Those quiet times I spent with my son and dad on a Sunday afternoon is really what I will treasure. The trips I made with my wife, son and mother-in-law on a holiday where we were all together as a family is what really makes me smile and feel happy.
I am learning that as I get older I have become a lot more introspective and I have learned through life’s ups and downs that we are here for only a short while and though at times it may seem like an eternity it goes by so fast. I see it with my son. I remember when I was a young father holding my infant son as he was so tiny and so delicate and I had such feelings of pride, joy, anticipation, hope and of course realized I had a tremendous responsibility ahead of me. Knowing this I would always think back to the days when I was a young boy and how I looked up to my parents and respected and loved them for all they had done for my sisters and I and all they had meant to me. They were remarkable parents and so attentive to us. I learned to be a better and a very patient father because I learned from my parents. I will always have that image of my mom and dad when they were young and always being there for us. I miss those days of being a kid and having my mom read a bedtime story to me or my dad taking the whole family to see a movie. I will remember walking with my mom and sister to the local pizza place on Friday afternoons after school to have a slice. It’s the simple things that is what makes life so grand.
I will always have that image of my wife cradling our newborn son in the hospital room with his little cap on as I felt so much joy. There is no feeling that can match that. That is the most happiest time in my life and will always be one of the most happiest times for me. As Matthew grows my joy and happiness grows and I feel very lucky and privileged.
The most painful things we learn as we grow is losing a loved one. It seems we are almost living in denial about this. I know I was not prepared emotionally when I lost my mom as it was a shock and it took a long time to come to terms with it. I am still sad when I think about the pain she suffered and how she battled so. She was such a beautiful woman and she was such a loving wife and mother. I like to remember her when she was young, beautiful and there when I needed a hug. She always gave me such wonderful hugs. I remember when I was visiting her in the hospital knowing she was very sick and was giving up her fight I would hold her hand and I would try to comfort her and tell her how much I love her and how I would be back to see her. It really hurt but I had to be strong and hold back my tears. I would learn that through tragedy I would try to ease the pain by holding on to the pleasant memories I had of our family growing up in the 1960s and think back to when I was a kid and my parents were young again and so full of life.
With loss comes sorrow and for me I try to reflect and think back and just appreciate all the wonderful things I experienced and that helps. When we lost dad it was totally unexpected and although we knew he was aging and not in the best of health we always felt he would always be there as we depended on him so much and he was always there for us and our children. He was wonderful and special. Losing him was very difficult and I am learning that you truly don’t appreciate what you have until you lose it. It’s not intentional but it seems we are preoccupied in our lives that we fail to realize all that he was to us. Dad was such a great man and he was very supportive and I know he would never want us to feel sad. He was going through some rough times as he was getting older and his body was starting to feel the effects of aging. He was very strong and courageous but he was lonely and although he had the love and support of his family he was losing his fight through his depression and loneliness. He was great with all of us and he loved to be surrounded by his grand children and would do anything for them but he was tired. No one can understand what goes through someones mind at such a point of desperation where they feel no other alternative. It is hard grappling with this but in respect of my dad I will quietly accept his decision and do realize the pain and loneliness he felt. He was very strong and courageous throughout his life but he lost his battle with depression and I am very sad but I hold on to all the great memories I have of my dad. He never asked for much but he would give everything he had to help someone.
As I grow older I also realize it is important to give back as there is so many in need. It is a simple act of kindness that makes life more meaningful. I feel that if everyone who was able to gave back in a positive way to help those in need it would create such a ripple effect that would truly make a difference and make an impact in a good way.
So as my son grows and learns I will instill in him with Maria that it is the little things we should cherish as they are what make us human and teach us what life is really all about.
Dedicated to my mom and dad and my family.
Edward D. Iannielli III