My Grandpa’s Funeral

For those who don’t know, I sometimes write in a stream of conscious way. For this post, I’ll be doing so…

Il funerale di mio nonno

after the news, tears came. then came the plans. flights were booked. messages were sent. i just wanted to get there. flying was a nightmare but worth it. sleep would be had whenever possible. met parents at the buffalo airport at 6 am est after leaving LA the day before at 9 am pst. hugs with them, especially my mother. my beautiful mother.

la mia bella nonna. my beautiful grandmother. more tears came before a little sleep. then the wake. four hours of visitors. family seen, some I’ve seen recently and others I hadn’t. it was beautiful. and touching. and emotional. and a testament to my grandfather.

being surrounded by his family was his favorite thing in the world. and that was exactly how we celebrated him.

my aunts and uncles and cousins planned a wonderful memorial to him. it was absolutely lovely. hearing about his last moments made me understand what true love looked like. till the moment my grandfather passed, he thought about his wife. and the fact he was surrounded by family in those last (surprisingly) lucid hours makes me feel good. i know he wouldn’t want it any other way.

he was 97. lived an extraordinary and beautiful life (from fighting for the Italians and stationed in Africa to becoming a prisoner of war in the US during WWII to immigrating his family to America in the 1950s) and he gave me my mother. for that I will be forever thankful.

seven months ago I took my husband to meet him. i’m so grateful I had those moments with him. when he wasn’t giving me advice on having children (he did not like that we chose not too, haha!) he was telling his grandson-in-law stories about Sicily and our family’s early years in America. and he was still making my grandmother blush with stories about stealing kisses when she was in her teens.

the funeral and reception gave family and friends a time to honor him one last time before laying his body to rest.

and that’s when I looked around, saw all of my family’s faces in the same room and was filled with a warmth that I believe was love.

family.

love.

it’s what it’s truly all about, no?

thank you Nonno. I love you. and may you rest in peace and meet your love again wherever you are…

 

Flow of a funeral.

Shock. Sadness. Grief. Pain. Regret.

Quick plans. Bereavement fares. Last minute seats.

Supportive job. Supportive parents. Supportive friends.

Reality. Love. Channeled strength from the one gone.

Closed casket. Family members. Spirituality.

Hands held. Cheeks kissed. Tears streamed.

Mortality magnified. Thought.

Goodbye.

Memories. Food. Family. Friends. Strength in numbers.

Love.

Clean up. Continual goodbyes. Revelations.

Love.

Tears. Questions. Reality.

Love.

Finality. Headstone. Acceptance.

Lesson learned from the deceased.

Meaning. Growth.

Love.

mortality

I am watching “Breaking Bad” and have become hooked. Great show. Unbelievable writing, acting, direction… I don’t watch much television. In fact, I probably turn it on once a week, but that’s taking into account I watch television shows after the fact when they come out on DVD or will try to catch up on hulu.com if it’s something I enjoy while I’m eating or something, like The Office (though without Micheal Scott, they reallllllly need to call it a day.)

Anyway, as I watch “Breaking Bad”, I am reminded of the importance of life and how at any moment it can be taken from us, whether it be from cancer, criminal activity, accident, happenstance or just dumb luck. And the only moment we have is the one we are currently in. That said, this blog is not written with the intent of being morbid, but rather with the intention to wake people from the living dead.

The living dead.

What a waste.

Look around. It’s easy to see many people just going through the motions like a robot, doing what the think they should be but not what they actually want, almost as if they are just trying to make it to the next day, without feeling anything. I don’t know about you, but this saddens me when I see it. And if you haven’t noticed it, perhaps it’s because you are one of the living dead.

Life itself is THE “once in a lifetime opportunity” so how can it be wasted so easily??

I don’t get it. Fortunately, I was raised by parents who encouraged me to go after my dreams and I will be forever grateful but I also had to come to my own conclusions that I didn’t want to just settle for what others thought was best or for what one was “supposed” to do, especially to fit within societal mores.

Now, this is not to imply everyone should feel similar or think just like me. Not at all. What’s important to one person may not be important to the next, and that’s completely okay, provided no one forces ANYTHING upon another person. (Protection from that is actually what government is for, but I digress…) If you’re happy working on a corn field in Iowa, then by all means, go get yourself a job on one and enjoy! If you’re happy having ten children with your high school sweetheart, more power to you!

The point is to find what IS important to you, what motivates you, what you are truly passionate about and love with every inch of you being and GO AFTER THAT.*

Life can be taken at any moment, regardless of how careful one lives, but one can fight with all their might not to be the cause of their own death through the choices they make and also, not to go down without living the life one wants to live.

It’s NEVER too late until you take your last breath.

You have one chance before death comes and that is your life. Are you making the most of it?

I find it’s a good question to ask myself…

* (Again, I must point out this does not include use of force on any other person to achieve anything you want.)