I heard about Ijjy the moment my husband and I started dating. I thought her name was Ijjy for probably a year before I realized that was a nickname for Regina.
Alan adored her and adored Chicago. I actually thought he was originally from Chicago with the way he spoke of all the time he spent there growing up, and staying with Ijjy.
Right after I met Alan’s parent’s for the first time, his Dad handed me the phone and I said “Hello?” having no idea who I was talking to. She was so sweet, it was like talking to my own Aunt. Welcoming me to the family, telling me she loved me already and was excited to meet me. She would often make effort like that, it was one of her greatest qualities and so rare to find.
She is who we stayed with when we’d visit Alan’s family in Chicago. An amazing host. More than happy to not just watch, but truly enjoy our kids so we could go “have fun”.
One morning Ijjy was gone when we woke up, she came back with a toy dog. Alivia was like 2 and Ijjy had bought her a baby doll bunk bed and baby the night before. Apparently Alivia had mentioned she wished the baby had a dog. So before anyone woke up, Ijjy had gone out and gotten her that toy dog. Ask Ijjy… and you shall receive. She got great happiness from giving.
I complimented her hand towels, and received the beautiful set the very next week. I told her I liked her little candies in her dish, and found a giant bag of them in our luggage when we got home. She was incredibly generous, caring for everyone around her. She made the best tea. I swore it had some magic in it.
I had a really nice time talking with her the last visit before she passed suddenly. We sat on her patio and talked a long time, and deeper than ever before. She had a sense of peace about her that was new, and a sense wonder of what was to come.
I miss Ijjy, and I miss her for my Alan, and my girls. But I know she is somewhere where she is getting back everything she gave here, tenfold.