She came to this country from Sicily as a small child and then helped to raise her six siblings. Married at 15, a mother at 16 and very little education, she was the smartest person I have ever known. She lived through the Great Depression and one of the things she took from that was deep dislike of ground meat. It was the only meat available to them and for as long as I have known her, the only time she would ever touch it was when she was making meatballs for pasta. But she would only taste the mixed meat raw and that's all. She never ate those delicious meatballs she made for the rest of the family.
She began working later in life and driving even later, not getting her drivers license until well into her 50's. She worked into her 80's. A funny little story I just recently was told was that when she was 80 and working in a pizza parlor doing what she did best, cooking, she asked for a day off to go to her son's 65th birthday party. Well her boss thought SHE was 65 so he asked her how she could have a son who was 65 if that's how old she was. My quick thinking Grandma said, "he's my husband's son." She went to the party and she continued to work.
She was sharp as a tack until the very end. She knew everyone who came to visit her. She knew what was happening to her. She was aware that her condition was very bad. I sat at her side every single day, held her hand, soothed her and told her how much I loved her. And even though she could not speak, I could see in her eyes that she was telling me she loved me too.
I am who I am today because of the love of this wonderful woman. And my heart aches with sorrow at how much I will miss her. But yet, I know I'm lucky. Believe me when I say that because to be 42 years old and have a loving Grandmother in my life is practically unheard of. My whole family is lucky, especially my mother who, at 78, has had her mother her whole life. Which reminds me of another little story. Two years ago my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Grandma asked me to take her shopping for a card. When we got to the card shop she looked around and looked around. Finally she said to me, "I can't find a 'To daughter and son in law on your 50th wedding anniversary' card" I smiled and looked for another card for her. It just never dawned on her that most people don't live to see their children celebrate 50 years of marriage so a card like that most likely does not even exist.
I can go on about her forever. Her love for her family was unparalleled. But I will leave you with a thank you for all the beautiful emails and messages. For all the prayers and condolences. For being the most thoughtful people in the whole world and always making me feel special. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you and end with the poem that reminds me of my beautiful Angelina and if I have the courage, will be reciting it at her funeral on Saturday.
i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)