• Farewell to a Great Lady

    Date: 2012.01.17 | Category: Baby, Family, Life, Mark, Nostalgia, Style | Tags:

    Saturday evening we got the phone call that Mark’s grandmother had passed away. It was sort of expected and sort of not. When we visited her New Year’s Day, she was doing better than she had in months. She remembered things, laughed, ate cupcakes and delighted in playing with Sarah. So we were a little shocked when we got the phone call.

    It’s hard for me to reflect on her life, because I’ve only known her the past 8 out of 88 or so years of her life, but I do know she meant the world to Mark. So much so that our daughter is named after her.

    Grandmother and Mark in 2007.

    Personally, I was always struck by her kindness and stubbornness. She immediately adopted me into the large Italian family, but sternly told me that I better take care of her grandson. She always had a smile and a laugh and insisted people did too much for her. She shared many a Christmas Eve with us and constantly asked when Mark and I were going to have a baby. And when we did have Sarah, despite her despair over her recent strokes and trouble speaking, she always lit up as soon as she saw our little girl. She would hold her, smile, play peek-a-boo and laugh at Sarah’s constant mobility and babbling.  And the woman could make some mean spaghetti and meatballs and never failed to bring them to a Thanksgiving feast.

    Visiting with me on our wedding reception in 2007.

    Mark loves to reflect on his experiences with his grandmother. Last night he told me about the train set she bought especially for him and his sister to keep at her house (and that’s saying something considering she had over 30 grandchildren and even more great grandchildren). He told me about how they would play ambulance and he and his grandmother would cart his sister around on a board like it was a stretcher. His grandmother loved to talk about how Mark was as a baby, kicking his legs when it was time to eat (something Sarah does now). To say he loves her fiercely is no understatement.

    Tomorrow we will bid our final farewell to her at her funeral. The giant families of her seven children will come together. I imagine it will be a very difficult experience, but good all the same.

    I’m sad that I didn’t get to know her longer, but thankful that I was a part of her life, even if it was a short time. I’m even more thankful for the giant, positive impact she had on my husband and all the joy she brought to him in his 35 years of life. And I’m glad she got to meet her great granddaughter, her namesake, and delight in her at the end of her life. I know Sarah won’t remember her, but I’m glad we have the photos, the videos and the experiences to share with her when she’s older. We’re proud to have our little girl named after such a great lady.

    Sarah, Mark and Grandmother at her house in September.