If someone were to tell me that I would have 87 years to...
...and just LIVE.
My reply would be, "where do I sign?"
Yet, when we lose someone after those 87 years, it just doesn't seem long enough. There's always going to be that impending feeling of yearning to see that person just one more time. Knowing full well that you could see them 50 more times and it still wouldn't be enough.
Always wanting that one more time to hear them sing, be teased in only the way that they could tease, feel them reach for your hand, listen to them tell you they love you, have them look at your children with the purest kind of love you've ever seen. We always want more. Always.
Nonno, you take up a huge space in my heart that will live on forever. Never to be matched or filled by anyone. Ever.
Your memory will remain strong, just as your presence in this family has been over the years. You and Nonna created an empire, within which gave your 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, the kind of life that movies are made about (Seriously! Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Exchange Greek for Italian and BINGO!) With strong family bonds, respect, laughter, sharing meals, and love at the heart of it all.
You taught us all about what it means to be a leader, a hard worker, a father, a brother, a grandfather, and a husband. For 61 years you created and built upon a love that that 2 people shared. Together you gave us a family that knows no bounds in the love that we all share for each other.
That happened because of you. 2 people. 2 hearts. 2 souls.
Both of you selflessly gave, to make sure that we all had. I only wish the same for all the great grandchildren. I hope that we are half as successful at imparting the wisdom and strong family values on to our children as you both were for us.
As for your children. I can't speak for them, and I know that a PERFECT father you were not.
But who is?
We are all doing the best we can. Trying to live honestly and do right by those we love. Trying the only way that we know how to raise happy, healthy, well rounded, respectful, independent humans.
I think, for your children, that trying to figure life out without you is going to be a long road. I know that if they could have hugged you and told you they loved you one more time, they wouldn't hesitate. I know that they respected you, learned from you and loved you. I also know all the good that you taught them will carry on through generations while they continue to support and love their own children and grand children.
So, it is with a very sad and heavy heart that I say goodbye. I myself am not sure how this family looks without your presence. It feels a little unsettling at the moment. Almost unnatural.
But I will forge on with the mind set that I was lucky to have you to loose in the first place. I was blessed to share 34 of those 87 years with you. You were a wonderful grandfather. You taught me so much. Waaaaaaay too much to list here. I could not be prouder to have so much in common with you. To share the same love of good food, hearty laughs, Italian temperament (especially when we are hungry...grrrrrrr), and a super human sense of smell.
My life was enriched because of you and Nonna. My husbands life was enriched. My children's lives. I could never put into words how grateful I am to have grown into a woman under your influence. Love and respect to you now and forever.
I am hanging my flag at half mast today, Nonno. Hope you are soaring high and enjoying your new life and whatever it might bring.
One last parting thought. Something you taught me at a very young age. Something I will carry with me for years to come. Something I will NOT be teaching my children....
"Faciaco come me para"
Translates to - "I do what I want!"