My Nonna passed away this morning. I’m feeling numb about it, even though I knew it was coming and ever since her last stroke a month or so ago, was coming to terms with the fact that she was dying. She was a wonderful woman, and one of the smartest, sweetest, strongest women I know, and I will never, ever forget her.

As I mentioned in my blog that I linked to above, on Christmas Eve (the night before her first heart attack, and really, the beginning of the end), I visited her for Christmas and it was the first time I had seen her since the divorce situation began. I want to sear this memory in my brain forever, as it was one of my favorite moments with my nonna that I will never forget. She pulled me next to her, as she sat in her favorite chair, and looked at me, and could tell I was really sad. She held my hand, hugged me close and talked to me quietly. She said “nonna is always thinking about you, and praying for you. I love you, you are strong, you will be ok. I love you honey, and am always here for you.” And she gave me a kiss on the cheek, and let me cry, and just sat with me. And it was a really powerful moment for me, and I am so thankful God gave me that special time with her, its significance will never been forgotten.

My sisters and I have some very fond memories of Nonna, and we’ve been talking about them often, particularly recently. Some of our favorites –

  1. eating “nonna soup” (this was the BEST italian wedding soup ever made…never knew it was called wedding soup until my 20s – no lie!) – she would put the soup into brown wooden bowls for us, as kids, and we’d bring them on the porch, and let them cool down, then we’d put parmesan cheese on top, and devour it, with Virgilio’s bread. We would ask her to make this for us all the time – for our birthday, for holidays, whenever she would make it. And she loved it, because she couldn’t believe someone could love “just” soup so much. But it was her soup, it was made with care and love.
  2. hiding under the dining room table, and in the cabinets, playing with pans. okay, this was a really young childhood memory. We were probably 5 or 6, and we’d hide under the table and play and she would peek under at us.
  3. yucky celery – aka fresh anise. We LOVED this stuff as kids, but always called it yucky celery. Nonna loved that, thought it was so funny.
  4. sleepovers at nonna’s. We would sleep over on the weekend sometimes, and in the morning, she would be up super early, making meatballs for Sunday dinner (notice all of this centers around food? We’re Italian, what can I say).
  5. nonna babysitting us. She would lay between us until we fell asleep, and she always used to tell the story of the time we were sleeping but one of us slowly shifted our arm over her head, and held hands with another sister. She thought that was so cute, and it was, we loved holding hands as kids!

I could go on and on, but those are just some of the memories of Nonna. She was wonderful, she was special, I was lucky to have her as my nonna for almost 30 years, and she will always be my Nonna. I love you, and will always hold a special place in my heart for you.