One year ago today marks the passing of my Nonno, or grandfather for those who are not familiar with Italian. Even though it’s still the early hours of the morning, I can already foresee that this is going to be one long, emotional, memory-filled day.
I still can’t believe that he is gone. There are times when I really don’t. It’s almost like he’s just “out.” Not gone, just away. I often find myself thinking, “Nonno would like this, I should get it for him,” when I come across something that I know he’d like. Then I stop and remember. And it makes me so sad. Nonno and I didn’t have your average grandfather/granddaughter relationship. It was special. Cliche sounding as everyone says that about someone they love, but after living with the man and experiencing what I have with him, our relationship was something unique. I will be the first to admit, he was not an easy man to live with. The first five years were tense to say the least. I am not going to get into details as that is a whole other story, but I really didn’t like living with him at first.
Fast forward to the last ten years and things were dramatically different. We shared stories, laughs, tears, fear, heartache. So much has happened in my family and I am sad for the ones who didn’t or wouldn’t get to know the man who I did. Through all the ups and downs and medical emergencies with Nonno, I learned how to be a survivor. He was truly the epitome of the word. At least to me. Not many people I know, or many people in general can have nine (yes, NINE) heart attacks and actually survive them. Nonno did. He always did. I half expected him to survive his last time in the hospital. But around the time he went in, this feeling of dread hit and before I knew it, he was gone.
Part of me was happy that he passed as I knew that he was no longer in any pain, but for the most part I was angry and sad. I felt like more could have been done for him. And maybe I am right, but maybe not.
All I have now is my memories of him and the love that we had for each other. One of my favourite memories was when I finished my university courses in December 2011. I remember him asking me if I was going to school one day and I said no. I told him that I was finished and that I would be graduating. His face lit up in a huge smile and he hugged me and patted me on the back. He was so proud of me and I could really feel how much it meant to him that I had accomplished what I did. The look on his face is something that I will cherish forever.
My world became a darker place without him. I miss him so much.
Riposa in pace Nonno. Ti amo e mi manchi ogni giorno. Tu eri una parte enorme della mia vita e sarò sempre ti amo teneramente.