This Is For Us

… so this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to…
~Charlotte Eriksson


As I write this post, I am absorbed in a whirlwind of emotion as my Aunt Mary has just passed away.  She was 95 years young, and more like a grandmother as she raised my mom from the time she was 13 and my mom was 3.  I have written about Aunt Mary before, and all the lessons she has taught me….but her life and now her passing continues to reach out and teach me so much more.

With great humility she would say she has done nothing extraordinary except live her life the best way she could….but those ‘nothing special’ things about her are what make our ordinary lives purposeful….they are the very essential elements of a happy life.  And simple though they are, they are not so simple for me to live each day.

When I knew she was slipping faster from this earthly realm, and it would be any day now that I would feel the void in my life that her passing would cause, I couldn’t stop thinking of Aunt Mary and all she has given me.  

And I knew her passing would bring great pain for all of us who knew her because we lost a great friend who gave of herself unconditionally.  And what she gave most was love.  Love in each special meal she made.  Oh the homemade meatballs, ravioli, and gravy and macaroni (her names for tomato sauce and pasta).  Of course her cakes, pies and cookies were legendary and coveted by anyone who had the great fortune to have tasted them….and there were hundreds, if not thousands, she shared her creations of love with.

I think I will miss her hugs most of all….yes, even those cheek pinches that hurt when I was a child will be missed because each of these precious things, these memories are her sharing of love….deep, deep love and caring.


Simple Gifts

So what more could Aunt Mary teach me?  Simply her great joy of living her life each day to the fullest.  When my uncle died some thirty years ago, she was not much older than I am now.  And I always marveled that while she mourned his passing every day, she still went about her day and never stopped living.  She joined senior groups, and traveled extensively with friends.  

She experienced more of the world around her because she simply loved getting out and seeing the world.  Me, well I tend to stay in my little world not venturing far these days.  But deep inside there is an adventurous soul in an introvert’s body wanting to get out more.  It will be a struggle, but it is a wonderful goal to work toward….one small step at a time with her loving hand in mine guiding me.

I think most of all her great legacy is that connecting to people is our life blood.  It is what sustains us… and these relationships are essential if we are to live in a kinder, more loving world.  She knew everyone, and I mean everyone on her block, in the stores, and later in each apartment or senior facility she lived in.  And I don’t mean she just knew their names…..she knew their lives and she talked with them about their everyday happenings.  She remembered intimate details that people entrusted to her, and she genuinely listened and cared about what they were sharing.

I hope to continue her wonderful legacy of connecting to our world.  With each smile, and good morning I impart to those I encounter on my morning walk, or throughout my day, I know I am keeping her memory and great gift alive.


Her Story

I wrote a special story about my Aunt Mary and her role in WWII as a ‘Rosie the Riveter’.  I hope you will read it….her generation of women is slowly slipping away from us, and with each one goes so much history.  I am glad I was able to capture her story.

The roses here in this post are for Mary Rose Parise Esposito….it is funny how they have been blooming so profusely this year.  Some roses that have never bloomed since I planted them are blooming now…..I think they are blooming for her.



All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2017.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

35 Replies to “This Is For Us”

  1. I’m deeply sorry for your loss…and I understand all you’ve written so wisely and with such beauty. You are loved…in the many ways you are in this world.
    smiles, Susie

    1. Oh Susie I have missed you and hope you are doing well. And I thank you for your always beautiful words that lift me up!

  2. How lucky you were to have such a wonderful, inspiring woman in your life, Donna. I’m sorry for your loss. Your aunt will live on through you and all those whom she influenced during a life clearly well lived.

  3. So sorry you have lost such a dear Auntie. Lovely words about her, Donna. She sounds like a wonderful person and will no doubt always be with you in your heart.

  4. I am so sorry. This is a lovely tribute. It sounds as if the world has been diminished by her passing, and made richer by her presences in it.

  5. I am sorry to hear about your loss xx

    But from your writings it seems she has left a wonderful legacy for those that follow in her footsteps.

  6. I have a theory the love you give in this world stays in this world after you’re gone. It sounds like you will have plenty of your Aunt’s love to support you as you emulate some of her wonderful characteristics. It is lovely to have you back.

  7. I’m sorry to read of your loss, Donna. Your Aunt Mary sounded like an incredible woman who helped lovingly shape the lives of those around her. May your fond memories sustain you during this time. <3

  8. Oh dear Donna: My condolences. Aunt Mary must have been very special, indeed. I’m sure she’s smiling and proud of you as you celebrate her amazing life, even amidst your grief. Hugs.

  9. Oh Donna, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost this wonderful and loving woman. May your many warm and wonderful memories of this amazing lady make you smile and go forward, living your own life to the fullest.

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss, Donna. She sounds like such a great woman who shared her life and love with all those around her.

  11. Oh Donna I am so sorry for your loss. You have been most fortunate to have such a special person in your life for so long and you must have many fond memories to comfort you. I wondered whether your aunt might have been of Italian descent when you described the meals she delighted in cooking. Then I read your article about her experiences in World War 11 which confirmed that was the case 🙂 Your mum certainly had a beautiful maid of honour. Take care.

  12. This is a beautiful memory of your Aunt Mary. I am reminded of a moment in a film I used to use in class. Called “Look for Me Here,” it chronicles the dying process of a woman with metastatic breast cancer. At one point, she tells the filmmakers that people sometimes ask her what she wants to be doing when she dies. Her answer: “Living.” An important lesson for us all.

    1. Thanks for this reminder Jean….it is a lesson I have been working on for a while now….it seems to be sinking in finally as to what really ‘Living’ is!

  13. Oh, Donna I am so sorry for your void but it seems you have many, many special “ordinary” memories to fill it with. I wish you peace and love and garden abundance. Perhaps your Aunt Mary will offer a special bloom.

  14. What a beautiful tribute, Donna. I’m so sorry for your loss. May your aunt’s memory be a blessing—as much as her life was.

  15. Sorry to hear this Donna, my heart goes out to you.
    It’s great that you had such a wonderful person so solidly in your life.

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