Thursday, February 12, 2015

In Memory of my cousin, Frank Viola


 (I wrote this the day after I heard about my cousin, Frank, passing. I didn't post it immediately because I did not want to add to the sadness of his family in their time of mourning. Not only has his family lost a cherished husband and father, but the world has also lost an amazing and loving man and is the lesser for it.)
Sunday, February 8th, the world lost a wonderful man, my cousin, Frank Viola. It pains me to write this through tears of sadness, but I can’t think of anything else. Frank came in our family in 1981 when he married my cousin, Maria. Together, they had three beautiful children: Frank, Joseph and Deanna. It was always Frank's dream to be a father and together he and Maria made that dream a reality.
Frank was a stay-at-home dad who was very much hands on with his children. He was a loving and affectionate father who adored his family. He was soft spoken and gentle in his ways. Frank had a lot of love in his heart and he gave it all away every minute of every day. He was always thinking of and finding ways to help others. Frank was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis shortly after he married Maria and, over the years, the disease progressively slowed him down physically, but his mind was always sharp and his heart always full of love. He may not have been able to do the things some fathers do, like throw a ball and run bases but, as a father, he hit a home run every day. I can’t think of any man I have ever met who was a more loving and devoted father to his children and husband to his wife. Family was absolutely everything to him and anyone who knew him, knew that.

The last time I spoke to Frank was right after Thanksgiving, when he had come home from one of his many hospital stays. I went into his room to say hello and to tell him I was happy they had released him before the holidays. Despite his many battles with this disease, he was in great spirits. I have never seen him feel sorry for himself or heard him complain. He always had a smile on his face. We talked about our children, his favorite subject. His eyes always lit up when he would mention his children. We chatted about how good they all were and how very proud we were of all of them. He told me he was happy that our kids were getting together outside of family occasions, like friends. He said it was his hope that our children would be close, that they would have each other throughout their lives. I told him that was my hope too and that I worried because my kids have no one once our generation is gone. He said his kids didn't have anyone either, they weren't close to his brother's and sister's children. It was unspoken, but we understood in that moment how reassuring and comforting it is for us as parents, to know that when we leave this world our children will have close family that can count on no matter what trials life brings. Family who will be there to share in their joys and support them in their times of sorrow. Even during this conversation we had, Frank was thinking about his children, and I totally understood how he felt.

I cannot begin to imagine the void that Frank’s passing will leave in Maria’s life or his children’s lives. Maria and Frank were soulmates. She and the children were always the center of his world, as he was in theirs. I know in my heart that his great love for his family will transcend death, and he will be watching over them, loving and protecting them, as much as an angel in heaven can.

May you rest in peace Frank, until you are reunited with your family again.

No comments:

Post a Comment