Mom passed away on September 16, 2022 after a courageous battle with Dementia. She was born in Brooklyn but moved to Franklin Square on Long Island. She attended Sewanhaka High School. Her life would forever be changed when she met the man that she would spend more than 60 years, Steve Alfano. It was inevitable that they were to meet, you see, one of Steve’s good friends, John Bertolino, was already dating Anita’s Aunt Eva Cannizzaro. (Yes, you read that correctly, Mom had an aunt that was her age!) Consequently, after they were married, his good buddy John became his uncle!
They were married on September 23, 1950. In 1957, Robert was born, and in 1959, Michael completed the family. Mom put her career with the Federal Government on hold to raise us. In the early 70s, she decided that she wanted to resume her career. She went to work for the US Weather Bureau in Garden City, and eventually for the Department of the Navy. Both positions were in the Personnel Depts. At 65, Mom decided that it was time to retire and enjoy her life with Dad. And enjoy, they did. They traveled to Italy and Alaska, and they loved to escape on a cruise ship from time to time. They had a very nice retirement until 2010 when Dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Mom took care of him until he left us in December of 2011. After Dad passed is when we noticed the beginnings of her Dementia. But she was never one to complain, or dwell on it, in fact, Mom would never admit anything was wrong and she continued to live her active retired life. She continued to play her weekly Mah Jong games and she was a member of the Bowling League in her Condo. She also felt a calling to return to her faith by attending mass every Sunday at The Church of the Resurrection in Farmingville.
In late 2018 it became apparent that she couldn’t live alone anymore, and we decided to move her into the Bristal Assisted Living in Sayville. Mom would always think she was only visiting the Bristal, and when you’d go to see her, she’d quizzically ask “How did you know I was here?!?” In the beginning, you could get Mom in a game of pool with her, challenge her in a game of Gin/Rummy, or you might find her playing Bingo or a trivia game when you arrived. She didn’t really understand where she was, but she had a nice life. When Covid hit, it didn’t help her because she became more isolated from us, and we certainly noticed a change in her personality when we were finally able to spend time with her again.
What we will miss most about her, besides her amazing cooking, is her unique personality and humor. She loved to laugh and, well, Mom had a way with words. Even after Dementia robbed her of so much of her personality there were glimmers of her old self. For example, every time my wife Blesilda and I would visit her, Mom would ask her what she did for a living. When Bless replied “I’m a Dialysis Technician”, she would pause, look at Bless, with a dead-pan face only Mom could make, and with that same comedic timing she’d let out a, “Well, excuuuse meeee”. They she’d laugh heartily. It was always a highlight of our visits with her. It was only in the last couple of months that her illness robbed of her of that part of her personality.
Mike and I are grateful to both Mom and Dad for everything that they did for us. For the sacrifices, for the love, and the laughs, and both the good and bad times we shared as a family all these years. It is sad to see it end, but every ending is a new beginning. Our hope is that Mom is in the arms of our Dad again. There is no old age, and there is no disease. And they are along side of all of the other family members who have crossed over. Who knows, maybe they are all sitting in a very familiar large smokey room together with a transom over the door. Every day is a Sunday, and there’s a pot of spaghetti and meatballs on the stove. They are all playing cards at the table and laughing together the way they all once did. Someday, we hope to join them in that room.
Visitation- Thursday September 22, 2022 from 5:00 - 9:30 p.m. at our West Sayville Funeral Home, 245 Montauk Hwy.
Funeral Mass- Friday September 23, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at The Church of the Resurrection, Farmingville.
Interment- Calverton National Cemetery