Think of the strongest person you know, not physically but emotionally, mentally. For me that person was my grandmother Ann DePasquale, who just passed away. This woman could not be slowed down by anything. Here are some of my favorite moments in her life.
As a teenager, everyone at school was going swimming for a field trip. Like a good Italian daughter, she asked her father, an immigrant new to this country, if she could go. He emphatically said no, swimming can kill you. The next time they where invited to go she learned her lesson and forged the permission slip. That’s my grandma- forever the badass.
As an adult she was married and widowed by age 39 with two kids under 15. Imagine 1968 and being a single mother. If you think women’s rights are bad now I cannot image how hard it was for her to be the bread winner and mother to two kids. But she did and was amazing. Both my uncle and my mother are true testaments to her strength. That’s my grandma- no challenge could stand in her way of happiness.
When I was about 8 there was a party in our neighborhood. For some reason I was obsessed with wearing a white skirt which of course I did not own. 20 minutes before the party my grandma said “well lets go get you one!”. We got in the car, drove to Old Navy and bought me one. As you can guess I wore it at the party and felt like a million bucks. That’s my grandma- making things happen.
When I was about 12, my sister came home with a turtle she found. My parents were on a trip so my grandma was watching us. We were so giddy to have a pet because up to this time we only had like 6 goldfish that all died. She asked us if our parents would care, “Of course not”, we replied! And that is how we have our turtle Squirt. That’s my grandma- go with the flow.
When I graduated college she came to support me. During mass that weekend I utterly broke down. I did not want to leave college and had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life, it all seemed too big. She held me and told me that this was a time to celebrate and big things were in my future. That’s my grandma- the optimist.
After college I moved to DC and then NYC. While working around Citi Field one day I called my grandma complaining I was tired and wanted to retire. I cannot image what went through her head. Here is this 24 year old who has everything and lives in an amazing city complaining. If I could only have been in her shoes at 24. But she responds with a laugh and says “oh you honey you cant retire, you have to work for much much longer.” That’s my grandma- the hard worker.
These moments help me right now as they are all I have left. With them I have her spirit and her strength with me. With her confidence I move forward because if she could speak to me know I am sure she would tell me to cheer up, big things are coming my way.
Love you grandma
September 7th 1928- June 23rd 2016.
May angels lead you in.
Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.
May angels lead you in.