So anyone who has ever met my grandmother knows that at any given moment there is enough prepared food in her fridge to feed Somalia. Yesterday, I had plan to see my former roommates new house in Philly. Being economically conscious, I asked Nonna if I could have some of the eggplant in the fridge to bring over for dinner. She said no problem, and I went to see a movie. When I came back from the movie, I arrived back home to find a feast: chicken parm, pasta, tomato salad, eggplant, zucchini, bread…so naturally I asked who was coming over for dinner. Nonna said that she made this for me to bring to my roommates. I do not have 65 former roommates, I have two…so I was not sure about the excess of food she had prepared. So, in a state of food coma – which happens BEFORE you eat at Nonna’s…I thanked her and told her it was too much. Nonna’s response…”I know everybody watch…(as in their weight) so I only make 1/2 pound pasta.” Ohh…only a half pound…She then says: “Besides, this is your last supper. You probably not gonna eat dinner with them anymore…” I mean maybe this was Nonna’s hint to kick my roommates to the curb (kidding…), but it is more evidence of my Nonna’s growing morbidity.
Since I was about 4, Nonna has been preparing us for her death. Now, my grandmother is young – she was 49 when I was born, but she is always concerned about her death. Every year on her birthday she tells my sister that its probably her last one. She already has the jewelery she wants to wear in her casket picked out. She has informed us that she wants everyone to cry at her funeral. And anytime you comment on something you like in her house, she tells you you can have it when she dies.
All of this is pretty normal for an elderly person (I think?), but my favorite Nonna/death story involves Nonna’s actual near death experience. About 8 years ago Nonna was having some trouble breathing. She was swelling up, could not take a full breath, her face was red. This is enough to scare anyone to calla doctor, or my father who lives literally two houses away. But no, Nonna – seeing the opportunity to meet Jesus for the first time – goes to the bathroom and takes a bath. She then goes and puts on her nicest nightgown, gets her rosary beads and crosses her arms in bed, fully expecting to die. When she wakes up in the morning, still kicking, she pinches herself and thanks the Lord for the miracle of her life.
I mean…most people would call that an allergic reaction…but really allergic reaction, miracle – what’s the difference?