My Aunt Josephine was a giant. She was a tall woman. That's not what made her a giant. Aunt Jo was my Dad's favorite sister and from my earliest memories she called me and my two brothers her boys. Aunt Jo had two beautiful girls of her own but never any boys, so fortunately we were it.
My Aunt was always like a second Mom to me growing up. She constantly worried about me from long distances, making sure I always had cash in pocket. Aunt Jo was the greatest cook when it came to Italian food. I've never recovered from her amazing raviolis. Need I say more? No matter how hard things were in my turbulent home, she was like a giant always there to pick me up. I took great comfort knowing that I was one of Aunt Jo's boys.
Josie was opinionated, she talked loud and laughed even louder. She had an incredible sense of humor and a determined spirit. When she wanted something accomplished she was relentless until it was completed. It turns out that I'm a lot like my Aunt in more ways than I ever imagined. To me she always was a giant, a bigger than life woman who loved me unconditionally and rescued me from destruction more times than I could count. So much of what I've become in my life today is because I had an Aunt who believed the best and saw the best in me when my own Mom and Dad were too busy tearing each other into bite size pieces.
I've learned that giants are not immortal. On Thursday, June 12th my Aunt Jo passed away at the age of 84 in what I was told was a beautiful and peaceful moment with her girls by her side, holding her hands. Her daughters helped carry my favorite giant into her final rest. That gives me great comfort.
I made sure that I told Josie how much she blessed my life long before June 12th ever came around. She knew I loved her deeply because I told her so. I thought it only fitting now that I tell all of you. I will never forget what it was like to be carried in the arms of a giant. Her footprints in my life have forever changed a young man headed for self destruction.
Who are you carrying in your arms today? You might be a giant too.
In Loving Memory of Josephine S. Cerretto