A Legacy to live up to.

Pauline "Penny" Milano 1937-2011
 I'm Sorry I've not been around for a couple months. My mother died May 26,  It seems the last post i wrote was right before Mother's day. And that was the last time I've felt like writing. Mother's day It was obvious not much time was left. And well... wasn't interested in much.

I want to write but of course can't even begin. I'm going to just put some things up for you to look at, read what others wrote, pictures. I want you to meet my mother. She has left me a hard legacy to live up to. And I will miss her terribly.

Tony, me and Mom when our journey began. Earliest photo i could find of us.

Mom died of a little known disease called PSP. Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
TO learn more please CLICK HERE TO READ  Site explains all about the disease and how its so difficult to diagnose. There is no cure. It's progressive and awful. I think Alzheimer's is a kinder disease, if that's possible. And because its so unknown very little funding is there. Though in the past 3 years of involvement have noticed it is getting more help in public's eye.

Her Obituary article. CLICK HERE TO READ
The photo in the article was taken 10 years ago. I can see it starting in her eyes. PSP. This write-up is just a snippet into her life. She was so much to so many kids over the last 25 years. Old students that had my mother as a teacher came to the wake just to say how she helped them, or changed their life. People she hadn't seen in 25 years. She was that good. :)

My cousin Paula who is like my mother's third kid, best friend, and cousin rolled up in one wrote a beautiful eulogy. I wanted you to be able to read it too. I couldn't have said it better.

From Paula: Most of you know me and know when ever I speak the usual purpose is to make you laugh.  Today however, my heart is heavy and broken so I apologize in advance if this is not as light spirited but I need to share with you some of my thoughts about my cousin, my hero and a woman that was known to each of us by different titles but with one common feeling love.
Each one of you sitting here today shared a special relationship with Pauline Milano, called Penny by her family.  She was given that name by my Dad, (her uncle) who said she had such skinny legs like Pins so Penny somehow derived from that.  Our grandmothers name was Pauline and their were so many of us girls that had some form of that name that at family gatherings it was the cause of a lot of confusion when someone called out Pauline or Joe or Tony 95% of the family answered. That’s an Italian thing….

To JoJo and Tony her two children she was Mom, Michelle and Jackie now too.  To Cookie and Jean she was sister, and I need to add how remarkable it’s been to witness the extordinnary loving care you both gave to Penny this past year The three of you have always had such an unbelievable bond and love,  to Maria, Vince, Calla, David Gina, Cooper, and Holden, she was Aunt P. To Louise and Jude she was Pen, or Mrs. Milano as Louise often referred to her, and often I did too, which always made her laugh.  To the rest of you no matter if you were her co worker or student, parent or alumni she was friend.  To me she was every one of those titles wrapped up into a woman that has had such an incredible impact on my entire life.  

Today I stand before you all with a whole new respect for this incredible woman.  Over the past year we witnessed this beautiful, strong, energetic, hard working, humble giving woman courageously fight this little known disease with grace and dignity.  Day by day it stripped away at her physical body but never was able to touch her spirit her hope and her essence.  It amazed us all to watch her go through this and reminded us again of how strong a woman she was.
Penny had so many talents that she selflessly shared with all of us.   She was driven through out her entire life by love of her family and by doing what ever was needed to make sure they were happy.  

Her other passion was the love she had for all the students through out her career as a teacher at Notre Dame School in Miami. St Coleman’s, and as Development Director at Gibbons.  She did whatever to took to enhance the lives of each child she came in contact with.  Nothing was impossible if it was for the Kids and she proved that over and over again. Every part of Gibbons has been touched and enhanced in someway by something she took on to make Gibbons the best it could be. Her contributions will be ongoing and her mission was definitely accomplished.

Through out the last few days I’ve been hearing from so many of you about the things that you remember about her.  They all are filled with how someway she touched you personally. The common theme with each is how she somehow made you feel better, happier, safer, and most of all loved.  There was never a time that she would not reach out a hand to anyone that needed a little dose of love or advice.  She was always willing to do whatever it took to help and seemed to always be there with open arms and sincere concern.  Time didn’t matter; day or night was never a problem.   There was always a way she would help.   The uniqueness about it is that she made everyone feel like they were special and that nothing was impossible.   

She did all this and was the most incredible cook you would ever meet, and bake, wow could she bake. She would call Louise, Jude and I after a long day here at Gibbons and say why don’t you guys come over for dinner?  Before she could finish the sentence we were there.  No matter what she cooked it was always the best, and managed to become our new favorite.  We all tried to attempt to copy her famous cookies this past Christmas.  One of the things robbed from Penny was her ability to speak, so communicating recipes and secret strategies was nearly impossible.   Needless to say, (sorry Maria and Calla) no one came close to replicating her candy canes, doe does or canollies. The good news is we all were a few pounds lighter after the holidays.
She had so many other talents that left us all in awe. 

Everything Penny did she did with enthusiasm and love.  She taught me so much and made my life so happy.  The memories we shared are priceless keepsakes that over time will help to put the pieces of my heart back together.
Finally thank you to Carlos and anyone that had a part in organizing this beautiful mass. I’m sure Penny is smiling down on you all right now.

With all the love that fills this church today my greatest wish is that she knows how grateful I  and all of you sitting here are to her as well, and I want to thank you Penny for the gift of your presence in all of our lives.

“If love could save your life, you would have lived forever”

No doubt, my mother was beautiful  inside and out. My brother and I were both very lucky to be chosen to be her kids. It's one of the reasons I believe so much in Karma. What good Karma we had so early in life. Life isn't always a bed of roses, so to speak, but it was always with love, light, caring, nurturing, attention, adulation, and care.  I am who I am today because of her influence and love.

All i hope for now is to be able to channel a few good things from her every once in a while. Her ability to cook and clean would be nice. Her attention to detail. Her ability to keep going even when exhausted. Her never ending ability to make everyone in a room feel special. Her ability to multitask so easily. Her ability to be firm and strong, yet mild and loved all at the same time. She was exceptional yet humble. And going to miss all this and so much more.

I Love you mom....

For mom:

One of the last photos i took of her enjoying one of her visits.

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