I hope those who read my blog for its birds and natural history notes will forgive me for a brief, non-nature, personal note. My mom, Virginia DiCostanzo, died this past Tuesday evening, November 4. She grew up in Brooklyn and raised six children there. I grew up in the house she grew up in and she lived there until a major stroke two weeks ago. We buried her in Green-Wood Cemetery yesterday, just a few blocks from where she lived. Monk Parakeets flew around calling from their nests in the cemetery entrance gate as we arrived for the funeral. In a way, I guess this is a sort of natural history note after all, since our lives and deaths are all part of the natural world. My brothers and sisters and I had discussed which of us would speak at the funeral. I deferred to my younger sister Toni, and I was very glad I had. Toni spoke for us all. She did not tell us before hand what she was going to say, but I could not have come close to matching her words:
Last year after spending five days with mom in the hospital, as she fought her way back to us, mom gave me another one of her many gifts. Mom put her hand on my cheek and said, “Thank you for everything.” “Thank you for everything.”
Four simple words that mean so very much. “Thank you for everything.”
So today mom, I give to you that simple gift from all of us.
From Al, Jim, Joe, Ann, Marie, Joe, Joey, Joanna, Pat, me and Dad too.
Thank you, for always making us believe that we had everything, because we did, we had you.
Thank you for the warm summer days playing at the beach, enjoying the pepper and egg sandwiches you had gotten up so very early to make for all of us.
Thank you for the little ice cream bars you lovingly brought out to us, as we sat on the stoop watching the kids on the block run after the ice cream truck.
Thank you for understanding that six noisy kids and then later, two beautiful grandchildren could turn the house upside down and that that was ok.
Thank you for every Christmas morning you turned into a magical celebration, filled with more gifts than we could have ever imagined.
Thank you for teaching us that it doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and that a smile, a kind word and an open heart will carry you through your most difficult day.
Mom, you filled our lives with love, comfort and laughter. And for that, today, WE give you these simple words that mean so very much.
“Thank you for everything.”
Mom, Go with God. Fly to daddy. Be at peace.
We will always love you. You are forever in our hearts.