Tuesday, August 18, 2009


August 16, 1994: As the sun beat down on the back patio, Emily and Hilary sat at the picnic table as I prepared open toasted cheese sandwiches for their lunch. I was accustomed to having my nieces visit me occasionally while their parents were working. The day was gorgeous - not stifling hot like some. All was right in my little piece of the world: peace, calm, solitude, family, and love. Only the irritating distant sirens that broke into the silence assured me that someone was not as happy as me. Pecon, my little daschund was lying on the porch observing the aroma of toasted cheese and occasionally wagged his tail in hopes of stealing a piece of someone's lunch. Sirens were still annoying the otherwise perfect day. When the phone rang, I was also annoyed. More noise. "Pam, don't be alarmed, but I just passed an accident on the Wilcox Road on my way to the shop and I think the car is your parents." When Kathy McDonald called me that day, it was the first real shock to ever hit me in life. I barely remember gathering the girls and jumping into my car - flying up the Wilcox highway. The stopped traffic was in both directions and the line of cars so long, I could not see ahead. So I drove in the oncoming lane to the front of the line where ambulances were decorating the scene. I told the girls to stay put and jumped out. Mom, I was told, was okay but in the ambulance on the way to the Elk Regional Medical Center in St. Marys, PA. Dad was still in the car, leaning backwards, with blood coming out of his mouth. The jaws of life had already sawed off the roof of the car in order to extricate him. I was visibly upset and talking to dad as I held his hand: "Dad....I'm here.....it's Pam.....you are going to be okay....but they are going to take you to the hospital" I'm not sure dad could hear me, but I hope he knew I was there holding his hand. I would have been the last person in my family to touch him before he passed away about 20 minutes later at Kane Community Hospital. The details of the day are sketchy as I remember the waiting room at Elk Regional Medical Center and hoping to know that Mom would be okay. I remember her stone-cold face, one of shock as she lie there on the table in preparation to be life flighted to St. Vincent Health Center in Erie, PA. I remember sitting in my car with my husband Fran, watching the helicopter lift up with my Mom. I wanted to pray but prayer escaped my lips. I could only tremble. Before me was the preparation for Dad's funeral. And I did not even know if Mom would live through the week. All I know is that Dad was in Heaven. That is all I knew that day.

August 16, 2009: Terry, Carol, and Chelsea picked Mom and me up at 7:00 AM this morning for the 2 1/2 hour trip to Erie, PA. Although the sun could not find its way that early, we had the advantage of slight fog which kept the highway empty, giving us free reign almost all the way to Erie. Stopping in Warren at Perkin's Restaurant was a chance to fill our empty stomachs in preparation for the anticipated baptism of my great niece, Maria Lynn Allegretto. After leaving the restaurant, the sun had finally emerged from the misty sky and guided us the rest of the way. What a celebratory day! I could feel it in my veins and could not wait to witness one of the most beautiful sacraments of our tradition: baptism. The most precious sight greeted our eyes as we proceeded down the aisle to meet Tony, Linda, Anthony, and little Maria in pure white. Obviously, angels are always in white. Her innocent anticipation of events, her roaming eyes from one to another, her willingness to allow most of us to hold her - even for a moment, and her pure spirit, pure beauty helped to capture my attention and set the precedent for the day. Maria Lynn. Angel. Sweetheart. Child of God. As the priest lifted his hand and sprinkled the holy water saying "I baptise you, Maria, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" it was evident that she was being brought to this occasion by a community of believers who welcomed Maria into the church and the community. What a glorious day. A day that God had chosen to remind us that all days are holy and all days are gifts from Him. It surely was a Heavenly day. Friends, family, food, and fun. And Maria Lynn Allegretto, a child of God's community. Just HEAVENLY.

1 comment:

  1. She is absolutely beatutiful and I glad she is OK ......Sharkey