Monday, March 25, 2013

An Ode to My Aunt

On March 17th, 2013, my aunt, Marianne Riccitelli, passed away from complications due to cancer. I hadn't really spoken or seen her or my uncle in over a year. Living 3000 miles away, getting my master's degree, planning a wedding, dealing with life out forget mortality. Aunts should not pass away until they are 100+. But life doesn't always give us what we want (or need). We endure. But the pain of the loss, of not seeing or speaking to her about what's been going weighs on my soul. 

I went online to find her obituary. The disease that ate away at her body sadly ate away at her heart and this vibrant woman chose to spend her final days in solitude, asking to have no memorial or service. Greater heartache. I can not go home to pay my respects. Not yet, anyway. I go home for my wedding June 21st - there will definitely be a visit. We will definitely have a good conversation. But until then...

I searched the internet today. 

In grief we forget that the lives of our loved ones are bigger than we think they are. I have known Marianne for years and have thought of her as my aunt since I was 10. She's been living in my uncle's house since I was 8. I'm 30 now. That is why I will not be insulted that my family was left out of the obituary. It's not as if we saw her family more than a few times over the last 15 years. Instead, I will add to what I think is a good start for an amazing woman. (You can read the original here):

Marianne "Sis" Riccitelli passed away on Sunday, March 17th at Yale New Haven Hospital. She was born October 19, 1956 to her amazing parents John and Ann (Ruscyk) Riccitelli. She leaves behind her nieces Robyn Riccitelli (GA) and Kendal Sasso (WA), and nephews John Riccitelli (GA),  Ricky Riccitelli (NZ), Jason Sasso (CT) and David Sasso (CT). Her loving partner of 18+ years, Jay Sasso (CT), brother John "Ricky" Riccitelli (NZ), Rob and Deb Riccitelli (FL), in-laws Arthur and Jennifer Sasso (CT) and a multitude of dear friends and loved ones. 

Marianne loved life. She was passionate, caring, and would open her home and heart to those in need. If you had the pleasure to meet her, the impression she made was unforgettable. She enjoyed a good glass of wine, a walk on the beach, conversations with friends and proudly sharing stories of her family. She loved her dogs and cats, reading novels, listening to music, and working at Nicks Place. Her laughter was infectious and her spirit unwavering.To be loved by Marianne was to know true warmth as she would pull out all the stops to make you happy. To say she will be missed is an understatement for those lucky enough to have her as part of their lives. Marianne's passing is a loss not soon to be filled. Her thoughts, feelings, attitude...her life, will always be remembered by those touched by her. 

I definitely borrowed a few pieces of the original - though obviously there are some differences. I never knew Marianne to be religious. We never prayed before meals. We never went to church. I think she believed in God, but I like being "religion-neutral". She liked to drink. She liked to smoke. She loved to laugh. She wanted to boast about her nieces and nephews and show the latest pictures. She wanted to feed you things you liked to eat and hear all about what was going on in your world. She wanted to reinforce how much she loved you (I never doubted) verbally and physically. I loved her hugs. I miss my aunt.

Sometimes we don't realize just how truly amazing our family members are and the role they play in other people's lives. I needed this for everyone/anyone to know Marianne Riccitelli was our family - she was part Sasso. The drinking, smoking, swearing, loud parts :-)  Definitely and proudly, I called her my aunt. 

Until we meet again....


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