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Annette DiPietro, a loving Mom, grandmother, wife, sister and friend died in 2005 at the age of 63 after a 15 year battle with breast cancer. We miss her every day.
My mother always showed incredible courage and strength. Not just in her battle with cancer, but in all areas of her life. As the daughter of Betty and Benjamin, and sister to Rita and Sandy; she experienced incredible loss in her own life. And grew stronger for it.
The youngest of three girls, she left three girls – stronger for having had her as their mother. She made sure we KNEW with 100% certainty that there was nothing we couldn’t do and nothing we could not become.
Poets and writers have tried through the years but nobody has ever really captured the essence of motherhood. How could they, because a mother is not only a person, a mother is an ideal. A mother is unselfishness, love and understanding. My mother was the true embodiment of this.
In fact, being a mother was so much a part of her life that she had a tendency to adopt new people into her extended family. Sometimes they were relatives, sometimes friends. If you heard her talk about these people and didn’t know better – you’d think they were all her children.
My Mom loved animals – even make believe yellow ones. She’d shake her head and laugh at me when I asked for Play-Doh and Colorforms for Christmas, but then fill her bookshelves with Tweety Birds. And I may have a room full of toys – but she had an entire floor filled with American Dolls, jigsaw puzzles and of course more Tweety’s.
Born Jewish, she embraced the joy and happiness of Christmas more than anyone else I know. In fact, all our holidays were planned so many months in advance that I sometimes got confused about what season we were in.
My Mom also had a tendency to obsess over any new thing she discovered. She insisted she would never use a computer – didn’t need one. But when she got one, got online and discovered Pogo – that was it. Suddenly her days were filled with stories about Word Whomp. And even better – she discovered a whole new set of on-line chat room friends to adopt. Six months later we were putting in Roadrunner service so she could stay on line all day.
When I took up scrap booking – so did she – buying a years worth of supplies in one trip to the store. Looking back, I realize that it wasn’t so much obsession that drove my Mom, but a passion for anything new and everything fun. Although limited for so many years by how much she could do – she still embraced everything she was able to do with that passion.
Although we had many painful moments in the last years of her life, we were also given a tremendous gift. Our family was given the gift of time and the gift to recognize how important each moment was – in that moment.
We had our chance to see Santa and the Rockettes together, and swim with the dolphins, to celebrate one more birthday, one more Thanksgiving and one more Christmas.
When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure. All of our memories are now our treasures and in this way at least, we are rich beyond imagination.
We miss you Mom but we promise - we'll be okay and we'll do it together.
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