One Year Mass

It will be right on his anniversary, Friday, July 3 at 7:00pm
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish on 640 Glenholme Avenue, Toronto.
(Eglinton & Dufferin area)
Mass will be in both English and Italian

http://www.stthomasaquinasparish.com/

Reflection on Tree Planting

What an emotional day.  I think the anticipation was worse than the actual day.  Funny how our mind works us up sometimes.  At least that would be Tony’s words to me.  Always had the right things to say.  I miss him terribly……
We had about 60 people join us on a very warm sunny day.  We had the BBQ going and lots of food for everyone.  The parking lot was full of family and many friends who cared for Tony.  With the word friends, I include the employees, customers and suppliers that joined us that day.

For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a prayer said my our dear friend Rosemary and some photos.   I did not get a good shot of me and my boys.  On my to do list….

“On behalf of the Gemmiti Family, I would like to thank all of you who took the time to be here and celebrate the planting of this tree.  Tony had always wanted a tree to be replanted here for his staff to sit under for their enjoyment.  So, today, we take comfort in fulling Tony’s wish.
There was a saying that Mary had put in her blog that has stayed with me and has inspired me.  some of may remember it.
YOU NEVER KNOW HOW STRONG YOU ARE UNTIL BEING STRONG IS THE ONLY CHOICE YOU HAVE.
And that is what Tony did.  He kept strong for all of us.  His strength and courage helps us go on.  But these words are more true for Mary, Michael & Robert as this past year has gone by.  Strong is the choice they have made.  Tony is looking down with love and pride on them.  Hold true to these words, Mary, Michael & Robert.  Tony’s life was an inspiration for us all.  So, we celebrate his life in the planting of this tree.”

TREES

Our Father, we thank Thee for Trees! We thank Thee for the trees of our childhood in whose shade we played and read and dreamed; for the trees of our schooldays, the trees along the paths where friendship walked.  We thank thee for special trees which will always stand large in our memory because for some reason of our own they became our trees.  We thank Thee for the great stretches of trees which make the forests.  May we always stand humbly before Thy trees and draw strength from them as they, in their turn, draw sustenance from Thy bounties of earth and sun and air.
(Written by, Margueritte Harmon Bro)

Thank you to all that joined us in presence and in spirit.  Feel free to come check out this tree at our offices.  It’s the only one on the island in the grass in the parking lot.  A beautiful Oak tree.

xoxo
Gemmiti Family

Tree Planting Celebration

BBQ Fundraiser Tree Planting Celebration 
In Memory of Tony Gemmiti 
Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 12:00pm

Dear Family and Friends,

In memory of our Founder, Tony Gemmiti, we are organizing a tree planting celebration in front of our offices at Delor Window Coverings. We invite you to join us in this celebration of life. Funds raised will be going towards Princess Margaret Hospital for Multiple Myeloma. We will be serving lunch as our way of saying thank you for your wonderful support this past year. If you are unable to attend, please find it in your hearts to go online and donate today.

Here is the link to our team page, GEMM Team.

http://pmhf3.akaraisin.com/pledge/Team/Home.aspx?seid=9549&mid=10&tid=81957

Please RSVP by June 8.
Hope to see you there!
Warmest regards,

Mary Gemmiti

The GEMM Team is kicking off the fundraising!

Hi everyone…..been a while.  I’m joining the Princess Margaret Hospital walk this year with many friends & family.  This year it falls on Father’s Day, June 21st. It’s going to be an emotional day for us……We are over 50 walkers strong on my team, called the GEMM Team.
I’m asking for donations for a cause so dear to my family.  He won’t be with us physically, but I know he will be there in spirit.
Kindly find it in your heart to sponsor someone you know on our team.
Here’s the link to the main page:

http://www.mm5kwalk.ca/home.aspx

If you’re having trouble finding our page, here’s a direct link to my personal page with more information.

http://pmhf3.akaraisin.com/Pledge/Participant/Home.aspx?seid=9549&mid=9&pid=1617536

I thank you to those contributing to this great cause.  I look forward to spending the morning with a great group of people.  To my team members, I say, YES WE CAN!

Thanks everyone!

Mary

What Cancer Cannot do:

I was looking through some old photos I took on my cell phone.  I find comfort looking at memories. Photos are so important.  I came across a photo of a poster in one of Tony’s hematologist doctor’s office.  It was at the back of the door.  Those earlier days, when cancer was still new to us.  She left us alone in the room one time.  She had closed the door behind her.  So we just sat there, staring at the door with this poster on it.  Waiting for her return.  I remember both of us reading it.  We just read it and didn’t elaborate.  No words necessary.
This is for those who continue to fight the cancer fight, because these words are so true!

WHAT CANCER CANNOT DO:

Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot dissolve faith,
It cannot destroy peace,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot suppress memories,
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot invade the soul,
It cannot steal eternal life,
It cannot conquer the spirit.

Happy New Year 2015!

Cannot lie.  It’s been a very rough couple of weeks.  My Christmas gift to my sons was a custom made quilt.  It was made of photos of us 4 and Tony’s clothing.  I was so proud of this gift.  They both loved their blankets.  It truly was a special present.  Christmas, of course, was spent with family.

At the last minute, I decided to book a trip between Christmas and New Years with my two sons.  I was selfish.  I wanted just the three of us.  It actually gave me something to look forward to during the holidays instead of focusing on someone being absent.  Sitting at a table for 4 but only 3 of us.  I guess nowadays, with blended families and divorces, no one really looks at you thinking someone is missing.  But someone clearly was to me.  It was unspoken between the three of us.  But, we had a fantastic time!  It was a fast paced four days. We visited Key Largo, Key West, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood Beach & Miami.  Fantastic.

New Year’s Eve, the three of us went our separate ways as we have been doing since they became adults.  I couldn’t hold them back and I’m glad I didn’t.  I had a couple of friends come over to keep me company and it was fun.  The elephant was definitely in the room.  I am truly blessed to have key people who check up on me regularly.

My New Year’s resolution is to scrapbook weekly.  A passion that means so much to me.  I have a collection of books already completed, but need to do more.  This digital technology is locking our photos on our hard drives and really not giving us something to touch.  Yes, we share pictures on Facebook and texting and emails.  But, I miss that touchy feeling.
My albums tell stories.  Stories that will be passed on to future generations.  In fact, my latest project is one of Tony’s memory.  I have a collection of emails, texts, cards and donations.  I have put them in an album and have asked a selected few people to compose a letter of a special memory to share. I’d love to share this album with our grandchildren one day.  To let them read about how special he truly was and how many lives he has touched.  So, Thursday nights is dedicated to scrapbooking in 2015.  Anyone who wishes to join me is welcome.  We can work on our projects together!

Meanwhile, I have learned that life goes on.  Hard to do, but I must.  I think of him many many times, daily.  I put up a very strong front when I need to.  My children and family and friends do their very best to keep me busy, but I wonder……
I wonder for how much longer?
Does the pain in my heart ever go away?
Do the memories of his last few days remain vivid in my thoughts?
Will I ever be ok?
Tomorrow will be six months……..wow, six months.  It’s still hard to believe he’s gone.

Happy New Year everyone.

Learning to be a widow

I came across this article, which really says it all.

Learning to be a widow is the hardest thing I have ever done

CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

(Neal Cresswell)
I lost my husband on Nov. 29, 2011, a statement that implies I merely misplaced him in an absent-minded fit, and if I could just remember where I left him then all would be well again. The euphemism sounds better than the truth.
With spousal bereavement, things don’t get better, just different. Everything feels wrong. A rift exists between us, as I go on and he doesn’t. Time comes between us. When sutures refuse to hold, the wound opens unpredictably. So it is for the widow or widower: The world assumes that time has done its proverbial work and “healed” us. No. We bleed still, our amputation aches. The wound never heals because our partner is gone, forever. Time heals nothing.
I’ve read my way through every stage of life, so when abducted by bereavement I naturally turned to books. I devour books, and as a child I sniffed them, too, assuming that the place of publication (London, New York) smelled just like the book.
Bereavement literature frequently mentions waves of grief. Tiny waves may carry unsuspected currents. Then there are the tsunamis. Buddhist books suggest meditating as the waves of emotion surge: sit, and without judgment simply abide with your feelings; ride out the waves like a skilled surfer, paddling through the worst of it.
Or pedal through the cycles of anguish, say other experts. There are three cycles, or four – opinions differ. Some cycles tear the victim asunder, while gentler cycles numb, a welcome respite from what has gone before and lies ahead, which you begin to recognize because these are, after all, cycles and any fool can spot a pattern after the first few weeks.
But sometimes there are no patterns. Loss struck me as the graph of a bad tech stock, where today’s all-time low is a mere prelude to tomorrow’s new rock bottom. Then, perhaps 18 months on, bereavement was more like learning to walk again, minus childhood’s tottering charm.
This is what I now understand: Some emotional land mines we can brace for, such as a wedding anniversary, the date of diagnosis or death, the first holiday without them. But most land mines are unexpected: a few bars of music, a mental snapshot, a handwritten note. You cannot protect yourself from these, and they are everywhere.
In the first fresh agonies of separation I howled like a distressed animal (which I was). Sanity receded. My centre gutted, mindless chores helped to ground me. I struggled against the desire to call out for help, not wanting to trouble others, sensing even early on that few would understand the depths in which I floundered.
Our grief-illiterate society lacks the Victorians’ polite shield of mourning dress: Then, one glance proclaimed both an individual’s emotional fragility and the relative degree of sorrow. Today, many deny death’s reality by doling out advice (“keep busy” or “take a trip”) with more enthusiasm than logic, as if all the bereaved need is distraction.
Alternatively, we are encouraged to “remember the good times.” but that only reminds us of who and what we’ve lost. Once we lived in technicolour, now all is black and white. We are first with no one. After decades at the head table we’ve become “ … one that will do/to swell a progress, start a scene or two … ” or, more prosaically, fill a last-minute gap in a seating arrangement.
I need to come to terms with the fact that nothing will ever be right again, for his death was the death of “us,” and when he died “we” died, too. The edifice of our 27 years together was abruptly demolished in the four months from diagnosis to death. I’m left sifting through the rubble with my half of the memories. The only other person in the world who shared those remembrances is gone. I fear that without his reinforcement of our memories I will gradually lose even my half of the tale of “us.” And as our life together equalled most of my adult life, I may in time forget much of my own personal history.
Worse, I worry that over time he will slip away completely.
My mind automatically sorts memories and events into before or after his illness and death. The last weeks of his life are welded into my being. I relentlessly replay specific scenes as if hoping for a different ending. The flexibility of time destabilizes me: Sometimes it seems he disappeared decades ago, but moments later I imagine that he just stepped out of the room. Along with time, the magnitude of loss shifts – from bottomless pit to manageable sorrow – further disorientating me. Am I going mad? Has anyone ever felt this way? In my mid-50s, I’m like a confused teenager again. Who am I? What should I do? I’m a stranger to myself.
Small things overwhelm me. Life without Michael is both too much and too little. Even the altered vocabulary jars: an official form with the box “widow” ticked, the word “late” in front of his name. Surely someone has made a mistake?
Learning to be a widow is the hardest thing I have ever done. I proceed grudgingly with this business of fashioning a new identity and becoming fluent in the language of life, after.
Joy Tyndall lives in Toronto.

I’m having a hard time focusing lately

This was given to me by a fellow widow.  She lost her husband to Multiple Myeloma.  Not sure if she wrote it or copied it.  What is important is that she shared it with me to share with my family and friends.  It truly says it all. I don’t have the mind or strength to post anything in this blog.  I hope one day to reflect my thoughts and feelings. With hopes of helping others deal with this horrible disease.


To My Friends,

I have lost the one I love, the one I cherish. My lover, my best friend, my whole life. Either you have stumbled across this because you want to find out how to help me, or I have given this to you.

How I am Feeling
• I am numb. I am in shock. I am emotionally exhausted.
• I am in pain. A horrible, gut-wrenching, intense, unimaginable, and indescribable pain.
• My mind is totally occupied with processing my loss. I am trying to understand what has happened. I am attempting to make sense of it all. I am trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.
• I can’t sleep. I want to sleep all day. I am physically exhausted.
• I can’t eat. I can’t stop eating.
• I can’t be bothered cooking. I can’t be bothered cleaning. I don’t want to go shopping.
• Everything is overwhelming. Small tasks are overwhelming. Small details are overwhelming. I just don’t want to know about it right now.
• Nothing sticks in my mind. I walk out the door without my keys. I forget what I was going to do. I forget everything except that my love has gone.
• I am going through tidal waves of emotion. One minute I might be laughing, the next I may be in tears.
• Sometimes I want to talk. Sometimes I need to be alone. Sometimes I need silent company. Sometimes I need all of these things in the space of 5 minutes.
• Some days I just want to curl up in bed and do nothing. Some days I will keep myself totally occupied in an attempt to escape.
• Sometimes I will be intense. Sometimes I will be irrational. Sometimes I will be snappy, and often I will be totally lost in myself.
• Often I may not have a clue as to what I want, but it only takes a moment for me to realize what I don’t want.
• I am hypersensitive and will often be offended by things you say to try and make me feel better.
• I want to wail. I want to scream. I want to cry. I want to just sit.
• I have no choice how I react. This is coming from deep inside me and intelligence and self control have no effect. It comes from the basal self.
• Sometimes it so hard for me to respond to phone calls or letters or emails, but I truly appreciate that you are doing it, so please don’t stop just because I don’t respond.
• I will not be fully-functional at work for a long time. In fact, I may never work with the same intensity again as my perspectives of what is important and what isn’t has been changed permanently.
• I still want to laugh. I need to laugh. I may suddenly go quiet mid-laugh, when hit by a sudden reminder, but I desperately need to continue to laugh.

Emotional Things You Can Do
• Let me talk about him. I want to talk about our love. I want to tell you how we met, our last days, and everything in between. I want to show you his picture, tell you how wonderful he was.
• Let me cry. Your acceptance that I need to cry and your permission to allow me to is one of the best gifts you can give me. Hand me a tissue, and do your best to sit quietly and let me cry.
• Once you have allowed me to open up or cry, please don’t change the subject or try to stop me. I know you feel uncomfortable that I am in pain. Don’t. Changing the subject, trying to stop me crying just makes me hold everything inside, and eats away at me.
• Tell me all your stories of when my love was sweet, courageous, rotten or funny. I need to hear everything about him. If you don’t know many, find out some from those who are too scared to approach me now.
• Let me try to tell you what is going on inside me. I won’t succeed, but I need to try.. You don’t have to do anything. Just allowing me to do it, and allowing me to feel what I need to feel means so much.
• It is really hard for me to tell other people about my loss. I’m working full time to deal with my emotions. Trying to deal with someone else’s reaction or discomfort is the last thing I need, so if someone needs to know it would be good if you could explain it to them.

What Not To Do
• Don’t tell me you understand how I feel, or that you can imagine the pain I am going through, unless you have lost the love of your life. Trust me, you can’t. If I can’t, and I am going through it, trust me, you can’t – your mind will just not let you voluntarily imagine this much pain.
•Don’t try to compare my loss to the loss of a parent, or a friend, or an acquaintance or pet, it’s not the same. I understand that all of these things are painful, but it is not the same.
• Don’t ask how I’m doing unless you really want to know. I am assuming that if you have asked, you won’t be offended by what I say in response.
• Don’t try to save me from my feelings or make me feel better. I know you can’t bear to see me in so much pain, but I need to go through all of these feelings whether I want to or not.
• Once you have “given me permission” to talk or cry, please don’t try and distract me with small talk. I know it makes you feel better if I appear happy, but my pain is ever-present and it makes me feel like you don’t care.
• Don’t tell me everything will be okay.
• Don’t tell me “he’s always with you”.
• Don’t tell me “he’s no longer in pain”.
• Don’t tell me “he’s looking down on you from heaven”.
• Don’t tell me “you’re lucky that you had such love, some people never do”.
• Don’t tell me “he’s in a better place”.
• Don’t be surprised however if I say these things to you …
• Don’t ever tell me “you must be strong”. If ever there’s a time I should be permitted to be weak, this is it. I am not strong. I’m just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don’t see me.
• Whatever you do don’t tell me “If I were you I’d….” Until you are in the same situation, you have absolutely no idea what you will do. Your logical brain has absolutely no control.
• Never try telling me “life goes on”, or “he wouldn’t want you to cry”, or “G-d will never give you more than you can handle” or any other meaningless platitudes.
• Don’t try to solve my “problem”. Unless you can bring him back, it can’t be “solved”.
• Don’t feel the need to fill in silences. I know the silences are hard for you, but if you can accept them, you are helping me immensely.
• Please don’t try and help me find “closure”, or tell me I need to find “closure”. Closure is an obscene word for me right now, just as  “moving on”/”move on” is.

One Month Mass

After much thought trying to pick a Church convenient for most, I finally made a decision.
It will be an English mass.

Tuesday, August 5th @ 7:30pm
Church of St. Clair of Assisi
150 St. Francis Avenue
Woodbridge, ON

(North West neighbourhood of Weston/Rutherford)

Tony’s Eulogy, read by a very dear friend of ours, Gerry.

Although this was written for my eyes only, I think he did a great job.  Often, if not most of the time, people would think that Gerry and Tony were brothers…..(looked very similar)  His courage to maintain his composure while he read this was amazing…….Gerry is, after all, one of Tony’s very good friend.  Tony’s passing has effected many as a son, husband, father, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, friend, customer, boss, neighbour or teammate.  And of course, cannot forget all the kids through Tony’s coaching days, we thought of as a second family to us.  
So, thank you Gerry for reading this at a very difficult time.

On behalf of everyone assembled here this day, I wanted to extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences, sympathies and prayers to the Gemmiti and LoCurto Families upon their tragic loss during this darkest time.
You must all attempt to help me through this tribute as I am unusually sentient this day.
Indeed, I usually canʼt watch the exploits of ʻTouched by an Angelʼ or my ʻQueenʼsʼ favorite, The ʻWaltonsʼwithout becoming misty, and often times weeping openly.
But this day is different!

Although, the ʻGood Lordʼ has dispatched his ʻAngelsʼ, to accompany our ʻFallen Brotherʼ and propel him towards his ʻHeavenly Kingdomʼ, albeit prematurely, this verbiage will celebrate my perspective on the Life and Legacy of an Extraordinary man, a man of more than ordinary mettle.
Antonio Gemmiti, inherently embodied everything a man aspires to become.
A proudly loving, respectful, and dutiful son and brother, ever reverent and watchful, attending to their every covet, crave, or desire.
A cherished and nurturing ever gracious Husband and Father, a hunter, purveyor, provider and protector for his precious family.
You would be hard pressed to find a man as amicably affable, approachable, and convivially cordial as Tony, communicative, chatty and continuously courteous, frank, civil, and obliging.
Never considered a loquacious, garrulous, rambling or longwinded conversationalist, Tony was a storyteller nonetheless, eloquently graceful, complimentary, tactful, and ever thoughtful, as many bore witness to firsthandedly this past week, as they shared their poignant remembrances and reminiscences and bade their saddened farewells within the hallowed halls of the venerable Mount Sinai Hospital.
Indeed, Tony, was bestowed with a genial spirit, an essence, a vitalness, a soulful myriad of mirth and merriment.
Blessed with a sunny disposition that would illuminate every environment that he embraced, he possessed a congenial humour, a pleasant jocularity, jesting and joshing, amusingly funny, and whimsically witty.
Inside the man, Tony possessed a civilized humanity, a benevolent, kindhearted spirit, always accommodating, compassionately gentile, and tenderly merciful.
His moral compass resonated with a cultivated, educated, and enlightened sense of dignity and integrity, a reverence for righteousness.
Indeed, a man of unparalleled distinction, dedicated, diligent, and deserving of Lifeʼs fullest amplitude.
A successful and entrepreneurial businessman in his own right, Tony was always the consummate professional, proficiently adept, masterly and skillful, ever generous, trusting, fair minded and loyal to his family, employees, and clientele.
ʼ
My ʻBrotherʼ, was an entertainer extraordinaire, the unmitigated and profoundly complete ʻHost of Hostsʼ, unbridled generosity, a benevolence bordering on philanthropy. altruistic, magnanimous, and bountiful.
It was through this wondrous fellowship of friendship that I was introduced unto his unprecedented character, his honest, integrous, quiet and gentle self.
Veritably, as a glutton of unprecedented proportion, my ʻBrotherʼ always fueled my foodie fantasies with superbly sumptuous delights, such as splendiferously succulent ʻspiducciʼ, pleasantly palatable ʻporchettaʼ,tasty, spicy and savoury, and at his belovedʼs fiftieth milestone Birthday Bash, a fatted ʻporkerʼ, roasted to the pink of perfection.
Fueled and aided by the odd liquid libation, at his favorite hideaway on the riverfront of the ʻNottaWasagaʼ, we enjoyed the unpretentious experiences of endless nights consumed with oftentimes meaningful, heartfelt, and passionate conversations.
Certainly, we both fervently believed in the power of intention, in truth, and reality, whereby every decision, strictly, truly, and verily, righteous or wrongly, has brought us to this very distinctive moment, indeed, an intention of the ʻDivineʼ.
As a seemingly ageless, yet semi-retired athlete, and unrepentant athletic supporter, Tony remained a diligently committed sportsfan, loving to engage, embody and embrace, counsel, ʻCoachʼ, and mentor his beloved ʻBolton Senior Baseball Teamʼ, remember and reminisce with his hockey ʻHooligansʼ, and celebrate the glorious grandeur and greatness of his golfing glory.
Indeed, Tony possessed a resilient, pliable, flexible, yet sturdy, strong, and secure strength of character and an unwavering personality.
Tony was courageous, patient, understanding, imperturbable Even whilst being ravished, tortured, and tormented with this incessantly disruptive disease.
His tenacity to persevere, to overcome, his will to win was indomitable.
Indeed, ʻThe Good Lordʼ has been present with him, step by step, during this arduously painful journey.
Witness his farewell ʻFeteʼ, accepting the acute awareness of his imminent plight, he chose to greet his kinship, brotherhood, and the fraternity of his fellowship with dignity, honour, and respectability, and remained courtly, majestic and noble, throughout, as he jested in his own words, in the participation and enjoyment of his own wake, whilst he was still awake!
Above all else, in my humble opinion, Tony, valued, loved, worshiped and adored his Family, his Mother and Father, his Sister Paola/Tony, his devoted in-laws Joseph/Fiorella , and their entire extended Families, his Twin Towers, Michael and Robert, but most of all his cherished Maria, his childhood sweetheart, his charmingly engaging, and enchantingly beautiful Matrimonial Bride and lovingly nourishing Mother of his beloved boys, his Soulmate!
Tony, we have delighted in your fondness, warmth, tenderness and attachment to life itself, your unfounded passion, devotion, and esprit du corpsʼ for all that you enlivened, engaged, animated or exhilarated.
We will surely miss the camaraderie with our crony, our chum, our companion and confrere, his warm and compassionate smile, and his sense of affection, attachment, and amicability.
But we will never disregard, dismiss, or dis remember our ʻBrotherʼ.
Rather, we will redeem, reclaim, and regenerate the recognition, retention, remembrance, recollection and remarkable retrospective that was and is Tony Gemmiti.
In closing, I firmly believe that the collective of our Prayers, sympathies, condolences and compassionately contemplative meditations and reflective thoughtfulness have not failed us. They have not been for naught, forgotten, nor abandoned. Indeed, as heralded, they have paved a passageway to a prepared place of prominence and priority for our fallen ʻBrotherʼ at the ʻBanquet Tableʼ of our ʻGood Lordʼ!!!