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Thankfully Time Doesn't Stand Still

It’s been three weeks mom passed and one week that we celebrated her funeral. Time just flies and sometimes that is a great thing. In this instant time passing quickly helps with the loss and the emptiness. As every day passes being hectic with work, tackling things around the house and taking time for family and friends means life is back to normal.

Losing anyone is never easy, but it’s how we keep them in our hearts that allows us to move with time. For me, I found the magic formula about six years ago when I lost my dad. I have a picture of him in my great room and I speak to him every morning I walk into the room. Now I’ve added mom’s picture and I speak to the both of them. I was raised Catholic and to believe that we are only here for a short time and when we die we will see our loved ones again. Therefore it wasn’t goodbye that I said to my mom last week, it was till we meet again.

Strength comes from many places, and today my faith gets me through this hurdle. Find whatever you need to get you through your challenges and if you need someone to talk to please don’t hesitate to reach out.

For those that couldn’t be at the funeral, here is the eulogy I wrote for mom.

Good morning, buon giorno, For those that don’t know me I’m Maria Scuor and it’s with a heavy heart I do the Eulogy for my mom. Oggi e il mio honore per representare la nostra famiglia ed di parlare un poi di mamma. It’s my honor and privilege to represent our family today.

Firstly we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone for taking time out of your busy day to share in this moment with us. There are no words to describe how grateful we are to have family and friends to support and comfort us. Vogliamo ringraziare tutti per essere qui. Non ci sono parole per dire quanto sia importante avere la famiglia e gli amici qui. Siamo davvero fortunate. Adesso continuerò in Englese.

Marietta Caterina Cristiano was born in Castelsilano Italy on October 10, 1942 to Salvatore and Rosina. She was the baby of six kids. Three brothers who have passed Giuseppe, Francesco and today marks the 47th anniversary we lost zio Raffaele. Her brother zio Giovanni sits at our side today and her sister Domenica, known as zia Ninella, lives in California with her husband Tomasso.

With that many kids, life was hectic in the little house where everyone lived and my nonna Rosina told me, as a child, mom was always sick with one thing or another therefore was truly babied by the family. With a difference of 18 years from the first child to last, mom became an aunt very young. I remember her telling me Luigi and Sal were like her sons because they were in the house and she did what she had to help her sister.

When mom was 11 years old, dad connected eyes with her one Sunday at church and they both knew some day they would be together. I love the way mom told the story that when she saw him freckled face with red hair she thought boy that boy is ugly but something about his eyes made her say yes.

To avoid the military dad went to work in France for a cabinet company. The next year he went back home and sent his brother Francesco to ask for mom’s hand in marriage. She was 18 and even though she said yes, he quickly found out when he tried to kiss her, that wasn’t going to happen because she bit his lip. So he had to wait and on Dec 30th 1962 at the age of 20, mom married her childhood sweetheart and the newlyweds moved to Langonge France.

There she started her life for the first time with no family or friends to support her. She quickly learned French and made many friends and nine months later I was born. Even though dad wished for a boy, mom always wanted a girl first because she knew the girl would always take care of the family. A couple years later we moved to Parey-le-Monial my brother Vincent or as I call him, Enzo was born in Mar 1966.

Dad and mom had the perfect family and in 1968 moved us to Vancouver in hopes for a better life. We lived in zio Francesco’s house and when dad made enough money for a down payment we moved into the little shack on Clarendon street. Can you believe they bought it for $11,000! But it was a shack and even though Enzo and I had to sleep in a bed in the family room, those were fun times. Soon after mom started working at Gallo Doro, a restaurant, first as a dishwasher and cook but she quickly realized to make money she needed to learn English so she could be a waitress.

Anyone that knows mom, knows she had the gift of the gab, therefore she made very good money in tips and that made her happy because soon enough we had enough money to buy our second home on Chamber’s street.

There, mom and I did the paperwork to bring dad’s bothers Rosario and Enzo and their families to Canada from France. Later my Nonna and Nonno from Italy. Family and friends were everything to mom and her table was always full of great food and drink for anyone that wanted to have a meal with us. She had an amazing heart and would give anything to anyone.

As our family grew so did the challenges for mom. She started to be consumed by anxiety and depression. Not many knew that mom was suffering from mental illness and at a very young age I had to step in and take care of our family. On the day we moved into the dream home that dad built for her in 1978 we had to move her in a bed because she couldn’t get out of it. She was really good at hiding this from everyone, but the turmoil she fought everyday was real. With the help of school councilors I was able to get her help.

Why do I share this with you….Mental illness back then was taboo and was kept hidden. If mom lived in this day and age she may have had a more happy and peaceful life. Therefore I take this moment to tell you all if you ever feel like you can’t cope make sure you reach out to the many that can help. If you see someone struggling be the support. It isn’t taboo anymore and all you have to do is speak up, you never know when you can be the one that makes a difference or even saves someone’s life.

Family was the most important thing in mom’s life. She always said she had two sons when I married Gianni and two daughters when Enzo married Lianne. And we were her everything, well until the grandkids came along. Mom rarely smiled but when she saw her grandkids it put an instant smile on her face.

Angela or Angeletta mia, was the first to give her that smile. Being the first grandchild she smothered her with love. Then came Steven cocolozzo, who she adored because he would eat everything she made. 14 months later Crystal was her cristaleta and she used to laugh at her screechy little voice and one day even told Crystal to tape herself so she could hear it. Then came Serafino who she was always so shocked on how tall he was and whenever she talked to him he would say eme and she always responded figligi. And finally the last grandson Enzo or Enzichillo took moms heart with his eyelashes. He just had to bat them and she melted.

Soon enough Angela married Ian and Steven married Sarah and mom’s family grew even bigger. She was so proud to be the baby nonna of Brody, Blake, Weston and Jameson. It’s funny, when she spoiled our kids, Gianni and I would say mom you have to stop doing that. First thing she asked me when I became a nonna, was how does it feel? Doesn’t it feel that you will give them the world, and I couldn’t deny it, and like many other times I had to admit she was right. I finally knew what mom meant, and Enzo’s and my kids were the benefactor of that love and spoiling.

Because mom and dad had everything they wanted it was always hard to get them birthday and Christmas gifts. Therefore every two to three years Gianni and I took them on vacation. We will always treasure the memories of Australia where mom and I jumped like a kangaroo when we saw a real Kangaroo jump, or of Florida where by accident we went on the Mummies ride in Universal and everyone could hear her scream throughout the ride. Then there was New York, dad and mom were in awe of that whole city, just to name a few.

At 69 years old dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We didn’t know how it would impact the family but soon enough dad wasn’t able to work and in 2013 we moved them to Maple Ridge. While daddy was struggling with Alzheimers mom began getting meaner and more negative. Things that came out of her mouth were unthinkable, but dealing with dad was very hard and we didn’t focus on mom.

Once dad died we realized how bad mom was. Within a year mom lost all her friends and some of her family because what came out of her mouth wasn’t nice. We got her tested and we found she had dementia and as the years passed it got worse and worse. In April 2019, at the onset of COVID we had to hospitalize her. There they quickly told me based on the size of her brain she had had dementia for at least 8 years. That day was a blessing because I finally let go of the anger and hate I had for her meanness. It wasn’t her, not only had she dealt with mental illness all her life, but dementia had taken away whatever goodness was left.

Alzheimer’s and dementia is a horrible disease, and for those friends and family that quickly let her go, understand that this took away the wonderful Marietta and what was left was no longer her. I hope this is a lesson for all of us to be better humans, because in God’s love we need to have compassion for people with mental wellness challenges.

In May last year mom moved into Kiwanis Care Home. It was tough during the pandemic as we could only see her through a glass window, but she loved it there, she said her house was just ride away in the elevator and the restaurant was amazing. In March mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and we watched her fade away.

A few of weeks ago I asked mom if she was ever happy, not expecting an answer. But I don’t know where her voice came from that day, when she said I was happy in France, because I had control of my life. Then she said I’m so happy you are positive like your dad, and I’m sorry you had to take care of me instead of me taking care of you. I cried like I never did before, and then she said non pangerie pui, viva la vita sempre. Don’t cry anymore and live life always.

Mom lived for God and the church, and the day she died I did the rosary one last time with her as she held the beads in her hand. May God bless all of you and I echo mom’s words, live life to the fullest always.

Due to COVID we are only able to do this mass today. Which is a blessing in itself. Once we are able to, Enzo and I will host a celebration in honour of mom and her passion for food and drink.

Mamma, you are now at peace with daddy. We promise to keep your traditions alive because we know how important they were to you. You will always be in our hearts and in our mind. Please watch over us until we meet again. Mamma, sara sempre nel nostro coure e menta. Ti amiamo tanto. We love you to the moon and stars and back.

This first picture is of the legacy mom and dad left behind, their kids, grandkids and great grandkids enjoying lunch in their honor. The rest of the photos are of the day we said we will meet again mom.


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