I have been crying on and off all day. I've been trying to keep busy so that I don't have time to think. But now the house is clean, the groceries have been bought, Gracie is content, and I am left sitting with my thoughts and a box of Milano's cookies...
I got a text from my mother this morning telling me that my Great Uncle Jim and my Great Aunt Fern passed this morning within minutes of each other.
Instantly, I felt a pain in my heart.
I mourned for my Aunt Fern, who was the most dainty of people. She never said an unkind word to me, or really anyone that I can think of. She was always the first to smile at me and give me the biggest hug her tiny body could give me. She always kept up on how I was doing. I selfishly loved her company because she reminded me a lot of my Great Grandma Mae. I loved this woman's company and my heart aches that my life will go on without her in it. I didn't see her as often as I would have liked, but when I did my day was made better for it. I miss her already. In her Fern like ways, she has requested to not have a funeral. She wants people to remember her alive and happy. That's how I will remember her: with a big smile and her arms open waiting for a hug; ready to spread some love.
As much as I loved Fern, I can't quite describe the bond I had with Jim, or as most everyone called him: Pino.
He was always a tell it like it is kind of man. You always knew you'd get the truth from him. He was honest and blunt and didn't care who didn't like it. As much of a Hard A as he was, he was the worlds BIGGEST teddy bear. The man knew how to love someone and I am grateful I got to experience it.
He always came to anything my sisters and I did: marriages, baby showers...he'd always welcome our visits and say "Oh, the prettiest girls in the world are here! Get over here and give me a hug!" I know he probably said that to everyone, but it always made me laugh and warmed my heart.
I will always remember his smile and how even in his sickest days it never faulted, neither did his dry wit and impeccable sense of humor. Two days ago, my sister was visiting him and I asked her to ask him how he was feeling. He, in his never ending sarcasm, said he felt like crap. (But in a more colorful way.) He never wanted pity, would never talk about what was wrong with him for long. He was always more interested in what you were doing with your life and eagerly waited to tell you what you were doing wrong and how you could fix it, but in the same breath--telling you how proud he was of you and how much he loved you. (...and if you wanted Biscotti)
I remember when I got married, how happy he was for me, even though he was too sick to attend. He told me to tell Daniel that if he hurt me, Pino would be coming for him. I laughed but I knew Pino meant business. When I was pregnant, I went to his big birthday celebration. He was so sick, he had to be seated the whole time and was on oxygen. That didn't stop him from telling me and my big pregnant self to take a seat on his lap, like he had done so many times before. He looked at the ultrasounds of Grace I had on my phone and said she'd be beautiful, like me. (Always the charmer) He told me to raise her right and not to do anything to screw her up, but that he wasn't worried because I'd be a good mom and that I had to bring Grace around when she was born. He also told me that I needed to finish school or he'd kick my butt.
That was the last time I saw Pino.
He was too sick to come to my baby shower, and I understood. Then after Grace was born, he couldn't come to her blessing, and I was wary of taking Grace out of the house period before she got her two month shots. But, even when he was sick, he made Grace two little hats and two little baby scarfs.
Through the passing months, there were opportunities for me to take Grace to visit him and my Aunt Geniel...but for some reason or another, I never did. I had my "reasons" but looking back now, none of them seem good enough.
I wish more than anything he could have met Gracie. I wish that I had taken the time and just GONE to see him, especially before we moved to California. But I had planned on stopping by during our Christmas Exodus, that way he could meet Daniel too.
My heart will always ache that Daniel will never know this awesome man that I loved and admired. It hurts to know that Pino didn't meet the man who I have vowed to love for eternity. I know he would have loved Daniel. I will always hold back tears knowing Pino will never meet Grace, and that Grace's life won't have him in it. That is so sad for her because I know that Pino made my life happier, and she won't have his bit of joy.
I am grateful that God took him home and ended Pino's suffering. Pino was a strong stubborn man, he wouldn't have wanted to live his life any way other than to the fullest. God knew Pino, and knew his heart, and He knew it was time for him to come home.
I will keep the hats and scarfs he made for Grace, and one day sit her down with pictures and tell her stories of Pino and how FULL of life he was.
Today, I am grateful that Daniel and I will be sealed in His holy Temple soon. The knowledge that I will see Pino again and that he is watching over us, makes my heart ache a little less. Knowing that he will be watching Gracie grow, but from afar, brings me some peace.
I miss him already and I wish I could have had one last hug. I wish I could have said goodbye. I wish I would have brought Gracie to meet him...
His passing makes me want to say "I love you" to every single person I love today. You never know when someone's time is up, only God knows that. I don't ever want to wish that I could have said "goodbye" again. Life is so very precious and Pino's life was definitely precious...To me, to my family, to everyone who knew him.
I miss you Pino...
God be with you till we meet again.
I love you.
|I miss you already|