This story has been told for many years amongst the family. But it is such a beautiful story, that it needs to be told again.
They were teenagers in high school, in Queens, New York. They didn’t know each other, didn’t know the other existed. But on that fateful day in December, many lives would be changed forever.
It started when he was chasing a friend and in his haste, he threw his ice cream cone at him. But as it happened, he missed his mark and instead, it hit her square on her skirt. She swore to him that he would pay dearly for that.
Four years later, on October 2, 1949, he was waiting at St Anthony of Padua for her to show up. He looked around, turning to his brother, wondering where she was. His brother shrugged. He started to panic.
Suddenly, he looked to the back of the church because he was blinded by the angel walking toward him with her father. You would think it was a Tony and Maria moment at the dance, where they only saw each other.
It is hard to imagine that these two twenty-year-olds would be able to overcome so many of the obstacles of the time, since he was Irish and she was Sicilian. But they were strong, they were fighters. He loved her more than life itself and she was a devoted wife, who was there for him in his darkest moments. She was his rock.
This was a seventy-one-year love story that most of us can only dream to have. It was like a story written by Charles Perrault or the Brothers Grimm, a real fairy tale. Their love for each other always transcended any negatives they faced. Through it all, it was their love for each other which made a difference.
Six children, fourteen grandchildren and a bevy of great-grandchildren later, this will be only the second time they have not been together on October 2. The last time was in 1951, when he was defending his country and freedom in Korea.
They would be married for 67 years but for the fact that he passed in March. She was strong throughout his illness, again like a rock.
Although he is no longer here, at least physically, he still lives in her heart, much like the one he gave to her many years ago. She grieves for him but she knows she has her children to help her through those trying moments. And in the end, this strong, little old Sicilian lady is able to hold her head high, knowing that she is still loved by him, that he is giving her the strength to continue.
Yes, Sunday will be difficult for her to get through, but like every other day, she will get through it with the grace and aplomb, to those who know her, which is her.
So, Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad, because even death cannot overcome the love you exemplified for all those years. You told him years ago that he would pay dearly. Well, he did with his love for you. And it will live forever, in your, and our hearts, because you both lived it every day and we bore witness.