Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No Tribute Great Enough...

I've never been one to have New Year's Resolutions. Somehow I feel as if each year turns out pretty much the same with me on the other end, a few more bumps and bruises, a few more lessons learned, another year older and sometimes none the wiser. I have no expectations for this year except to just survive each day that comes. 2010 was one of the most difficult years I have lived through to date. For some reason, I feel as if my ability to make wise decisions was switched off and everything that I thought would be wonderful soured in my mouth. Not to say that everything was doldrums and depression, but it has been a hard road with many trials.

As I look back on this year, it seems as though the only event on which I can focus is the passing of my Nonna. It's strange when one's life returns to a sort of normalcy and then actually realizing that fact and being all at once outraged and apathetic at the same time.

The holiday's were hard this year.

It was hard not being in Buffalo with her for the first time in years. It was strange not hearing her voice on the phone when we called to wish my Nonno Buon Natale. It was strange not getting her Christmas and Birthday cards. I remember going through my box of cards last year and purging a lot of useless correspondence I've held onto throughout the years, but something stayed my hand from throwing away any of her cards, even if there was just a "Buon Natale" in her beautiful script on the bottom. It seems providential now. It seems as though I don't have enough of her or from her and the harder I try to grasp at things and memories, the faster they fade away and I am left with just the feeling of her and the wonderful knowledge that for 26 years of my life I could call her mine. She was, and remains to be, the best person I have ever known....the strongest, the most patient, the most beautiful. The unbearable fact is that no matter what the timing of her passing was, I would still not have enough time with her because I want an eternity with her. For as much as she taught me and gave to me, it's not enough and there is always more time that I want with her.

During the last days of her life, she continued to teach us the meaning of strength. For as much pain as she was in and for as much as she was not able to talk, she would still croak out how much she loved us and still tell us not to cry and hold us in arms that she almost didn't have the strength to raise. And when she finally breathed her last, she was in her own house, surrounded by those she loved the most. I watched the light fade from her eyes.
And then I vomited.
And then my aunt and I dressed her for burial.

And then, in true Italian fashion, we opened the wine and set the table and drank and ate in honor and celebration of her life.

This post was not planned to be this, but this is what my heart is so filled with today.

She passed on a Wednesday night and her funeral was the following Monday. At the brunch afterward, I cannot count how many of my family came to me to tell me how much I look like her and how much I remind them of her. My Aunt Rosa told me that I remind her of her mother and that is the greatest compliment she could ever give to anyone. It is the greatest compliment I could ever receive.

So, despite not being big on New Year's resolutions, I want this year to honor her. I want to live my life in such a way that would make her proud. I want to live up to her memory and be the kind of woman she was: strong, loving, forgiving, patient, convicted, gracious, generous, and always ready with a meal on the table and plenty for everyone.

Never Had the Strength to Finish....


This post has been a long time coming. It seems as though I don't even have the energy to write, let alone think of what words I need to use in order to express my thoughts.

My Nonna is dead. She's been gone for over a month and I still can't reconcile myself to the fact that I will never again see her in this life. November 3, 2010, 7:45 p.m. My dad's birthday. I will never forget that date. I will never forget her legacy and her stories. And I wish so badly that I had just one more opportunity to sit on the front porch with her and hold her hand while we talk about everything and nothing.

I just want to document the final days of her life as a tribute to how strong she remained even at the very end, but I have no idea how to even make it through...