I knew when May started that it would be a very busy month. I had been working feverishly to finish my painting in time for one of my biggest art shows of the year, Salem County Arts in Bloom. But, life had other plans. On May 10th, I received an early morning phone call from my mom informing me that my Grandmom had passed away. Even though she had cancer and was battling like a true champion, we were all still in complete shock. She had just one week left of her treatments and her doctors had expressed how wonderful she was doing just the day before.
The next few days I spent grieving her death and realizing just how unpredictable life can be. I realized I had to stop my efforts of finishing my painting and take the time to work through the emotions and be with my family. I also was organizing the photograph slideshow for her funeral mass. It was so much fun looking at pictures from throughout her life and remembering all the special moments we shared together. My absolute favorite was our weekly, four generation shopping trips to Aldi's. On Fridays my mom and Grandmom would met me and my kids at Aldi's. We would all do our weekly grocery shopping, together.
My brother was flying in from Indiana for the funeral which was held on May 15th. The night he flew in, my family came over and we finished organizing things for her funeral the next day. Since he would be flying out the next day right after the funeral, Brandon and I stayed up talking until midnight. We were both exhausted but it was so nice to be able to catch up on such a short trip home.
We had my Grandmom's mass at her church, The Church of the Incarnation, in Manuta. It was a beautiful send off of her. As I was kneeling in front of her casket saying my last goodbyes, my mom joined me. I wanted to remember everything about my Grandmom and at that moment I couldn't believe I'd never see her again. After the services, we had a delicious luncheon at the Telford Inn, and as a family, we went back to her house. We reminisced, watched old home movies, and took some group pictures.
My Grandmom was cremated and on Friday, May 18th (my Mom's birthday) we buried her with my Pop-Pop at the Gloucester County Veterans Cemetery. Afterwards, our family went to lunch at Gete's Diner. Later that afternoon I began setting up for the Arts in Bloom, which started the next day. I stayed up late and got up early and somehow I was able to get everything ready in time for the big show.
The next two days were filled with great conversations with loyal customers and new faces during the Arts in Bloom tour. Even though the weekend's weather was rainy and gloomy, I still had a great turn out for the event. You can read all about this year's Arts in Bloom by clicking here.
I was too tired to take my setup down, so on Monday, as a family, we spent the morning driving around town to pick up my direction signs and visit with some friends along the way. My husband invited them to come over and see my display. I decided to extend the invitation to anyone else that would be interested, via Facebook. That night, I was open from 4-8PM and had a great turn out of people who wanted to come but the weekend was just too busy. I was so glad that I kept the display up an extra day for others to enjoy and might do it again next year.
I spent the next two days disassembling my display and putting everything back where it belonged. I had just finished in time to get ready for my husband's cousin's wedding. We had a amazing rehearsal dinner at DiPaolo's Ristorante in Pennsgrove. The next day was the wedding which was held at Masso's Red Pine in Glassboro. It was a spectacular night celebrating the marriage of Bobby and Noelle! Everything was so beautiful! You can see pictures below.
The next day was spent prepping for a surprise birthday party for my mom! Before my Grandmom had passed away, we planned to do it Memorial Day weekend but with everything that had happened and other plans possibly being made, we weren't sure it was going to come to together. However, things fell into place and I spent the night making side dishes and decorating my house with my sister. On Sunday morning, I picked up mom's birthday cake from Terrigno's Bakery in Bridgeton, a special family tradition of ours. My mom was completely surprised! It was so nice showering her with love after a stressful and sad couple of weeks.
So now, here I am, looking to get back on track after a whirlwind two weeks. I wanted to write this blog post to appreciate everything that has happened, good and bad. To give myself perspective and share my experiences with you. I am so grateful for the family and friends who took the time to send a card, cook us dinner, or deliver a dessert during the wake of my Grandmom's passing. It is truly appreciated! I am looking forward to getting back into the studio and finishing my painting. Stay tuned for details about the big reveal.
Some of my favorite pictures of my Grandmom and I
My Grandmom, July 11, 1956
Me and Brandon
Me, my brother, Brandon, and my sister, Dana
My Grandparent's Headstone
My Arts in Bloom Display
The Groom, Bobby, and my husband, Chester
Bobby, Noelle, Me, and Chester
Chester and I