl under the table at a restaurant and I hiss at them to get in their seats NOW or they will regret the decision otherwise. He may not be with us physically any longer, but he will never leave us. He will be at every dinner table when we conclude grace saying, “Dear Jesus, bless our food and our family and forever Andy and (now added) Jeff.” And so many other times. I pray for peace for my mom and her brother and sisters and my grandparents. Requiescat In Pace, Jeff. Well done, my good and faithful servant.

Disney Kosmala

From their “Make a Wish” trip to Disney World
l-r Kristy, Sharon, Amy, Jeff, Jim and Lynn (my mom)

Disney Kosmala 2

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5 thoughts on “In Memorium

  1. Kristen, I have been searching for anything about Jeff, and came across this sight. What a beautiful memorial! Jeff and I were friends from Allegany and he meant a great deal to me. I was not aware that he was sick. Somehow the grapevine of Allegany news never made it to me. I would see him at the OP every year the first week in August, but last year he was not there. I sent him a Christmas card to your grandparents house on the 5 mile but it was returned because I did not include the house number. I am so saddened by his death, but will treasure every moment I spent with him. We had so many laughs. I can picture his “body shaking laugh” right now. I loved his beautiful soul. I am praying for your family. With great sympathy, DeeDee Outman Thompson

    • DeeDee,
      Thank you for reaching out. I know my grandparents and mom and the other Kosmala siblings appreciate your kind remembrance as do I.

      Kristen

  2. I’m sorry to hear of your family’s loss. It sounds like you have many wonderful memories of your uncle. May God bless him & welcome him into His loving arms!

  3. Hi Kristin, My name is Peggy Manning. I was a very close friend of your Uncle Jeff’s at Alfred State College. I received my Alfred State Magazine in the mail today and read about Jeff’s passing away last summer. In searching for his obituary, I ran across your blog. I am so very sorry for your family’s loss of such a loving man. I have so many wonderful memories of adventures with him when we were college students. He was dearly loved.

    • Peggy,
      Thank you for your kind words. It is hard to imagine a world without Jeff, but that is the world we live in now. Thank you again for sharing.

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