My grandmother was born in 1919 and she died in 2011. And though its been two years since her passing, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could just see her once more.
She was much more than a grandmother to me. Being from a big Italian family, she was the matriarch of her children and grandchildren. She possessed wisdom that one could never gain from college or formal education. She lived through the Great Depression, and she embodied everything that Rosie the Riveter stood for. “We Can Do It!”. And that is how she lived her life.
When my grandfather, Frederick, was diagnosed with brain cancer, she did not give up as most would. She took care of him in the home they built together as poor Italian/Sicilian immigrants, despite his ever worsening condition. She refused to put him in a home, determined to care for him by herself, rather than allow him to be away from his family and friends. She cared for him in their house until his passing in 1995. And she stayed there with all those memories until she was unable to live with her own growing dementia, when it was her daughter’s turn, my Aunt Maryann, to take care of her.
My grandmother’s funeral taught me many things. The most important is that I should never give a eulogy. I was barely into the first two lines of it, when both myself and my cousin Kelly began to cry uncontrollably. It took us 20 minutes to get through a eulogy that should have lasted less than 10 minutes.
She taught us all so much during her 92 years. She taught us how to be strong, she taught us to follow our dreams, and she taught us that family is always the most important thing. She taught us all the things we never would have learned in school, because she put value on family greater than most people did.
I just wanted everyone to know that she is with me in this time of my greatest success, and she has always been there in my times of sorrow. And as her birthday approaches, I wanted to make sure that she’s never forgotten. Though I mourn her death every day, I know we will be together at some other place and time, and we’ll laugh and talk as we used to, when I was just a boy.