Monday, September 19, 2005

il mio grandma bello

My beloved gramma Johanna,Jennie,Joan Farina/LeSage passed away September 11, 2005. She was 83 years old and had suffered for over 10years with alzhemiers. She closed her eyes to sleep on this earth and opened them in heaven. She has now been given a new name and is in her true eternal home.
She was the most Christ-like person I have ever known and her beauty because of this was beyond compare. She was born in South Braintree Massachusetts. The family that she came from was the Farina's . Her mother and father both came to the states from Italy when they were only children and thier marriage was an arranged marriage that brought forth 6 wonderful, amazing people 5 girls and only 1 boy. Because she was the first to get married,have children, and move out west she was the pioneer of her family. In her life she was married 49years before my grandpa died, they had 5 children,16 grandchildren, and 29 great grandchildren. They raised a family of faith, with each person as unique and talented, kind and loving , funny and incredibly charasmatic as the next.
When my mom was growing up she said that gramma used to set an extra place at the dinner table every night just in case someone who needed the meal might not feel welcome enough to stay otherwise. She said usually they would have a few new faces around the dinner table most nights, and I know this is where my mothers heart of mercy and love for her neighbors comes from.
My gramma had all 5 of her children before the age of 25. She never learned how to drive a car but she had more than enough adventures and great stories to tell . Once shortly after having my first child I asked her "Gramma how did you do it? Raising 5 kids all so close in age with not much help from Granpa, and no way to get out and about?" She said as clear as day(even with some alzhemiers kickin in), "I just did it, I didn't think about it" Her family was her life. Her husband, who she lovingly referred to her as "Her pal" and her children were the jewels, the treasures she took so much joy in.
Her father, a beautiful man who loved Jesus but never went to church. The reason, because the catholic church started charging families to buy the pews they would sit in every Sunday and he refused. He said he and his family would have church at home and they did . Every Sunday they would read the bible in thier living room on 39 Fountain Street.He used to drive an oil truck in the time of the depression, and any extra oil that would drip out of the truck he would save in a can to be delivered to families in great need. He was a "Robin Hood" of sorts.That was one of his many ministries. My gramma was born in 1922 and shortly after she was born , countless diseases that took many other lives was stopped in time for her with the very first administrations of immunizations.She was a miracle. Her sister Elizabeth, was not as fortunate. She had 5 sisters and only one brother Louie who also passed away in January of this year. Louie Farina, adored his Jennie and so it is only appropriate that they left in the same year. My gramma was only 5 feet tall. She fell in love and was married at the young age of 19 to my Granpa a half Irish half French man who wasn't even supposed to talk to the italian women back in that day. He asked if he could carry her books from school home for her. At first she said no, but then every day he didn't stop asking, and finally she said yes, and the rest is part of my history now.
Three sons and two daughters,my mother Ellen was her fourth child. All her children were born in South Braintree Massachusetts and moved out west when they were in thier teens and pre-teens.
Some of the sayings and things that I will remember the most about my beautiful gramma; "When you think a fella is really interested in you and you like him too, the first question you be sure to ask him is, How much did you say your name was worth?" "The smart one shuts up" "God love ya" "Can I get you anything" Her theme song that she would sing alot, so simple and yet so true "Row,row,row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream"
Her homemade meatballs or italian cookies( covetchonis). Her love for children and her protection of them. Her love for music. There was always music in her life. My Grampa would play the organ or the accordion or her children the guitar. Always had a song in heart and a smile on her face. "Peace be with you". "I pray everyday for all my friends and benefactors, my family, and the most forgotten soul, I think that pretty much covers everyone""If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all"
To everyone she met she would say goodbye by saying " God Bless ya" . Her life was a blessing to all who were blessed enough to know her . These are only a very few of my beloved memories. Her life was so rich, so full that it would take me alot longer to write them all. So much of who I am is because of her. I have been truly so blessed, so fortunate to have had her for my grandmother. I am truly thankful to God for all the wonderful things that she taught me. I know that she is finally home, restored to perfect health and with her Savior now and that brings me great comfort, but I still miss her already.
On this day I will try to keep her memory close to my heart by being gentle and merry, being kind to children, singing songs of joy,winking as a sign of approval and acceptance , raising one eyebrow to the things in this world that make me wonder. In tribute to her I will try to teach my children all the things that she taught me, and instill a strong sense of faith, love for others and a strong sense of identity. Her heritage was one of love,faith, service,and perserverance. Her legacy was not riches, possesions, or property but rather lots and lots of spoken blessings and love. She truly loved everyone.

I pray that I will honor her by living a life much like her own with as much faith, grace, love, humility, peace, and kindness as she lived hers with. Ti amo Gramma, I will miss you until we meet again.

5 comments:

Jeni said...

Noel, it is awesome that you wanted to share with us what your grandmother was like. Thanks!

TPluckyT said...

Beautiful eulogy, Noel. Thank you for sharing.

scoey-d said...

I loved the child-like approach to Christ that she showed, even at the end of the Alzheimers; every time an opportunity was given to receive Christ, she quickly responded. She wanted Jesus in her life.

Strekalopalis said...

Noel, your entire blog is truely inspiring. I think you are going a great job.

Devostevo said...

Noel, this eulogy of your gramma was really moving. It is awesome that your gramma loved Jesus so much and taught that to you. I am sure that her legacy will live on through you.

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