Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Friday, December 18, 2015

For Mom Verno

Ann and Joe Verno, Arizona 2011

I ended up having minor surgery in the beginning of December due to some complications from my hernia surgery a couple years ago. It was successful and I am basically on the mend. In fact, this first blog for December was going to be all about that surgery. I know, I know TMI. That all changed a couple days after the surgery.

Quite unexpectedly, John's Mom passed away on December 7th and everything changed as it does when one loses a parent. I know that very well as you know with my Mom passing several years ago. The horrible fact is that John has now lost both parents within 6 months of each other.

John's father, Joe, passed away on May 30th of this year. He was 96. And as often happens, the spouse passes soon after. Mom Verno, as I lovingly referred to her as, passed on December 7, just after her 94th birthday on the 2nd. I seriously considered her my other Mom. She was the kindest, most genuinely person who did things without being asked, just because she enjoyed doing nice things for others. She was so devoted to her husband Joe that possibly she knew it was time to be with him on the other side. This is my justification. I don't know, we often try to justify the death of a loved one by trying to understand it in this way. It makes us feel better in our pain. 

She didn't suffer and passed peacefully. John was lucky enough to speak with her on her birthday and she was happy and content. She seemed to be doing better than ever, stating that she missed John's Dad, Joe, but she did enjoy Thanksgiving and her birthday. 

How could I not write about this wonderful woman? So therefore this particular blog post is dedicated to Ann Verno. I wanted to share a bit about her. As I did with John's Dad, I set about to help write the obituary.  Below is some info about this incredibly loyal wife and doting mother that I had the privilege and honor of befriending. 

Ann Verno was born in 1921 in Stowe, PA to her parents  Antonio and Julia Guida. Her father was extremely successful owning his own shoe store line which unfortunately was lost during the Depression. Ann then married Joe in 1946 and were married 68 years. They had two sons Joseph and John, settling on High Street in Stowe in 1957, the year that John was born. During World War II, she served as an Air Raid Warden for Pottstown. 

Ann was also active in the Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary and loved her job of 30 years plus as a manager at Zipf's Candy Store in downtown Pottstown. John would reminisce how holidays were so special in the 60's as Mom Verno would bring him to the store to show him all of the candy and chocolate displays set up for Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween. And yes, he got first pick of the chocolates. 

While cleaning out the attic of their High Street home several years ago, John and I found countless gifts and knick-knacks that Ann purchased at Zipf's Candy Stores. I joked she used her employee discount as often as she could. Later in her life, Ann was also active and made so many friends in her local TOPS club where she strived to always loose that extra 10 pounds. I laughed with her that this would never happen as long as she continued to make her incredible Italian cooking.   

After my Mom passed and I moved up to Lake Wynonah, I visited Joe and Ann each morning on my 1 1/2 hour drive to work when I was a domestics officer down in Montgomery County. She would be ready at the same time each morning with my coffee, juice, and Pop Tart. I didn't have the heart to tell her I had outgrown them and maybe I didn't because  I needed a Mom in my life so soon after my own Mom's passing.

Joe and I would discuss the day's news and Ann would refill my coffee and offer me another Pop Tart. I would take a list of things they needed for me to pick up and drop off while passing through at the end of my day. I loved this routine and was sad to see it end when I got my current job in Allentown. It was a special time in my life interacting each day with Mom and Dad Verno. Great memories.

When it comes down to it, there is no easy time or way to lose someone. She may be 40 or she may be 94. It may be sudden or it may be drawn out. It may be in April or it may be in December. It just hurts and just overall sucks. Especially when it's your Mom. I know. And let's face it, it hurts when it's your Dad too.

I hate that we have to go through this in life. We need to hold onto those memories and move forward. I hate the cliche' saying "Time heals all wounds." It does not "heal the wound," Instead, you learn how to deal with it better without falling apart emotionally. The wound will always be there. Until then, cry, sob, mourn, whatever you need to do. But above all, cherish those memories.

***This blog post is also dedicated to my classmate Heather Ausmann Beilat who lost a brave courageous battle with cancer on December 15th this year. May she rest in peace as well.