My stories, first in a new series

I’ve been thinking lately (I know, I shouldn’t do that) and I’ve decided there’s some good stories of my family and me that I should relate. Some may be funny, some not, but I’m going to take some time to put them out there.

The first is about my cousin Lina. She’s the one that died over the weekend. Technically she’s my cousin’s wife, but in Italian families you don’t make that distinction. Lina was my cousin’s second wife. The first marriage broke up after he found his wife (my other first cousin, and yes, it’s what you think if you work it out carefully) was cheating on him. Once the divorce was final, he went back to Italy for a while, met Lina, and within a year they were married.

When Lina first came to the US, she didn’t really make a good impression. She was brash, opinionated, wore too much lipstick (always left some on your cheek when you kissed her), and seemed to be jealous of everyone else’s success. My family stopped talking to her for a few years because of it. However, her husband opened a very successful restaurant and all that stuff was forgotten. Eventually, we acted like a normal family.

My brother was close with Lina and her husband, since he ate at their restaurant at least once per week. Once she was diagnosed with cancer about 7 years ago, my dad would drive her to her doctor’s appointments while her husband tended the restaurant. We began getting together for family occasions. She was quite sociable and very funny and witty. She still had strong opinions, but was willing to see your side of an argument and agree to disagree. Mostly, she was just plain funny when she told a story.

She and her husband had 2 children, a daughter then a son. I always kind of considered them spoiled brats. They always had good clothes, drove nice cars, and basically got whatever they wanted. My opinion changed yesterday when her daughter got up to give the eulogy. To begin with, I don’t know if I could have done it at all if it was my mother. She gave a wonderful eulogy, told great stories of her mother, and said she wants to be just like her. She had so much poise, I was impressed. My first thought was that I hope my boys grow up to be such good adults. Even though Lina gave her kids all the material things they could desire, she still gave them the proper values.

Though I didn’t see her often, I’m going to miss her. She joins many of my other relatives and friends that were gone too soon. I may relate those stories as well in the coming posts, but I don’t want to focus on them. For Lina, I think her daughter said it best. She said she was at peace because her mother was no longer in pain. I, too, am glad she’s no longer in pain. Her daughter asked that everyone have a glass of wine in honor of her mother and to make a toast to her. Lina would have wanted us to do that instead of mourn for her. Last night my wife and I did just that. The next time any of you have a glass of wine, raise it for Lina and all those that we have lost and are now in peace, and remember the good times you had.


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