Wow, today marks 11 years since my mom passed away! I can’t believe how quickly time fly’s by. It seems like only yesterday, with her family gathered around her bedside, she came out of a coma to open her eyes, look at all of us and softly whisper, “I love you” before gently leaving this world forever.
The fact that my mother came out of a coma to bid her family farewell may seem extraordinary to some, but for Trudy, it was par for the course. Nothing and I mean NOTHING, meant more to her than her family. She adored us all so very much (and we, her) that over a decade since her passing, we can all still feel her here with us; watching, guiding, and protecting, as only Trudy can. It is very comforting.
There are some things about her that will forever be hers and hers alone; a yellow teasing comb with a pointed handle, the smell of “Intimate” or in later years, “White Diamonds” lingering on the wardrobe that hung in her closet, lavender flavored chewing gum at the bottom of her handbag, Kent 100’s (even decades after she gave up smoking), long beads tied in a knot between her bosom, and of course; the unique ability to randomly produce a bobby pin from her head, regardless of her hair style. My sister, Maureen and I were convinced that she would “squirrel” a few of the hair-pins away while washing her hair, just in case they were needed down the line! Could it be that she was a secret agent and never knew when she would have to pick a lock?
Every day as I dust the furniture in my house, my mind’s eye conjurs up the image of mom dusting our childhood furniture while singing (just a single line) “so you ran into my former fiancé…” or “Broken hearted melody, once you were my song of love,” or best of all, any line from her signature song, “Unforgettable.”
When she was bored she would simply call out, “sing that Humperdinck song for me, Don?” I would always pretend to be “put-out” but after rolling my eyes in mock protest, I would burst into “Quando, quando, quando,”, actually quite pleased with the notion that my little serenade could make my mom so happy.
She would randomly turn on the radio and request my sisters to “dance for mommy,” and of course, they always complied. There was something so wonderful about making my mom smile that made you feel honored to have the ability.
From a foodie’s perspective, to this very day, there will never be another tomato sauce like hers or meatloaf, pot roast, or London broil for that matter.
Mom had a wonderful ability to tell a story that kept you on the edge of your seat or laughing so hard you were splitting at the seams. She was the life of any party and to this day, I swear my friends enjoyed her company more than mine!
While eulogizing my mother at her funeral, I tried hard to sum her up by stating, “she may have changed her hair color to match her outfits but she cooked us good food, gave us a clean and pretty home, dressed us well and filled us with love. She was a woman who thought she had no accomplishments, never realizing the unparalleled legacy she will leave behind.”
For seventy-eight years, Trudy Wilson-Massetti-Abate was beautiful, funny, smart, classy, interesting, talented, kind and above all; loving. It was because of those qualities, we often forget that she was also extremely strong and brave; conquering illnesses and tragedy [that would cause most among us to simply give up] with an optimistic, tender grace, all her own. Even her flaws simply added to her charm. Like the great screen legends, TV stars and songstress’ of her day; my mother was a rare, one-of-a-kind woman. Maybe that was the way they made ‘em back then?
Although there will never be another like her, my sisters, nieces, nephews, and I, can do our best to carry out her legacy and keep her memory alive. If she was a part of your life, you remember her fondly and I promise you, you’re happy for it. If you never had the chance to get to know my mom, I must admit, it makes me feel kind of sad for you. Maybe one day soon I will have my book finished and through reading “Unforgettable” you too will know her and hopefully be touched by her inimitable spirit and like all of us, find her to be truly… unforgettable too!
Until next time,