Sweet Bella Vita

a dash of motherhood… a sprinkle of homeschooling… and a pinch of photography ( with a side of compassion )

my mom and dad

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For those of you that know me, you know that come fall I get a little depressed and somewhat anxious about the impending winter months. Some of that is impart due to all the losses I have suffered at this time of the year.
Today is the seventh anniversary of my fathers death … And just a few weeks ago it was the fifth anniversary of my moms passing.
my mom and dad dancing at their wedding

my mom and dad dancing at their wedding

Life without my parents is strange and even though it has been years once in a while I still pick up the phone and dial their number.

Someone told me when I lost my dad that it will get easier and that it takes five years to grieve . I am not sure that is correct .  According to that I should be “fine” now … But I will be honest I still have complete break downs where I cry my eyes out  and scream and wish that I could see and hear my parents again … Moments where I am mad as hell that they died on me.

And as for the five year grieving process; well I can say that, yes, it does get easier, as with time I  got used to not having them around. I have gotten  used to not calling my mom for her advice or expecting a birthday call from them and I have gotten  used to not seeing them or hearing from them but as for missing them less or the easier part I am not so sure about. It gets harder for me to truly remember the sound of their voices, or the touch of their hands.  And I hate that my children will never know them.  And as more time goes by the memories feel like they are memories of memories.

this was the last time my son and I saw my dad alive and well… he was saying goodbye to my son here, that is who he is smiling at.

this was the last time my son and I saw my dad alive and well… he was saying goodbye to my son here, that is who he is smiling at.

The night my dad died, I drove like a maniac to get the hospital (a moment I am not proud of) but I so desperately wanted to hear him or say goodbye to him and tell him I loved him and he was a great dad … I did not make it, and in fact I was told he had already died while I was driving over a bridge by a very cold and uncompassionate  male nurse who didn’t seem phased by the fact that he had just informed me that my father was no longer living . I was sooo  mad; which only made me drive even crazier. When I finally did arrive and walked into the room , he was still somewhat warm, but I could feel the warmth escaping his body , and in that moment I stopped breathing. I never experienced this before and for a moment I was unable to take a breath and my mind could not process any thing other then the fact that I lost my dad. It was at that moment that my mom noticed my wheezing and shoved my head out the hospital room window in a panic to get me to breath, thinking the cold air hitting my face would help me snap out of it, which it did.
my dad, me and my brother, our last trip to italy just before my dad passed away

my dad, me and my brother, our last trip to italy just before my dad passed away

Just a few weeks after our last trip to Italy together, my daddy was gone. He had such a charismatic personality. He would talk to everyone and made friends with everyone. This personality trait used to drive me nuts as a teenager. His way of telling stories of captivating everyones’ attention, truly enjoying life because of the people around him. He loved being surrounded with people. A good meal and a beautiful glass of water, yes water. It  was all about the company. The stories, the laughs. His stories always had a way of taking a turn for exaggeration. A perfect example; on a trip to italy, with a stop over in new york when I was about 14, we had been on the run way waiting for take off behind maybe 6 or 7 airplanes  ( that was causing a delay ) … by the time we got to italy and he had told the story to every person along the way . The story turned into “we were stuck on the run way behind 60 airplanes!!!!”  And by the time we came back , it was closer to 120 airplanes. It was all about the humour.
my daddy and me

my daddy and me

He had mastered the art of bartering (which I am so envious of today) . He would have tons of bread or oil or what not in his car  and we would take drives in the country and he would stop at random  farms and barter with the items he had . The amazing part is he always made friends out of this. And my all time  favorite memories is of  our many trips to italy. Italy felt magical and special. It was all about family and time together.   I was so lucky to have a dad who took the summer off to take his daughter to italy, to enjoy the food and the culture and spend time visiting family.  My eldest child reminds me so much of my dad.
the happiest I had seen my dad in a long time. holding my first born (the only grandchild he met)

the happiest I had seen my dad in a long time. holding my first born (the only grandchild he met)

I left the hospital that evening after my dad died like a zombie,  I had no idea what to do, my mom took action and started to plan his funeral.
my very handsome dad

my very handsome dad

I was so impressed at her strength and her energy . She spoke to people on the phone, whereas all I could muster up was ” bauuuuhhhhhhhh”  kind of sound as I passed the phone to my mom and ran away crying.  she asked for my advice and all I could do was cry and cry. I wish I had paid closer attention as little did I know that less then two years later I would have to muster up that strength and burry my mom.
my mom and me

my mom and me

And so on a cool October night, I asked my husband to go  check on my mom, as she was not answering the phone.  I paced in my kitchen dialing her number repeatedly, praying and hoping she would answer the phone  and if not she better have fallen down her stairs and broken her leg or she  better have a good damn excuse for not answering the phone. Finally I got the dreadful call from my husband and with five simple  words from him  “I am so sorry lisa”  the breath was once again knocked out of me, but this time I  yelled with all my might as loud as my lungs would allow me “nooooooooooo!!!!”
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 No, I thought this has got to be a dream, this can not be happening, not my mom too, why ? Why ? What has she done? She was so generous and kind, and thoughtful, she went out of her way to help so many people. Wether it was for a lift, or company at the hospital or doctors office , or  just simply to lend a hand. She was the true epitome of the meaning of  giving of ones self. I had so much to learn from her still.  From her excellent sewing skills  to her passion for giving and helping others in such an effortless and kind way.  It was always second nature to her, regardless if the person was a friend or not. And in fact this is what bugged me about my mom. She had this HUGE garden and we lived by a subway station and people would walk down our street to take the subway or walk home at night she would start talking to everyone/anyone and tell them “wait here” and she would run to her garden and fill up a bag with as much stuff as she could.  What a strange thing to bug me, but as a teenager anything your parent does that is out of the ordinary  is embarrassing and I always felt like an Italian growing up in a North American culture.   As for her sewing , well she tried on so many occasions to teach me a thing or two, but I always thought she would be around.
one of the last times I saw my mom alive

one of the last times I saw my mom alive

And so on a cold October day I buried my mom in the same hole that was dug up not even two years earlier.  I waited after everyone left. I did not want to leave the cemetery; my parents where both there, and it felt so odd to just walk away.  And so I waited so long that the guys that work at the cemetery came to officially burry her. But before they lowered her down I asked if I could have some tool or something to feel my dads coffin. I know such a strange  request, but I wanted to know that my dad was there, and so the kind man went and got a long shovel and even moved the earth and let me touch my dads coffin with the tool. I could hear the sound of the metal that covered my dads coffin, and I think I may even have gotten a tiny glimpse of it as I am sure I saw the goldish color, but threw all the  tears in my blood shot eyes it is hard for me to know for sure.  After thanking the cemetery workers, I stood by and watched them lower my mom into the ground and in that moment I asked my dad to take care of my mom.  As I watched them cover the coffin with earth I said goodbye to both of them; I felt the cold autumn air hit my face and I wondered if they were cold too.
my beautiful mom

my beautiful mom

A little special memory is my oldest,  only 3 years old when my mom died came to me and asked me why I was crying, I told him I was sad because I  lost my mommy, and his reply was “mommy don’t cry I will help you find her.”
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Life is indeed short, what it special is the memories you leave behind, for those you left behind, to fill the hole in their hearts.
my mom and dad on my wedding day

my mom and dad on my wedding day

To my mom and dad, wherever you are, may your souls be free and happy and know that you are forever in my heart and I love you and your memories at times make me laugh and at times make me cry.

Lisa
This was a rather therapeutic post for me to write … thank you for reading.

10 Comments

  1. And so therapeutic to read Lisa. Thank you for sharing and helping the rest of it put words on especially tender memories. Much love and light to you! xoxoxoxo

  2. It is such an incredibly touching post!

  3. Emozionante e commovente. Un grande abbraccio dall’Italia, Lisa.
    Greta

  4. So beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. What a beautiful post. Your parents sound like such loving people. My family was quite Greek (though my parents grew up in Australia and were ‘less Greek’ than my relatives) and I’m always struck by how similar Greek and Italian culture is. It was only after my grandmothers died a few years ago that I realised I’d never asked them to teach me this or that (cooking, crochet) and I never really asked them about their lives as young women. I think I just always thought they’d be there, and that there would be plenty of time. Thank you for sharing this, it has certainly made me want to go off and reflect a lot!

    • awe thank you so much for your nice comment … and I too have always thought how similar italian and greek culture is. although i always found it odd how the language is not at all similar LOL

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