• Kristina Cherep

Angelo Custode


This past week has been very tough on my family and I. My great grandmother, my Nana, passed away at the age of 93. I had the honor to be asked to do the eulogy at her wake. This has been one of my favorite pieces I have ever written, mainly because the subject of it is beautiful and very near to my heart. Many of my family members have asked me to share what I wrote, so here it is...


Emily DiRaffaele

To people she was a daughter, a granddaughter, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a grandmother, a great grandmother, and a friend, but to me she was my Nana.

No matter who she was to you, we all share a common two words that we can say when remembering her. Those words are, Thank You.

The obvious thank you would be for all of her delicious Italian food. We are lucky for all the recipes she has passed down in the family. Even at the age of 93 she was able to tell us recipes and tips for cooking, such as "Parsley. Just the leaves; not the stems." "Chop the onion really small like the size of your pinky nail." and to use pork and beans in the pasta fazool." People sometimes don't want to share their famous recipes, but she did. That's a reflection of her generosity and her love for our family.

Not many people can say that they not only have grandparents, but they have great grandparents as well. I feel honored to have been one of those people. Thanks to her strength I got to see and know my great-grandma. Her physical strength let her live 93 years, but her emotional and mental strength lets her live for eternity through the strong family she has built.

For me I want to thank Nana for making a gene so strong that it has been passed down three generations after her. That gene is her sass. No matter what kind of day she was having, that was always present even a month ago when she was in the hospital. My Grandma and Uncle Peter, her children, have been by her side from her being in the nursing home, the hospital and then hospice.

At one point, she wasn't allowed to drink a lot of water. So when she asked for water, they would often times have to tell her No. One day my mom was there, so my Nana asked her for water. My mom said, yes and gave her water. My Nana then said "She's nice because she gave me water. Marie, what are you gonna give me?" She then looked over at me and winked. This gene doesn't just show her Italian side, but it shows her sense of humor still there even when she was struggling.

I had been trying to think of a symbol or something to represent my Nana. About ten years ago I was at a wake where a poem was shared. It was about everytime you see a penny, heads up, that means that person who had passed had dropped it down to show you they were still there for you. That has brought me comfort even after all of these years.

For my Nana, I have written a poem of my own in a way that she can show you all her love and presence for you while she's up in heaven. The name of my poem is, Stella D'Italia, which is the most ancient identity symbol of the Italian land. It's a five pointed star.



Stella D'Italia

As I see you twinkle in the night It makes me believe that you might Be there shining light on my struggles To help me conquer them since I no longer Have your physical snuggles.

As I see you twinkle in the sky It's a good reminder that all of this Wasn't a goodbye. You are still present in my life During the harmony and the moments Of strife.

Stars are not only found after sunset They are found around us whether that be Natural or man-made. They can be found on your great grandchildrens phenomenal school work Or even on a barn made out of sturdy Wood work.

You are truly with us everywhere, But a star is a good reminder of you Especially when life starts to feel bare.

Stella D'Italia You; our star Whose origin is Milan And Calabria.


Thank you for being the light of our family during hard times. You taught us many Italian phrases, but one that has stuck with me is "Facca Bella" which means pretty face. I'm so happy that Grandpa Tony finally gets to see your Facca Bella up in heaven. He's been waiting to see it for 27 years. Although, I am starting my grieving process for your passing. I am in a way excited for you to be starting your life again with your husband. To him, you have and will forever be his wife. To us, you are now our Angelo Custode; our guardian angel. Ti amo Nana.


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