This blog post is dedicated to the most inspirational person I have ever had the privilege of meeting and loving, my Nonna. (Nonna means grandmother in Italian, for those of you who are wondering.)
My Nonna, Patricia Alice Greenfield Costella, was born on the 15th of December in 1933, in Britain. She died on the 3rd of June 2011, unexpectedly.
While her sudden death was a shock for my family, and one of the hardest things we have ever had to endure, I will eternally be grateful that she didn’t suffer before her death.
The reason I say that my Nonna is the most inspirational person I have ever known, is because she is the essence of all that is good and beautiful in this world.
In the 21 years and 3 months that I knew her, I never once heard my Nonna say a bad word about anyone (really). She never judged a single soul. She was always, always happy and smiling, and when she laughed she did so with her whole being, slapping her knees as she did.
She endured many hardships in her time, but never let the bitterness of the world make her hard. One such hardship being that my Nonno, the love of her life, left her for another woman. My Nonna wore her wedding ring until the day she died, and when said woman was in hospital, my Nonna was visiting her and calling her every day to find out how she was doing.
It was impossible for someone to meet her and not instantly fall in love with her. Her aura was just so beautiful, one of peace, love, goodness and happiness. She was, and still is, my reminder that good still exists in the world.
My Nonna loved tea (a cup of splosh as she would call it), and would never miss her “programs”, Days of our Lives and The Bold and The Beautiful. She didn’t like Sci-Fi movies or Jim Carey.
More than anything, my Nonna loved her family, and her and I shared a bond that can never be broken. Lamb chop is what she called me, and I spent many afternoons playing cards with her and reading to her from her favourite books (most times she would fall asleep, but insisted she was just ‘closing her eyes’).
From when I was old enough to understand what death was, I knew the day my Nonna died would be the worst day of my life, and it was.
Luckily I have an amazing and close family, and we could lean on one another for support. When my cousin and I had to speak at her funeral, it was equally hard. The coffin made it so final that she wasn’t coming back, and all the sad faces looking back at me while I spoke cemented it even further.
The church was full, so full that people had to stand at the back. My family (which is huge), but also my friends, and my cousins (who are basically my older brothers) friends were there. Not only to support us, but because, just like everyone who knew her, they love her.
My Nonna may be gone physically, but her spirit, her love and the lessons she taught us will live on in our hearts forever. I read a quote that touched me, which said “To live on in the hearts of those we love is not to die”, and if that is the case, she will never, ever truly be gone.
She was the rock and the essence of our family, and though we miss her every day, none of us doubt that she is now one of God’s most beautiful angels, looking down on us in all we do.
Sometimes when I feel exceptionally sad, on days like her birthday or mother’s day, my Nonna sends me little signs. Most often, Angels by Robbie Williams will play on the radio, which is my song for her, and I know that wherever she is, she misses me too.
“I sit and wait, does an angel contemplate my fate. And do they know, the places that we go, when we’re grey and old. Cause I’ve been told, that salvation, lets their wings unfold…. So when I’m lying in bed, thoughts running through my head, and I feel that love is dead…. I’m loving Angels instead.
“And through it all, she offers me protection, a lot of love and affection, whether I’m right or wrong. And down the waterfall, wherever it may take me, I know that life won’t break me. When I come to call, she won’t forsake me….I’m loving Angels instead…”
In the September after her death, I got my first tattoo, dedicated to her memory and the fact that she is now my angel. We are together, in body and spirit, forever and ever.
Today is one of those days that I miss her so much, and I just wanted to share with anyone who reads this blog what an amazing and inspiring woman she is.
I love you Nonna, my guardian angel,