Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Great Grands

I have been thinking a lot about my grandparents lately. Probably because the holidays just passed and so did my birthday. In the past 5 years I have lost 3 of my 4 grandparents. I was very blessed to have them all up until I was 29, I know that is more time than most get. But, I started losing them at pivotal times in my life.

Gram was the first to pass away. She is my Dad's mother. Hubby and I had gotten engaged in December of 2002 and Gram passed away in May of 03, just a few months before my wedding. Luckily I had taken my mother, Gram and Nonnie with me to pick out my wedding gown. We took pictures of me trying on "The Dress." We had so much fun! Then we went to lunch and chatted and laughed away the afternoon. Luckily Hubby had the foresight to tell me to take along our video camera so I was able to capture those precious moments that were later able to be edited and put onto our wedding video.

Next was my Gramp (Mom's father.) He was 89! He was healthy up until the last year and then he got sick and never really recovered, he eventually had to go into a nursing home. One afternoon in January 2006 I was driving home from work and decided to stop and see him. His nursing home was close to my house and I knew he had been in and out of consciousness at that point, so I was aware the end could be very near. That afternoon I found Nonnie and Gramp in the lounge near a sunny window. He was asleep as he had been for days and Nonnie and I sat and talked for a bit. He didn't look good so I asked Nonnie if she would like to pray the Rosary out loud with me. So we did. As we were praying the Hail Mary, Gramp opened his eyes and tried to talk to us. It took us by surprise and it was difficult to hear what he was saying, but we think it was "I Love You." The moment started a flood of emotions in me that I couldn't hold back. He had such a look of peacefulness about him. I started crying and asking him to pray for me when he got to Heaven. I desperately wanted to have a baby and had gone through 2 years of fertility treatments and a recent miscarriage. I told him to please ask God to send us a baby because I wanted to be surrounded by children and grandchildren when it was my time to go. We brought Gramp back to his room where he stayed conscious long enough to say goodbye to his children as they arrived. And then he peacefully closed his beautiful eyes. Gramp died at 5:15 pm on January 5th. I believe he took my prayers to Heaven with him. My twin boys were born in September.

Gram (Lucie aka Luciana) and Gramp (Louis aka Luigi) would have loved these boys! Twins would have thrilled them, especially boys! And Luccio is named with them in mind! Vincenzo was named for Greg's grandmother Vincenza.

We were fortunate that my Nonnie (Mom's mother) and Poppy (Dad's father) were still with us to celebrate the births of their great-grandchildren.

Poppy was so proud! He saw them often at Sunday Dinner at my parents' house. And he celebrated their Baptism and their first Christmas with us. He prayed the Rosary every day for them. Sadly, Poppy got sick early into 2007. In March we knew the time was getting closer. The doctors had recently given him about 6 months to live. Hospice had come and set him up at home with what he may need. One night my parents were visiting with Poppy and I had talked to them on the phone. I decided at the last minute to pack up the boys (6 months old at the time) and go visit Poppy even though it was getting pretty late. My parents and aunt were there when we arrived and helped me unload the boys and bring them into Poppy's room. He was so happy to see them. We took some great pictures! They showed off their beautiful smiles for Poppy! It was a good night. The next morning I got the call that Poppy has passed away during the night. I'm thankful the boys will always have those great pictures of their last moments with their great-grandfather!

Last week I celebrated my birthday at my Nonnie's house with the boys and my mother and aunts and cousins. I am so thankful that the boys and I have Nonnie in our lives. They had such a great time doing all their tricks for her and showing off. And I am fortunate enough to be able to hear first hand her memories of the day I was born. She told me that it was the first time she flew on airplane by herself. She couldn't wait for me to be born. She describes how excited she was and how she stayed for 2 weeks to take care of me with my parents. Then at 2 weeks old Nonnie and my Mom brought me back to CT to visit Gramp and surprise him at work. Then they went over and surprised my Gram and Poppy. I love hearing the stories of how happy everyone was to meet me. Its a great way to celebrate my birthday! And I love that my boys have a great grandmother to share those memories with them.

I know in my heart my grandparents will always be with me. And I am happy that my boys have wonderful grandparents in their lives to spoil them and love them. I hope they get as many years with their grandparents as I have gotten with mine!

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