Friday, March 31, 2017

Honoring Lucy's Wishes

 My husbands mother  Lucy passed away in August of 2016 but the family waited til this March to honor Lucy's wishes for her ashes to be placed together with her husband  at  the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery located in the city of Rittman, in Medina County, Ohio.  On Thursday March 16th the family made the journey to Rittman.  It was a cold snowy day when we gathered there.

 As we all gathered together Lucy's youngest grandchild Amanda Cabot read this eulogy she wrote for her Grandma Lucy:

"There’s an old adage that goes, “Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own
garden and decorate your own soul.” As cliche as it may sound, it contains an important truth:
the best people are those who define themselves on their own terms.
My grandma, Lucy Cabot, was someone who, literally and figuratively, planted her own garden.
Her yard was never anything short of immaculate -- the way she nurtured flowers and herbs and
trees and anything else that comes from dirt was artful. But she, as a person, was far more
remarkable and beautiful than any arrangement of flowers could ever be. Sometimes stubborn,
especially when she was asking if you wanted more food, but never, never unkind, she added a
colorfulness to the world that will not soon be forgotten.
Born just before the Depression and raised by definitively Italian parents mere steps from this
church, she grew up a lively child with a penchant for running, marbles, and art. Her and her six
siblings did not have it easy, but this didn’t stop her from achieving remarkable success. After
moving to Lakewood during her junior high years, she graduated third in her class, on the same
stage on which all five of her children and one of her grandchildren would eventually receive a
similar diploma.
Throughout her adult life, she was wholly dedicated to family, most especially to her husband,
Nate, and her five kids: Coni, Sandi, Mike, Tony, and Rock. She was beloved by her children
not just for her endlessly loving and caring nature but also for her excellent pasta sauce, which I
personally do not think can be emulated.
When I was born, she was 71 and in what seemed to me to be the prime of her life. I've never
met someone who does what they love as much as she did. Whether it was cooking some
exquisite dish, planting some flowers, drawing a picture of said flowers, playing Pinochle with
her best friends, chatting with her fellow Red Hatters, crocheting a doily that would put even a
seasoned crocheter’s best work to shame, putting Christmas decorations up that brought the
phrase “winter wonderland” to life, or beating her opponent (usually me) in this weird version of
Scrabble called Upwords that she probably picked up just because it was impossible to beat my
grandpa in real Scrabble, she did everything with a fierce and inspirational passion that all of us
can only hope to someday possess.
My grandma’s lifelong dream was to one day go to Hawaii, so in 2005, when I was 7, we packed
up as a family and went indeed. We got there at night, so it wasn’t possible to truly see the
beauty of our surroundings until the next morning. My grandma was always an early riser, and
I’m always an early riser when in Hawaii, so that first morning we found ourselves sitting alone
together at the table on the balcony, watching the sunrise, each of us eating a bowl of Quaker
Oats Instant Peaches and Cream oatmeal. The scene we saw in front of us was unlike anything
words can rightfully describe: flowers of every color bloomed in every direction, mango trees
towered above us, roosters scuttled through the thick foliage, green mountains provided a lush
backdrop, and, in the distance, the turquoise ocean, lined with palm trees and white sand,
waved and beckoned. My grandma turned to me, her face lit orange by the rising sun, and said
simply: “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
The scene we witnessed that day I like to think of as her garden, the one that she planted
herself, the one that decorates her soul. Her uniqueness, her ardor, and her love made her soul
perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Though her presence will be missed, her
spirit lives on, in this church, on West 69th street, in the art she made, on a balcony in Kauai,
and, most of all, in us."

 Lucy and Nate on their wedding day June 1947.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day 4 and 5 Family Togetherness and the Big Snow Storm.

Lucy's wishes were that after passing her remains would be placed together with her husbands. Our mission on Tuesday March 14th were to honor her wishes as a family.   However a big snow storm  hit that day and deterred us.  We were able to postpone the burial until Thursday when we hoped the weather would be more forgiving. It was a quiet day and evening on the 14th and 15th

 Sofia wakes up to a very snowy day...

 Mike and Rex shoveled snow.

 Mike had made a lot of food just as his mother would have done when she was alive.

The family all ate together   

 Sofia continued to enjoy her surroundings and all the attention from family

Just like the old days everyone gathered to eat and talk around the kitchen table

 That night of the 14th many of the family went to the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game.

   On the 15th day 5 it was a better day. Snow was falling less and many of the family went shopping at the West side Market and touring.  I stayed home and had fun with Sofia.  I wore her out apparently as she napped quite soundly.

In the evening we continued to enjoy old family photos and letters. 

 Mike's parents wedding photos were beautiful to see

 Mike's parents with their first born daughter Coni.
 Lucy seated next to her mother and above her two sisters.
The entire Costanzo family: Standing L-R  Dan, Frank, Joe, Carl, Angie
Seated L-R Father Antonio, Mother Concetta, Fifi, Lucy holding first grandchild Coni

 A wonderful time with family. Evenings full of nostalgia and thoughts of Lucy and Nate, lives well lived.

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