My Nonna Giuseppina lived a long and happy life.
The long part is undeniable: she was 87 years old when she died earlier this week.
But in those 87 years, she spent over six decades building a home with a man she loved very much. Together, they raised five children, and those five children went on to give the happy couple 16 grandchildren. For a family-oriented person, that alone would have been joyful.
But it didn't stop there; eventually, four of those grandchildren got married and added 10 great-grandchildren to the family.*
Now I ask you: in this day and age, how many of us will live long enough and be lucky enough to meet just one great-grandchild, let alone ten? Pure joy, I tell you.
Of course, as a result of all that joy, holiday family gatherings were absolutely enormous. So large, in fact, that a few years ago we had to stop getting together for the holidays because doing so literally required my grandparents to rent a space large enough to hold us all.
But whenever we were together, there was always laughter.
And food, obviously; it's the Italian way, and my Nonna was happy to keep up traditions.
My grandmother was happy right up until last summer when my grandfather died.
Her entire life, my Nonna Giuseppina was all about family.
And when my Nonno Tony died, hers was fractured.
It's never easy when a loved one dies.
But life is not a game that any of us will win in the end.
My Nonna neither left us suddenly in a tragic accident nor deteriorated slowly over time.
She didn't suffer in her final days and so she didn't force us to watch her suffer.
And she was a religious woman who believed she would be with her husband again one day. She was eager, in fact, to be reunited with the one she loved most, and I'd like to think the idea this would happen soon brought her a great deal of comfort in her final days.
My family already misses my Nonna Giuseppina tremendously.
But as departures go, she made it as easy on us as she possibly could.
Which is to say, she was taking care of her family until the very end.
Ciao, Nonna. ❤️
* For the record, my wife and I are responsible for a full 40% of that great-grandchildren total, so I'm pretty sure that made us her favourites. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.