|Mama and me as an infant|
I took half a day off from my job in Pittsburgh, PA on this day ten years ago to meet my sister, Tinky so that we could drive to the hospital in Peterborough, ON to see Mama knowing she didn't have much time left. We arrived to find many of our family members gathered around her and overflowing out into the waiting area on what was the last time we would hear her speak, two weeks before she would make her transition out of her earthly body back home to heaven.
My Mum, her daughter, Doris asked her again if this is what she really wanted, meaning opting against dialysis knowing the renal failure would soon take her. She insisted she'd had a good long life of 87 years. I asked if there was anything she would ask of us or wishes we could carry out.
She asked that we not be somber once she's gone, wear only respectful colors, not black and that we do this for eight days as a period of mourning. So I would wear a beige, cream and burgundy pantsuit to her funeral and eulogize her in a way I think she would have approved of.
I asked her if she minded if I have one of her rosaries. She bequeathed me her black onyx one which she always carried in her handbag, and which I now always carry in mine.
As a baby, I spent much time with her and my grandfather, Toto who was Italian. He used to feed me spaghetti, one noodle at a time as I sat on his lap.
As I grew into an adult, in my 20's and 30's she shared stories with me of how she lived her life to the fullest without regret and advised that I should do the same. I traveled a lot in those years and Mama was always there to help me pack, sharing travel and packing tips with me from her days of adventure traveling around the world.
I knew she always had my back telling me not to let the gossip get to me and to just say with conviction that I am living my life to the fullest, enjoying my journey and so what? I wasn't hurting anyone.
She would tell me to keep my cards close to my chest, not to share too much or trust too easily, pointing out where the gossip leaks were from time to time over the years, always fortifying me with her support.
I miss her voice but I know she's still showing me the pitfalls in life. I sense her in spirit as I feel her guidance always. I pray on her rosary and I know she's pleased about that.
I inherited her fierce love and protectiveness of my family, her strong beating heart, her sense of adventure and certainly her feisty spirit.
There is no lesson here today, just a reminder to hug those you love, keep them in your heart as they are always gone too soon.