When we are kids we learn a lot from our family and especially from our parents. Our teachers play a major role in teaching us our ABCs, mathematics, geography, english, history, science, art, music, foreign languages, physical fitness and religion through our formative schooling years and our parents play a major role in teaching us about life. It is our parents that help shape us and give us the support and encouragement to take on the many challenges of life. As a young boy growing up I saw something very special in how my parents raised my sisters and I and I saw that they had a strong bond together. My dad was a very hardworking ironworker and he gave all of his physical strength and talents to his job and would always be reliable and responsible and always put forth his best effort. He had a superior work ethic and was very dedicated to his work and very proud of what he did. He taught me how important it is to do your best and to take responsibility and to try your best to get along with everyone.
My mother was very special too and she was there for us to make sure we did our homework, had our breakfast before we went off to school, had a nutritious and delicious dinner waiting for us and dad when we came home from school and work and made sure we went to bed at a reasonable hour so we would be prepared and alert for our school day. She also made sure we brushed our teeth and washed our hands. Since dad worked so hard and had to be up at 4:00 am every day he would be in bed before 8:00 pm so we really didn’t get to talk with him much so we enjoyed dinner at the table where we all would be gathered as a family.
I was very proud of my parents and I loved them so very much and I know my sisters felt the same. There is something very special about unconditional love and our parents loved us all and we loved them both so very much. As a child you learn how special love is and I saw my parents loved each other so very much and we always felt protected because of their unabiding love for each other. When I was a kid I felt my parents love for each other would last forever and that was how it was supposed to be. When they married they took on that sacred oath of love till death do us part and they really did honor it.
I saw that special quality in my dad when mom got sick and we all had to be strong and be there for both mom and dad during these difficult times. Mom was very strong and was a very beautiful and vibrant woman all throughout our childhood and into my early highschool years but then when she started to get sick and prescribed medication for her uneasiness she started to change and became more feeble and less independent and we were very concerned for her especially our dad. Dad was so very loyal to mom throughout this time and we were always there to visit her and encourage her. Dad worked very hard but made sure he was at the hospital to visit mom every day she was there. At times it was emotionally draining and difficult but dad had an inner strength and he never really opened up about his inner feelings. He kept them inside and dealt with them in his own private way.
Throughout the years encountering so many ups and downs and many visits to the hospital to see mom, our dad was always there and was very supportive and he always encouraged mom through words. We would always respect their privacy and I remember seeing my dad shed a tear which for him was not that often but I feel he was so in love with mom and wished he could help her in her state of mind and just felt a feeling of helplessness. It was sad to see him get discouraged but he would never admit it and he would always be by mom’s side.
The hardest part of confronting my mother’s death at 50 years old which I felt was far to young for her was seeing my dad’s gradual decline in the wake of her death and in the years following it. Dad was so loyal to mom and despite her being sick he was always there for her and would visit her every day. So when he lost her he no longer had a place to go to see her. There was a time when he would visit her at the cemetary but it was not the same and he was very lost. I felt sad for dad because he worked hard his whole life and was ready for retirement but he had nobody to share life with and he was so loyal and in love with mom that he had no desire to meet anyone else.
Dad was a very private man and not one to express his feelings and I respected that. Dad was a very kind and caring man and very compassionate and he was always there for my sisters and I and all our kids. Dad loved all his grandchildren and as he got older his time was occupied with visits with us and all his grandchildren which did bring joy to him and made him happy.
As the years went by and all the grandchildren were growing and starting to become independent dad felt his visits were not as necessary but they really were because all his grandchildren loved him and respected him very much. Dad was alone in his senior years and was always welcome at our homes. We felt very concerned for him and when he decided he could no longer live alone at his apartment he was welcome at my sister Kathy’s house where he would stay. He would still visit his grandchildren and do his runs for coffee and donuts. Dad had pictures of mom by his bedside along with rosary beads and the bible. Dad was a religious man and I believe he was trying to find inner peace in the end as he felt tormented at times also and was hospitalized many times for depression.
In the end dad was so much in love with his grandchildren us and especially his wife who died 19 years earlier. The day, April 16th, 2009 started out as any day but it was special too because it was finally the end of a very busy tax season and I was looking forward to spending more time with my family and with dad. I was borrowing one of the partner’s cars in the office because mine was in the repair shop. When I returned it and a friend from work dropped me off at home I was excited to be home at an early hour and looking forward to the days ahead. With in 2 hours of feeling happy my life changed and I was so sad as my brother-in-laws shared the tragic and incomprehensible news that dad had finally succumbed to his depression and was killed instantly by a speeding train and it was believed that he leaned into the train as it was speeding by. I cried and cried and cried and just could not believe this could happen. Dad gave all of himself to others and he was always there for us and for mom and all his grandchildren and he just felt all alone still and I knew he still was in love with mom after all these years and deep down I felt upon learning of his unexpected death was that he wanted to be with his wife again and that I could understand but I was very sad that we had to lose him this way. Mom and Dad’s love is a special love and I will always remember that till the day I die and get to see them once again.
Edward D. Iannielli III