It has been a little over six months since you've taken your last difficult breath. I don't think mama, your sons or me really think you're gone. Rather, I think you're at the grocery store arguing that the rotisserie chicken had no flavor, or at the liquor store purchasing your favorite chianti. But then there are days that I'm driving home, and I get a flashback of your funeral and start to cry. Sometimes I wonder if you're sitting next to me as I feel the hot tears fall, placing your rough hands on top of mine as I drive.
Tomorrow is my 29th birthday. The last few years you used to make me my favorite gnocchi on my birthday because it was my favorite thing you'd make. I remember you boiling the potatoes to mash into the fresh dough that you'd also hand make. There would be flour all over our beautiful wooden tables, and you'd roll out the dough mashed with potatoes and then cut them up into beautiful gold nuggets. Those gold nuggets made my birthday so special. I miss you more, though.
Now the house is different. No longer do I hear wrestling on Thursday nights or soccer on tv Saturday morning. I am desperate for your presence so I begin to drink Lavazza so the espresso will once again fill the house. As I smell it, I say a small prayer that you're enjoying the smell too, with me.
Not only is the house different, but your family is different. Mama has to be ten times stronger without you. A strong woman she always was, and most likely will be, a part of her heart has left for God. Your sons now face the reality that their male leader, their bloodline to the last name, has left them the title alone. And me, your youngest daughter, misses the man who shares the same eyes as her - dark brown, long eyelashes, and plenty of sparkle.
I know you live within us all. And although we may not know it, you're with us. You sit at the table, watching the same shows, laughing with us, crying with us, smiling as we spend time together. I know you hear us asking your grandchildren, "Do you remember Nonno" because we refuse to let them forget you. After all, your wife and children, have not.
Thank you for giving me the strength to face death. I no longer see it as a mystery but more of a new chapter. I know that when God calls me, he will bring you to me and once again, our family will be whole. I know you're somewhere incredible, full of colors we've never seen, music we've never heard, and love we've never experienced. You are in a vacation paradise! As a human, and as your daughter, I am selfish and want you back. But I know this is how it has to be.
I love you Papa'. For my birthday, please spend time with me the most that you can, because all day, you will be in my mind and heart.
I love you,
Your little girl