Happy Birthday, Grandma

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Ninety-eight years ago today, Filomena Todarello was born.

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“Fannie” had 5 siblings, Eugene, Joan, Louise, Rose and Josephine.

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She was married to Anthony C. “Tony” Marino for 58 years.

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Fannie and Tony traveled to Rome and other parts of Italy, Hawaii, Spain, and Morocco.

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They had four children, Sylvia, Rosemary, Sandra and David.

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On Saturday, September 29th, Fannie slipped into a coma. On Sunday the 30th, with her children surrounding her, she passed away. She is survived by her 4 children, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Those surviving her were left with wonderful memories of a loving woman, a great cook, a devout Catholic. She loved playing bingo, collecting dolls, and crocheting afghans for her family.

At the funeral, my brother Tony and cousins Kris and Rocky gave short eulogies. I refrained, basically because I didn’t think I’d make it through without breaking down.  Growing up, being the oldest grandchild in the area, I was the caretaker when yardwork needed done, the gutters needed cleaned, or something needed taken care of in the house when my grandfather couldn’t do it. Grandpa always paid cash, and Grandma paid in food. Spaghetti and meatballs, tapioca pudding, pizzelles, biscotti, stuffed artichokes, and the list goes on. After Grandpa passed in 1994, I helped even more. I still accepted the food, but I turned down the money. When she argued, I told her that she had taken care of her family all her life, and now it was our turn to take care of her.

 When she needed more care than her family was capable of, she lived at Amherst Manor, and attended as many holiday get-togethers and birthdays and celebrations as her health allowed. When I started making candy for Christmas, I always dipped individual mini marshmellows for her. She LOVED ’em!

Her strength came and went towards the end of her life. One day she was barely strong enough to sit up and eat; the next, she’d be playing bingo. In her last few days, we let her know that it was ok to let go, that Grandpa missed her and was waiting for her. We’d miss her, but she didn’t have to keep fighting for us. She lived a good, long, fulfilling life, and we thanked her for all that she had done for us. Surrounded by all of that love, she slipped away.

Today, Wednesday, October 10, 2012, she would’ve been 98 years old. Happy Birthday, Grandma. This year you get to celebrate your birthday with Grandpa. Together again. We love you.

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4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Grandma

  1. Oh Mark what wonderful and beautiful eyes – they mesmerized me as I looked at the photos and what a wonderful tribute to such an obviously gracious lady- thank you for sharing her story-

  2. What a beautiful woman, what a beautiful story. You were blessed to have her in your lives.

    Thank you for introducing us to such a wonderful woman. HUGS to you and your family as you go through this difficult time.

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