All smiles, as always.. Nana with my family – Summer 2011
It was one of the greatest honors of my life, if not the greatest honor, to speak about my Nana, Louise Polidoro, at her memorial. Thank you to everyone who heard these words I wrote and expressed to me that I captured her spirit perfectly.. It meant so much more to me than I could ever say.
The world will never see a spirit like Louise Polidoro ever again – our forever beloved Mother, Nana, sister, aunt, love, and friend. She is one in a million – we were so completely blessed to know her, blessed to love and be loved by her.
How do you sum up a life like the one Nana lived? These words immediately come to mind – love, laughter, vitality. I cannot stand here in complete sadness because that is so the opposite of who Nana was and still is – a bright burst of energy, a woman who could find the humor in even the most dire of situations. She struggled through so much yet lived a life that even people in easier circumstances could envy – she never surrendered to the cards she was dealt. She always, always did things her way.
Nana always was the very essence of life – which is why I can’t imagine her any other way. In the last letter I wrote to her I told her that I could never, ever say goodbye to her. I still can’t, and won’t. Energy that strong, a spirit that exuberant – just doesn’t fade away or disappear. And as heartbroken as we all are, I want to stand here and CELEBRATE this incredible woman I am so proud to have known, a woman who was so much about joy, so much about fighting for your quality of life even when all the odds are stacked against you.
One of the things I loved most about Nana was how dynamic she was – she could light up a room, be the life of the party, and charm the pants off you – but she could also probably kick your “you know what.” She had a heart of gold – and a mouth like a sailor – and she never shied away from telling you exactly how she felt. Nana was both ends of the spectrum, everything at once – affectionate, fiery, spontaneous, sassy, headstrong, generous, warm, sensitive, and totally larger than life. She was a true firecracker of a woman who left an impression on everyone she met. And for all of us – how can we not live out the rest of our days with her voice in our heads, her smile in our hearts, her stories and wicked sense of humor bringing us laughter upon every recollection? She is still here with us – just in a different way.. And somehow closer to all of us than ever before.
Nana had one of the most difficult lives I have ever even heard of – but the fact that all of us have such funny, poignant, colorful, beautiful memories to look back on is such a testament to a life well-lived. The tremendous life force she had is now truly unstoppable – she is no longer bound by unfortunate circumstances or physical ailments… She is totally free, free as the spirit inside her that kept her fighting on and on – the spirit that kept her laughing, cooking, entertaining, joking, loving with all her heart as long as she possibly could.
She was always a fighter – and let me tell you, heaven has NO IDEA what its in for now that Louise Polidoro has arrived! Could anyone even imagine the Louise we know quietly resting in peace? Never. She is laughing, dancing, running, moving, cracking jokes that make the angels blush, and shining brighter and more brilliantly than ever before. She is whole now, she is healed now. And in this tremendous heartache – that gives me peace.
For the rest of my life not a day will go by that I don’t think of her. I will always do my best to shine like she did – to make the most out of my circumstance, to not be afraid to be a strong, loud, opinionated woman, to love wholeheartedly, and of course, to laugh all I can. My life will be a celebration of everything she was and still is.
Louise, Mommy, Nana – my beautiful, precious Nana – we miss you already, we cherish you always, and we love you up to the sky and all the stars. Love is stronger than anything that separates us, and we all love you so much more than words could ever express.
Show ‘em who’s boss up there, Nanny!
Here are the beautiful songs we played at the end of the memorial.
Years ago, Nana asked me to play “To Where You Are” for her when this day came.. I didn’t forget, and playing it for everyone at the memorial couldn’t have been any more perfect. It just sums it all up.
My mom and Aunt Deana both heard “Annie’s Song” inexplicably playing in their heads after my Nana passed, and when they both expressed that to each other they were amazed – there are no coincidences in this life.
WE LOVE YOU FOREVER NANNY!