Wednesday, January 30, 2013

goodbye friend

May 1st, 2001 to January 27, 2013

goodbye my friend.  

you were ever so loyal.  and loving.  and our fiercest protector.

you were my first (fur) baby.  we knew your handsome pappa and mamma, and when you were in her belly.  when we met you for the very first time, i came into the room, and you my sweet, were the first one to come straight for me.  and it was then that i knew you were mine.

we took you home at 8 weeks old.  we fell in love with your furry, giant pawed,  goofy self immediately.  you were an instant love bug.

we had just moved into our new home as freshly married newlyweds, and you managed to instantly make our little house a home.   you were so smart.  you knew how to wrap us around your little (big) paws with your wet kisses, puppy dog eyes, and a wagging tail. 

i'll never forget when we brought our baby xavier home, and how you slept right by him every single night by his crib to make sure he was safe.  how you woke me up when you thought he was in distress.  how you didn't like it when friends and neighbours got too close to him.  you knew he was your little brother and you loved him just as much as we did.  

i'll never forget how you used to follow me around the house just to be near me.  even when i was in the bathtub, you'd sit by the bathroom door and wait for me.  or how you nuzzled my legs when you wanted some loving, a good belly rub, or in your favorite spot - in your inside thigh. 

i'll never forget how you used to love licking stinky feet.  the stinkier the better (or so you thought).  You would literally take xavier's socks off for him just to indulge in this guilty (yet stinky) pleasure of yours.  i must say though, it was the best food massage evah!  

i'll never forget your smell.  you had a distinct doggy smell.  your own scent that i could detect anywhere.  or your never ending shedding.... fur that coated my floors regardless of how many times i swept or vacuumed.  it was fruitless to try to keep a 'clean' floor with you around.

i'll never forget how protective you were when dom was away for work.   you normally sleep just outside my bedroom on your blanket, but when dom was gone on business, you'd sleep downstairs by the front door keeping watch, and listening out for intruders.  you always knew when i was feeling nervous and you did your best to keep us safe.  

i'll never forget how every day at 11:30am when the postman came, how you bark like a madman, EVERY SINGLE DAY for 13 years.   frankly, i don't think the postman will forget you either!!

i'll never forget your sweet wet kisses.  you knew me so well, that all i had to do was purse my lips or say 'kisses', and you'd lift up your nose to me and i'd give you a big fat kiss on the top of your nose.  it was our way.  

i'll never forget up until three days before your passing you cried for me to help you find your ball that was hiding behind the couch, and how you wanted to play 'soccer' with me in the hallway.  it was your favorite game (and frankly, mine too).  i will miss our horsing around.

i will forever miss your company my sweet furry friend.  life sure won't be the same without you.

i know you're with nonna right now, who is loving on you, and taking care of you for us.  

until we meet again, my sweet boy samson.

i love you,

xox  mom

Thursday, January 24, 2013

raw emotions

charcoal, and white pastel in moleskine

one day i'm fine.  one day i'm not.  one day i'm ready to move forward. the next i'm not.  one day i think i've done all the grieving i need to do.  the next i can't stop the tears.  it all feels so raw and so fast.

we're in the process of selling my mom's house.  and that entails going through every single item that's in the house.  items that belonged to my mom.  my mom's life, all in one little house.  seeing her 'stuff'' in boxes broke me open and brought me to my knees.  all her prized possessions.  years of a life lived.  all in a few boxes.  guilt for letting it go.  and nostalgia tugging at my heart strings bringing with it guilt.

my brother says it's all just stuff.  i say it's more than just that.  or perhaps it is, but i'm just not ready to let it all go yet.  i'm taking a lot of what my brother and sister consider 'junk', like her crochet yarns and needles, her sewing patterns, her sewing machine, her knickknacks, and do-dads.  they were important to her, she loved these things. how can we just get rid of the things she cared about.  i'm not ready to let them go.  not just yet. maybe i need some more time with them before i'm ready to let them go.  and we haven't even gotten to her clothes and her bedroom items. now that my friends, is going to be hard.

it's not even been a month yet since she's been gone, and already it feels like a lifetime.

maybe we are going to fast.

maybe i need more time to grieve..


Monday, January 21, 2013

portraiture fundamentals: Day 2

in the drawing and painting studio. again, i literally gasped when i walked into the studio.  it was my dream space.

we started off with a blind contour of the model.  another male model.  training hand, eye coordination.

then came the charcoal and the kneaded eraser.  my favourite way to work.  like, misty, he made it seem so damn easy, so effortless.

this is bogdan luca's version of the model.

then it was our turn.  this is my piece in progress.  getting totally lost in the process.

and the final version. so much damn fun.

and on sunday - my sister Felicia, and my cousin Felicia and I went to the AGO to see the Frieda Khalo, and Diego Rivera exhibit.  stunning.  in absolute awe.  had to get up real close and see every brush stroke.  i so wanted to touch them.

her strokes are soft, his are heavy.  so very different.

it was a dream come true to see them in real life.  i've been a fan for over 10 years now after discovering the work of Rivera. a few of his prints hang on my walls.... but oh to have an original.  wow.

next week:  we'll be back in the sculpture and installation studio.  more clay.  more fun.

and today.... mistys online class starts....  doing the happy dance.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

forward: with portraiture fundamentals

portraiture fundamentals with bogdan luca at ontario college of art and design. 

day one: in the sculpture and installation studio.  a room full of armatures and clay. wow.  i was in love with this class the minute i walked into the studio.  i was in complete awe.  the space is an artists dream studio.   if i had a dedicated art space like this, i don't think i'd ever leave it.  although a window would have been nice. 

a studio full of armatures waiting to come to life

bogdan luca preparing the clay for a demonstration

early stages:  my very first 'head' and face modelled after a live model 'ben'

almost done

and the profile
then we ran out of time.  just like that 3 hours went by right before my eyes.  i was having too much fun to stop. wish i could had just a couple more hours to refine it all...  see how far i could have gone with it.  but instead, we had to hack it up and put it all back into the clay bin..   me thinks i'll be playing and exploring with clay more often.

next week, we'll be in the painting studio.  we'll be drawing and then painting with acrylic.  more to come peeps.

xoxox, f

Friday, January 11, 2013

a new normal

the week after has been full of a bag of emotions.  one minute we think we're fine, the next we can barely get out from under the covers.  my siblings and i have spent a couple of days busy taking care of 'business', but we are now in self care, rest, and recharge mode. it's incredible the amount of stress we carry and don't really notice it until it's all over.  your body just crashes.  there were a few times my brain was telling me to get off the couch, but my body would just refuse.  crazy.   tonight we are all going to my brothers house for a nice homemade dinner, and a change of scenery!  slowly but surely, we'll get into a new normal.

lately i've been painting.  mistys online class is turning out to be the best medicine.   it couldn't have come at a better time.

tomorrow i start my portraiture fundamentals class as OCAD and am very excited about that.  another really good and much needed distraction.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

what do you want to remember the most?

there are a million things i will remember.  but ultimately, what stands out are her courage, her strength and her love.  unforgettable.

xoxo, f

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Carmela Giordanella
December 14, 1940 to January 2, 2013
72 years and 19 days

always with her beautiful pearls on.  she loved them so.

my mom passed away on january 2, 2013.  she was ready to go, and we were finally ok with that.  she suffered a long, horrible illness (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) for a devastating 4 1/2 years. my mom, which we nicknamed, 'the tank', was just that: unstoppable, and tough.  you may have noticed i've been pretty absent from this blog for the last 4 to 6 months or so.  taking care of our mother became an all consuming priority.  my brother and sister and i did everything in our power to make her comfortable.  if there was a cure for this disease, we would have found it.  but there isn't a cure.  they say they are close to it, but yet many years away from 'a pill' or treatment plan that will stop the progression of it.   it's a nasty disease that literally scars your lungs so badly that it leaves you breathless, like your suffocating.  and ultimately you die from lack of oxygen.  it's an ugly disease, right to the very end.  i can honestly say it was the toughest 4 1/2 years of my life.  worse than anything i've ever known or experienced.  nothing, ever, has ever knocked my mother off her feet.  nothing.  except this disease.

my birthday.  from this picture i see elisa, my spitting image.

the last two months my mom was in palliative care, where she tried to be strong.  we took turns spending the day with her, making sure she was never alone.  over the last 4.5 years, we've tried to prepare ourselves for the end.  we thought we were ready for it.  we thought we had said and done what there was to be said or done.  but we have come to realize you can never, ever be prepared.

my mom liked to have fun, and a good laugh.  

you can't prepare yourself for the uglyness of death.  it was bitter, and ugly right till her last breath.  mom waited until after christmas, and new years, to finally decide to give up her fight.  she was ready. we were ready.  that morning, after the morphene had worn off somewhat, she got extremely restless, and wanted to get up and sit in a chair, she was asking to go home, she was very agitated.  the doctor ordered higher doses of morphene, and i'll never forget her eyes rolling into the back of her head, and her eyes closing, and from then on she was in a morphene induced coma.  that was the last time i saw my mothers eyes open.

she loves her boys my mamma does.  she loved her xavier like no other.  

shortly after, the doctor told us that we should be prepared for her to go at any time, with no more than 2 to 3 days left.  so we got the cots ready, and were prepared for at least a few more days of this.  but it wasn't to be.

told ya my mom liked to laugh.   having fun with my brothers halloween hat.

that night, at 2:30 am, her breathing was very laboured despite the morphene, and her chest was making all kinds of noises from the fluids in her lungs.  at one point she foamed at the mouth.  at that point we screamed for the nurse.  the nurse said she may have had a seizure.

me and my moms on my wedding day.  she walked me down the aisle.  

and i swear to god, i've never in my life ever seen this.... the colour from her face drained by the second, it was like a veil moving down her face, and then, i screamed, 'is this it?", i told her to , 'go mom, it's ok to go, you're ok, we'll be ok, we love you, and say hi to pappa for us".  the minute i said that, her heart stopped.  everything stopped.  we could literally feel and see her soul leave her body.  it was like a wind blowing through our hair.  it was the most incredible thing i've ever experienced in my life.  it was traumatic.  it was dramatic.  it was horrifying.

doesn't she look beautiful here?  on this day she wasn't feeling very well, but she insisted on going to watch the easter parade at my in-laws house.  she had her oxygen but took off the nose piece for the picture.
since that last night, when i close my eyes, that's all i see.  it's like a movie i have in my head that replays over and over again.  i pray to god that that image goes away over time and that when i do close my eyes, i see mom, and her beautiful face, and not the ugly face of death.  over time, it will.  i'm told time helps.

mom and dad having fun at one of our christmas dinners, with the toy mustache and lips found in their crackers.  too damned funny. 

my word of intention for this year is FORWARD.  moving forward, onward, life goes on.  my mom wanted us to. she didn't want us mourning.

see she loved her pearls.  


with her boys.  boy did she love her boys (and her pearls, see she had them on again)

we're heartbroken and miss her physical presence horribly, but our hearts are relieved that she is no longer suffering.  right now she is running and walking, and taking long deep satisfying breaths.

a picture from long long ago.  at the kitchen cleaning, or cooking up a masterpiece dinner in a matter of 5 minutes.  i remember those homemade dresses she used to make herself.  she'd slip into them after she came home from work.  

suffice to say, our hearts are broken, and it may take some time for me to get back to regular blogging, but i intend to get back to some sort of 'new' normal.  i know she's around.  i feel her presence over me. i know she's not far.  and this is exceptionally comforting.  right mom?

her brood.  yes, that's our friend matthew at the bottom with a black wig on (for fun).  i was in my moms arms crying because i wanted to try on the wig and matthew wouldn't let me.  

these images i've posted, is how i remember my mom in my heart.  when she was happy, healthy, funny, and a fierce mamma bear.  these are the memories i will forever hold onto.

we miss and love you mom, ti amiamo per sempre.

much love,  f