Today my family and I are together, celebrating the life and mourning the loss of my beloved grandmother. Elenora Argenti was an incredible woman for so many reasons but I’ll share three of them with you today and hope that they inspire all of us to be more like her.
1. She was the most caring and thoughtful person that I’ve ever met, truly embodying the definition of a caretaker. We used to visit my grandparents in Rhode Island at least once a month, and every single time we walked into their house, she would have an Italian feast prepared for us. We couldn’t just have her famous spaghetti and meatballs, that was simply the first course. She would make each of our favorite dishes so that everyone was happy. Chicken cutlets for me, broccoli rabe for my dad, mashed potatoes for my sister, and fudge brownies for my mom. No matter what time of day or night we arrived, that meal (plus way more) was waiting for us. She went above and beyond like this in every aspect of taking care of her family.
2. She was a fighter. At age 12, her mother died of cancer. She and her seven brothers and sisters mourned her mother in the traditional Italian way of keeping her body in their living room for a week. Although she never really got over it, she managed to grow up as one of the most incredibly strong women I’ve ever met even without a living mother. For most of her adult life she had to fight through illnesses but like diabetes, multiple back surgeries, emphysema, and pretty much every other sickness under the sun. She was about to turn 88 when she passed away, but considering all of the ailments she had, most people would never have survived so long. No matter what cards she was dealt, she came out stronger in the end.
3. She had the most romantic and loving relationship with my grandfather. They got married when she was only 17. When he passed away 10 years ago, they had been married for over 60 years. The love between them was so deep that it was palpable whenever they were together. They always put each other first, taking care of one another in sickness and in health, through good times and bad. In the blizzard of 1978, my grandfather walked 15 miles home from work through the snow because he couldn’t stand the thought of being away from her for a week while they paved the roads. Up until the day he died, he told her that she was beautiful every single day.
Nana, I’ll miss you so much, and I hope you know how much you have taught me over the last 27 years. And I promise never to go brunette again. You were right. It really did look terrible on me!