Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gentle woman, quiet light

Forty years ago today, February 27, my parents were married at St. Mary's church in Hudson Falls. It apparently snowed heavily that day, just like today, and there is a story about my father's mother, my Grandma Center slipping and falling under the car as she went to get in. The talk of their wedding day was always met with laughter and looking at the pictures it seemed to be a roaring good time had by everyone.

This morning at 5:10am my other grandmother, my Grandma LaSarso passed away. She was 90 years old and fittingly enough was carried out of her house in the early dawn of a raging blizzard. My brother and I went to see her last night, we kissed her forehead and held her swollen hand. I said a Hail Mary silently to myself as I noticed the rosary in her other hand. She breathed so hard, she never woke up, but I think she knew we were standing by. I am so relieved to know that she has been released from the grip of illness and old age that has had hold of her for more than a year. What brought me to tears though, is the unconditional love and loyalty that my mother and uncle showed to her all along. She had wishes and demands and they made sure to keep them, to do so as best they could so that she could live out her remaining time as she hoped to. They have worked themselves into the ground to do what they knew to be the right thing. The character that they have shown is something that I can only hope to carry with me. I grew up with the sentiment that you always do the right thing even if it means taking the more difficult path. I am so proud of my family for the effort they extend and the faith they hold onto.

My grandmother was a German immigrant. She came here on a boat when she was 9 years old, landing in Albany before moving up to Hudson Falls. As a little girl I was fascinated by the stories she told of arriving in New York City and how when her mother saw the tenements of Albany she said: "Das is America?" Her father was an engineer and tried to patent the iron and coffee maker, but unfortunately they already had been done. She married my grandfather, Veto LaSarso, an Italian from Fort Edward. She raised her brother's son along with her own two children and became the consummate homemaker until later in life when she drove a bus for handicapped children. I spent a lot of time with her growing up, taking walks and making clothes for my dolls. I danced with her at my wedding in place of my father and I am grateful that she was here to hold my babies. As we celebrate her ninety years of life I will take with me the history that she brought to our family, the faith that she held so dear and the strength of a tough German woman who wouldn't let anything stop her strong willed spirit.

This weekend however, is not just my parent's anniversary, but tomorrow is my uncle's birthday as well as my grandfather's. And then Tuesday, March 2 marks seven years since the sudden death of my father. I can only imagine the reunion that is happening right now.

Gentle woman, quiet light, morning star
so strong and bright,
gentle mother peaceful dove
teach us wisdom; teach us love