Saturday, June 23, 2012

Family Matters

I decided that when I resumed this blog I would make it much more personal—fewer complaints about the grocery store, the absurdities of life and the trivial, and more about what has been happening to us and our immediate world. Not because I see an exaggerated worth in this but because I need a better way of keeping track. That's the "chronicling friends and family" bit in my sub-title. Perhaps some of these entries will have meaning for my children and grandchildren in years to come. I have not had the hubris to commit any of this to paper yet, but I did create a hard-covered book for my daughter-in-law's birthday. Using the Blog2Print service, I was able to preserve the first eight months of the life of her micro-preemie daughter and our granddaughter that she so beautifully depicted in her blog Veronica's Journey. I was pleased with the result and I think Marcie was too.

The most earth-shattering event in the past few months has been the illness and eventual death of Ernie's sister, Flo. She died on June 9th at the age of 86. She had been ill for a while, but she never lost the joie de vivre that characterized her whole life. At her wake my niece Megan brought smiles to our faces recounting how Flo had commented "I have no sympathy with people who don't celebrate Mardi Gras." It was a feast day she loved, and though she was scrupulous in her Lenten observance, she always took the day off to celebrate St. Patrick.

The girl on the left was courted by many a beau. The woman on the right was accomplished, a traveler, a pianist, a fabulous knitter, a homemaker with the welcome mat always out, a teacher and the mother of ten. As I look at this photo I remember her saying every time we went out, "I've just got to put my face on."
But I think this photo, taken shortly before her death, without any artifice but with her trademark smile (and the ring to match the squash blossom necklace she treasured) is my favorite. She achieved many of her wishes, including going to the Kentucky Derby last year, but there was one wish she was unable to satisfy.

Just two days after her death, her twenty-sixth grandchild was born and Becky and John named him Matthew Fiorenzo in honor of Flo, whose given name was Mary Florence. How she would have loved to hold him. She also left behind three great grandchildren who will not have sweaters from her to wear this winter.
Two of our grandsons graduated from 8th grade this summer and will start their high school careers in Fall. Here is Patrick with his parents, our daughter Kate and her husband Ron, shortly after Graduation ceremonies. In Virginia, Emmanuel will also start a new phase in his education.

That leaves three birthdays and a wedding anniversary. Sebastian Robert, our grandson, AKA Yoda, celebrated his fifth birthday on June 13th. I wish I had a more up-to-date photo, but when I was with him in Maryland a month or so ago, he and his cousin Nathaniel seemed to be missing most of the time. What did you guys get up to?

Today is my sister-in-law Mary Ann's birthday. Don't worry, Mary Ann, I won't bother with ages. I had met Mary Ann and her then fiancé John (below) in Los Angeles a couple of times, but my first introduction to the family en masse was when I made the immense train trip to Iowa for their wedding. 
Their forty seventh wedding anniversary was a few days ago, just as we returned from Flo's funeral in the same church where Mary Ann—and I and Flo and generations of Aments were married.
 They can double up on their parties, because John will be celebrating his birthday in a few days too.
Fortunately there are no more birthdays in the final weeks of June: my photos are jumping all over the place. I have no more control over them than I had over the events of the last couple of weeks. Births and deaths are like that.

1 comment:

Z said...

Lovely photos of Flo and she sounds a wonderful person who will be greatly missed but remembered with love and laughter.

Happy birthdays!