Tag Archives: Death

Family

gramsIn all the bustle of my daily life, I wanted to take a moment to remember my Grandmother, Mary Pennisi.  It was just two years ago that we lost her, and her birthday is just a few weeks away.

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.

2012-04-23T17-35-34_15When 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.

My Friend John — King of the Pokemon

John DulickToday I wanted to take a moment to remember my friend, John Dulick who died on the Fourth of July, 2013.

I met John in June of 2005 when I moved to Chester. Since day one I knew we’d be friends because he welcomed me to the neighborhood before any of my immediate neighbors did. And after attending his funeral today, it has really sunk in that my friend is gone and I won’t see him again.  No more debates over books and politics, or just talk like friends do.

John was a good friend to everyone he met.  He had his own way of interacting with people; one of the most real people I’ve ever known.  He never pretended to be someone he was not and accepted people for who they were — no matter their race, religion or creed.  He was everything we should all remember to be.

Every night, I would see him at the store. We would talk, sometimes so long my family would wonder where I was — and when I got home all I had to say was “John” and they knew.

John encouraged people to do what they dreamed. He admonished or supported you depending on the situation. He was deeply umbreonthoughtful and intelligent. He would listen to you about anything you wanted to talk about. Especially if it was Pokemon or books.  He always had a way of getting you to hear what he was saying — in his own special way.

I’m writing this tonight, because I will never forget him as long as I live.  He encouraged me so many nights to be what I wanted to be, and would listen to me ramble no matter how late it was, or even if it was after hours.  My only regret is that he and I talked for months about battling our prized Pokémon together, but life and schedule just never let it happen.  So rather than battle, John, tonight I am retiring my Umbreon, because he would have lost to you anyway.

John’s family has asked that you donate money you would have spent on flowers to Bensley-Bermuda Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 3360, Chester VA 23831 — the people who tried to save his life.

Good-bye, my friend.  You will never be forgotten and we will miss you.