Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Grandmother and dragonflies

My Dad's Mother, my Mom-mom Schiavelli, or Mom-mom "spaghetti" as my children referred to her before they could pronounce Schiavelli, died on July 3rd. She had been hospitalized the week before and luckily, I was able to spend a great deal of time with her the few days before her death. She was 87 years old, a traditional italian wife and mother who doted on and cared for her husband up until his death 3 years ago. She was a breast cancer survivor. She was a marvelous cook, a really good scrabble player and I have so many wonderful memories of her that I hold close to my heart. We had gotten much closer since the death of my grandfather. My grandmother spent most, if not all of her energy caring for him especially during the last several years of his life. I remember after he died thinking 1 of 2 things may happen. She would bounce back and enjoy her time to do the things she couldn't do before, or she would fall into some kind of funk and live out the rest of her life sad and depressed. When I found out that she was headed to Wildwood with a friend of hers a week or so after the funeral - I knew she was going to be OK.

She was diagnosed with lung cancer last summer and although she was not going through aggressive treatment, she was able to remain comfortable and relatively healthy for several months before feeling sick and eventually succumbing to this crappy disease. I will say - she lived her life pretty much the way she wanted to and she was loved by everyone who encountered her and was lucky enough to have her in their life.

I could go on and on, but I will share just some of my favorite memories both old and new:

  1. Her fingernails. They were thick and well manicured. When she told stories at the dining room table, I would notice her hands folding a napkin or smoothing out the tablecloth.

  2. Her jewelry - mostly costume that she kept in her dresser and would let me peruse and try on anytime I wanted.

  3. Raiding her pantry closet in Pleasant Hills for chewing gum and candy. Pop-pop loved chocolate, Mom-mom loved her Wrigley's and there was always ample amounts of both for the taking.

  4. Watching her play Ant Smasher on my smart phone. This kept her entertained while in the hospital this past winter.

  5. Hearing her say "you're so cute!" to both of my kids while giving them her Mom-mom hugs.

  6. The look on her face when she would see my daughter. I am so glad I brought Ells to see her in the hospital just a few days before she died. It was a great, happy visit!

  7. Bringing her GeneralTso's chicken - one of her favs!

  8. Her love for rice pudding and Vanilla milkshakes

  9. Recently sharing all my photos and videos of the kids with her on my Mac and watching her reaction to seeing many pictures she had never seen before.

  10. Dancing in the livingroom in Pleasant Hills at Christmas time.

  11. Playing bingo and Rummy tiles with her and my kids.

I was a mess at her funeral. I couldn't stop crying. Everytime I saw her laid out in her coffin, or when I saw friends and relatives giving their condolences to my Dad or my Aunts, I cried. I still cry. I miss her very much and even though I spent as much time with her as a could over the years, I wish I had spent more time with her. She was the best story teller - and I could sit and listen to her for hours upon hours talking about the "olden days". She was beautiful inside and out. I hope to have inherited some of her youthful genes, but most of all I hope I have the love and kindness in my heart that she possessed.

A week ago at our pool there I noticed a very large, very beautiful dragonfly just hanging around. The other night we went to a Blue Rocks game, and a dragonfly would not leave us alone. High speed fly-bys, and even landed on my husband's head. I drive by my grandmother's cemetary every day to and from work. It's only open from 8:30-4 each day, so it's normally closed when I'm passing by. Yesterday morning I was running late and noticed the gate was open as I stopped at a red light. I thought about popping in for a visit, but realized I probably should just head to work. The moment the light turned green, a dragonfly landed on the hood of my car, and it flitted around the car for about 2 blocks as I drove away.

I googled it this morning and found the following:

Dragonflies are messengers of the elemental world. Some cultures believe they are symbols for renewal, change, maturity, and depth of character. Now I've never been really into the elemental world, but I'm taking all this in and can't help but wonder if someone's trying to tell me something.

I'm keeping my eyes, ears and heart open. I'm am missing my Mom-mom and hoping she has more to tell me in the years to come. I'm also thinking I may need another tattoo . .

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