life continues

mom & dad on her birthday 3.8.2015

blog post 5.1.2015.

my father died april 1, 2015.  one month today.   my niece is getting married today.

the last six months of his life – my mother’s life,  my life, my siblings lives – were full of uncertainty:  will he begin to bleed and be rushed to the emergency department? will he need platelet transfusions or blood transfusions or both? days that turned into weeks and into months of a life fiercely holding on, and always the uncertainty.

my mother’s life, always organized around his care, his breakfast, lunch, dinner  are now endless, slowly moving hours, minutes, seconds.

i asked her yesterday what she misses most.  “shopping with him.  he drove me wherever i wanted to go.  even wanted to drive me to buy a carton of milk.  i told him i wanted to walk! but now wish he could still drive me.”

she’s cleaned out his shoes and his jackets.  when i suggested it may be too soon, she replied “he’s not coming back, why keep them?”

her life continues.  she’s turned the soil in the garden, raked the yard of old leaves, pruned the grape vine.  chores she always did by herself, as it had been many years since he was able to it with with her.  keeping busy.  keeping her routine.

yesterday, she said “she misses him, but is happy he was well taken care of and had his family with him throughout his illness.  every day someone was there”.   the last month of his life, he refused the hospital food.  she would go home, make him soup, hot dogs(!),  pasta (his favorite) and bring it back.

days before he died, she was there, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sisters, brothers and all his in-laws.  he was never alone and we were all there until his very last breath.  this makes her happy.

my niece is getting married today.  my father adored her and when she moved to australia, was sad, but supported her spirit of adventure.  there she met brendan, and her happiness is evident on her face, especially when she looks at him.  today is the first family “festa” (celebration) since my father died and for me, it is full of mixed emotions.  it will be strange to not have him there.  life continues.  we will celebrate.  as my father would have insisted (demanded).



as my father’s life slowly ebbs, each transfusion scheduled closer and closer, i want to honor what he has given me:  the definition of living life with honesty, with integrity, with loyalty.  every decision he made in his life was for the benefit of his family.  he has been a physically strong, very proud and independent man, he now accepts help he needs.  he loved in action not in words.  he valued education. he valued his italian culture.  he influenced and shaped who i am and how i live.  he taught me to learn to do things on my own by researching, asking questions and accepting help.

to the end of a challenging 2014 and am so happy you’re home to begin 2015.  happy new year dad.  i love you.

(photo:  christmas day 2014)