Monday, November 7, 2011

A Piece of My Heart

On Friday, October 21st, my favorite, and only, grandmother died - my Nani.  

I am sorry I haven't written until now, usually I try to post once a week and feel bad that I haven't posted in a bit.  This post was just a tough one to write, and I sat down to write it many times but couldn't find the words.  I still have a hard time with what I want to say, I type and then I delete and then I type again and then delete.  I think I will just post what I spoke at her funeral so that you know what she meant to me, to all of us, and a bit about her life.

This will have to do because again, I have no words.  But, I do have some pictures (eulogy to follow):

(This is my favorite picture I've seen of us.  I am sure there are more but I've got to go through my mom's old picture albums to find them.)

(At my bridal shower in March 2009.  Nani and her two older sisters, Annette and Virginia.)

(My mom, Nani and me.) 

(Odds are that if you were laughing in pictures with Nani it's because she said something dirty right before the picture was taken.  This was on Mother's Day in 2010 and she made some comment about grabbing Ian on the inside of his leg.  She was always cracking us up, always making jokes and usually they were filthy ones!)

(The night, last year in December, that I told Nani I was pregnant with the blueberry.  This is the reason I am so angry now, that I lost blueberry, because my Nani could have had two months with her before she died.  Why do things like this happen?  It just doesn't make any sense.)

(Taken in September of a sign I made Nani for outside of her room at the home she was in.)

(The last picture I took with her, in September, playing bingo.)

(My step-brothers, Kevin and Joe and one of my nieces, Amanda, came into town for the funeral.  It was the first time all of us had been together in years.  It was so nice that they came.)

(Nani had all of these carts at her home and at my Uncle John's.  So, we decided to have some races in her honor!)

Angeline Spini’s Eulogy 
Funeral:  October 25th, 2011 

Hello, I am Angeline’s granddaughter, Allison.  4 years ago my Nani, grandma in Italian, entrusted me with writing my grandfather’s life story, and today I am proud to share hers, because I know she would have wanted me to.  To my Nani, everyone was family. Some of the people in this room are my Nani’s actual family, but I know that everyone in this room were made to feel like family by my Nani.  That’s just how our family is, and how we’ve always been since I can remember.  I am sure she is so thrilled to have all of you here today, celebrating her life together.   

My Nani, and I were one in the same, two peas in a pod, and her heart was my heart.  She was my most favorite person and taught me everything I know today.  She taught me always to have a secret stash of money hidden, just in case, that my husband doesn’t know about.  She taught me that the makings of macaroni and cheese should always be at your disposal and that everything tastes better with lots of butter in it.  She taught me that a deck of cards could bring everyone together, and that it was ok to help your granddaughter win when no one was looking.  I learned, when I was little, that money and gum sometimes grew on trees, that movie titles were always interchangeable (Love on the Rocks instead of Romancing the Stone) and that naps were a required part of your day.  I also learned that family was most important and that love lasted forever.  The bond between a mother and daughter was taught to me by example – through my mom and Nani.  I am thankful to share that same connection with my own mother today, she is my best friend, just like her mom was hers.  

Nani was so much fun.  My favorite moments with my family were when we were all together at my Nani’s house – playing cards, cooking and watching movies.  We would gather around the kitchen table and she would tell us stories, stories of her and grandpa, stories of her childhood, stories of when I was little, or stories of my aunts and uncle growing up.  Sometimes her stories were true and sometimes they were a bigger version of the truth, but that’s what made my Nani so special.  You never knew what you were going to get. Recently, we found one of my Nani’s own journals and so some of this story comes right from her. 

I remember when my Nani used to visit us in Oregon when I was little.  One day she forgot to pick me up from school so someone had to bring me home.  When I got there, the house was locked and I didn’t have a key.  I saw her, on the couch taking a nap, and so I knocked and knocked on those glass doors so she would wake up and let me in.  She finally did and we laughed about it, she sure did love to take naps. 

She tells a story in her journal about when she was little and would go to her Aunt Katie’s house with her sisters - Virginia and Annette.  Her Aunt knew they were coming and would always leave dishes in the sink because she knew their mom would volunteer them for the job.  Uncle Dominick, Aunt Katie’s husband, loved his walnuts and to get back at their Aunt and Uncle the girls ate all of them and just put the shells back in the bag.  Nani was always quick on her feet and knew just how to get you when you least expected it. 

Another story she told in her journal was when her sister Virginia tied her to a chair so she could wash and set her hair when she was 10 years old.  She still remembers the red and white dress she wore that day.  They were going to take pictures and her mom wanted to make sure she looked good.  But Nani wrote down, “I already did,” and even underlined it.  She tells us that she was always the one who just put on a hat or a scarf and went, she never really fussed with herself much.  That’s just how she was, naturally beautiful. 

Nani loved her family so much.  She would always hold my hand and tell me how lucky she was to have all of us.  In her words, “Karen, John, Donna, Virginia and Kathy are my life lines.  What a family I have, I have the most wonderful children on the planet.  They love each other so much, nothing stands in their way when it comes to each other.  I don’t think there is another family with so much heart and love as mine.  To them, their mother and dad are the world and they too love so deeply.”  She spoke of this deep love when talking about who her kids chose to spend their life with:  “Not only do I have five children, I have love and respect from their loved ones.  Joe has been here every day taking care of us.  Lisa has been wonderful, she makes sure we don’t need or want for anything.  And, Sonja has been with us every day cooking, cleaning and shopping.  Boy I’m the luckiest woman in the world.  I’m so rich with my family.” 

Nani definitely proved that love is stronger than death, my Nani loved her husband more than anything else.  She writes, “It’s 4am in the morning, I can’t wait to start the day with them all.  I sit at the table and turn on the TV, a little later in walks the one who means the most to me.  His hair is gray and stands up a bit.  He is a little shaggy and walks slowly towards me to sit.  Without his love and my love for him, I’d have no reason to glow.  The years together just passed so fast, but our love that has held together was made in Heaven to last.  So, earthly and heavenly we will be together, young and old.”  We are happy she is with grandpa now, watching over all of us with the one she loves. 

Finally, in her own words, Nani tells us about death.  She says, “This is a phase of life everyone never wants to happen to their loved ones, but somehow God gives us the strength to survive and go on with our lives.  They say God is a fearing God, so maybe when someone passes, God just wants a little of our family’s love and he is telling us to share.”  We could all take this advice from her today.  She wouldn’t want us to be sad; she would, instead, want us to open a deck of cards and just deal her in.            


  1. beautiful post, Allison. Your grandma seems like she was full of life and spunk and quite the woman. I'm sorry for your loss. Big hugs!

  2. Thank you, baby! I miss her most when I am holding that little Lemon Angeline! I know she is with us! But I still pick up the phone to call her every day! I'll love you forever, mom!