Sunday, February 20, 2011


On February 4th, my grandmother (Mary Laurelli) ~ Mama~ died. Her health had not been good, although I can't believe it was 5 years ago when I wrote entries worried that we were losing Mama. Amazingly, she kept fighting...through open heart surgeries, diabetes, lung disease. She was so strong. The permanency of my loss saddens me. I know her being gone is better for her ~ she is in peace ~ but it hurts my heart that I will never again be able to see her, hold her, listen to her, be with her. I have always wanted to make her proud (and I know I did) and oddly, I still want that. She left an impression on me that will last for the rest of my life. That is one of the gifts she gave me: she taught me to be someone worthy of respect, who makes good choices, supports family and friends, and has good manners.

We had a beautiful farewell to Mama. I chose to view the funeral & lunch as a celebration of her life; and that it was. I did all I could to participate in the planning and help my mom: I wrote the obituary, called family & friends, helped pick the casket and flowers, chose the music for the mass, gathered pictures and filled collages, and shared a eulogy at the funeral. It meant so much to have such a big part in this day. As important as a wedding is to a bride, this funeral was for honor my grandmother in a proper way. To bid her farewell the way she lived her life: with grace.

Mama and I were so close. We had a mutual respect and love for one another that will never be replaced. So few people in one's life love...truly love you. She truly loved me. And I truly loved her.

My eulogy was from the heart. I traced the many paths her life took, and the strengths she showed through those experiences. I concluded with a poem I wrote for -and shared with- her about a year ago. You see, I always knew I'd share a eulogy. I knew she'd want me to ~ she loved my writing...and she loved me. I wanted to do it for her. The poem I wrote is below. She actually carried it in her bag (sharing it with friends and family) over the past year. She loved it! I'm so happy that she knew I how felt about her; and that my fear of her dying didn't inhibit me from loving with all my heart. In fact, I still love her with my whole heart.

Lessons Learned from Mama

She’s always been a role model to me

An educated woman and graduate of RISD

Hard working, motivated

Leaving others quite fascinated

Fashionable clothing and creative designs

An inner light that truly shines

A generous heart and selfless friend

A woman on whom I could always depend

I’ve always admired her strength and ambition

She truly helped to shape my vision

The lessons she taught me I hold close to my heart

And to my own children I will impart:

Work hard and you will achieve

Trust yourself and believe

Give back to the world; show appreciation

Look toward your family for inspiration

Be good to your friends; they enrich your life

Keep your promises; be a good wife

Open your home; bring people together

A good meal can be enjoyed in all kinds of weather

Work hard, laugh often; enjoy the luxuries you can afford

But never forget what matters most; it should not be ignored

Family comes first – and this I believe

Is the greatest lesson I will heed

Thank you, Mama, for these lessons I’ve learned

And all the love you shared

Thank you for believing in me

I’ve always know you cared

Know I will share these lessons – these gifts

With my children too

“Be strong, work hard

And whatever you dream of doing…DO!”


At 9:22 PM, Blogger Rob L. said...

So sorry for your loss, Kristen. What a beautiful tribute.


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