The drive to my Grandma Mary’s was done in silence. It was a short drive compared to the drive to the rest home. Once there we would knock on the door and enter the house. Seeing my dad’s mother we would greet her with hugs and the word “chow” which mean hello in Italian. Grandma’s English was not very good, but her hugs, kisses, and the glow on her face said it all. It was normally close to lunch time but the time did not matter. Once inside the house and right after our greetings Grandma Mary would call out to my Uncle Jimmy G to come and visit.

At the same time we would sit at the table and my Grandmother would bring food for my dad and I to enjoy. Sandwiches, soup, and pasta anything and everything could appear on the table. My dad would speak to my Grandmother in Italian until my uncle entered and said hello. Then we would go through the greetings process again. Eating the items placed in front of you was required or you would insult grandma. I just listened as my dad and Grandma spoke in Italian.

With the visit ending we would say our goodbye’s with lots of hugs and kisses and be on our way to visit my Aunt Grace, my father’s sister. The drive to my Aunt Grace’s house was over almost as soon as we settled into the car seat. There we would visit with Aunt Grace and my Uncle Jim F. The three of them would talk about their parents and how they were getting along with their health.

I am not sure but I think my mom, dad, Uncle Jim F and Aunt Grace had an agreement concerning their parents. My mom and dad took care of my Grandma Jessie and my Uncle Jim and Aunt Grace took care of Grandpa John and Grandma Mary. So based on this understanding these individuals would update each other as to the status of their respective charges. I did not participate in these discussions. Instead and depending on whom might be at Uncle Jim and Aunt Grace’s home I would visit with one of my four cousins.

Once the visit with my uncle and aunt concluded my dad and I would say our goodbyes and head to the car. The drive home was a little over two hours and this allowed us time to talk. We talked about how well my Grandpa John looked, how nice my Grandma was and how enjoyable Uncle Jimmy was and what help he was for my Grandma.

We would also discuss my father’s desires about his medical treatment in his golden years. I would listen and ask questions just to make sure I understood. I did not know this at this time but these trips would aid me later in life. They aided me with the decisions about his sudden illness. It was that incident that allowed my father to depart this life. He was happy feeling he had done everything he could for his children. He was on his way to his beloved wife, his Rose, my mother.

Those talks helped me in discussions with my wife who was seriously ill for a period of 12 years. I would listen to her and about how she wished to pass this life. I would hold her and try to be a comfort for her. I would ask her careful questions, just to make sure I understood her wishes. Yes, my father prepared me for the passing of my wife, my Monica. Two months after my father’s passing, my love, my wife of 38 years, my best friend for over 44 years, my Monica passed away from this life.

I had been prepared and trained for the passing of my wife, by my Father.

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