I had no idea what my first real blog would be about, so this one being my first is kind of bittersweet.
Lucia Laudini, my Nonna passed away this morning. She was a whopping 96 and she passed away peacefully with her family around her. Her daughter, my Grandma Nancy, held her in her arms and my Nonna Lucy squeezed her hand so she'd know that she knew they were there just before she passed. She was an inspiration to us all, probably the strongest woman I've ever known, and she will NEVER be forgotten!
I only knew her for about a quarter of her life but she impacted my life more than she probably realized. Though she was unable to go with me, I was fortunate enough to visit her home town of Trecastagni, Sicily for the first time while I was studying abroad in 2004 and again this past February with my entire family, American and Italian. It was so incredible seeing what her life was like there, even though she left over 50 years ago. Before she got too old, she and my grandparents would go as often as possible to visit the family over there. She was so amazing at keeping in touch with all of them, and it really showed in how much they took care of us there!
Her husband, my Nonno Joe, passed away about 15 years ago and to be perfectly honest I'm surprised she made it this long without him! They were soooo in love. I remember them taking Joey and I down to the park to fly kites on breezy autumn afternoons. She wore only all black for years after he passed away. The one great thing about going to the funeral on Monday will be that she'll be buried in the same plot as him, finally reunited! I believe her son, my Uncle Fred who passed away about five years ago is buried there as well, so she'll be with her son too. My Grandma told me this morning that they're all probably having a party up there without us!
Here's a picture of my Nonna and Nonno's house in Sicily. The photo is taken as we were driving down the hill from the church, which is directly behind us.
Here's a photo of their church. The woman in the photo is my Zia Anna, my Nonna Lucy's sister in law. She still lives in Trecastagni and took such great care of us while we were visiting! She really loved my Nonna.
Nonna Lucy was the matriarch of the family and always the life of the party! She loved the beach. She made the best pizza in the history of the world and she never let anything slow her down. She knitted the most beautiful, warm and cozy blankets. And she LOVED turtles! She had two little pet turtles that lived in her garden when I was a kid. Supposedly she smuggled them back from Italy in her bra! I really mean it, she loved turtles! She love all animals actually. She used to sneak Chase and Sydney pasta under the table and then mouth "shhh" to them with her finger to her lips.
I'm fortunate enough to have a very young family and have known four of my great grandparents. Here's a photo of four generations of women in my family: me, my Mom, my Grandma and my Nonna. It was taken about 6 years ago, doesn't she look fantastic for 90?!
She was always up for playing with her grand kids and great grand kids. She had the best sense of humor, even when Luca strapped random things to her head! And every single birthday she was blown away by how old she actually was. It was kind of like she stopped believing the numbers. If you asked her how old she was she responded "49!" I think that was really her secret to staying so young until the age of 96. Here she is looking gorgeous on her 96th birthday, just recently on December 13, 2008.
She lived such a full life and has been such an inspiration, I can only hope to be half as amazing as she was. Nonna Lucy, you will live in our hearts forever.