Giuseppa Briguglio in Fabio: March 5, 1934 to March 14, 2013
That's my mother on the far right fixing her glasses in her childhood home of my grandparents. She was so healthy and happy back then, surrounded by her family in Sicily. I took this photo a long time ago, shortly after I began the documentation of our little village. This is the celebration of my Zia (aunt) Anna's birthday on August 27th. To me, this is the epitome of what our family is all about. There is so much life in this room and so much food! This is what it is like to be in our large Sicilian family.
I took this photograph from the middle of the room. There are an additional eight more people behind me sitting at another table filled with food and drinks. Everyone in this room is related to someone else. Sadly, since this was taken, six people in the room have departed this life. My mother being the latest.
As children we were spoiled with the delicious food mom made: Lasagna, spidini, sausage with potatoes, cannoli, stellette, and all those jello molds!!!!! During holiday’s we would spend hours at the dining room table talking and eating, talking and then eating some more. We only left the table to wash dishes and then went back to eating. It is your typical Italian feast! When Mom stopped cooking a couple years ago I cried.
My favorite memories are and will always be the times we canned tomatoes together. The month of September was the Mom and Dad month. From sun up to sun down we were in the basement talking. To this day I can bushels of tomatoes because of her, and every time I make pasta and meatballs with my jars of pomodori, "apples of gold", my children rejoice.
Mamma became an American citizen in the 60's and changed her name to Josephine. She insisted that everyone call her "Pina" and everyone did. My mom was a wonderful kind person who loved people. These last few years have been difficult for her physically and mentally. But despite this she always had a smile on her face, and she would call everyone her “favorite.” She had lots of favorites!!!!
Dementia changed the mom I knew as a child, but it thankfully it left all the good parts. She loved her grandchildren, and us, dearly. Her classic line was, “I’ll never forget that I raised Kyle and Mark. Never in my life!.” All four grandchildren were very lucky that she was able to spend so much time with them, and they have their own humorous stories to tell about when they spent the night at Nonna and Nonno’s.
Even though she lived more than ¾ of her life here in America she still spoke sentences in 1/3rd Italian, 1/3rd Sicilian and 1/3rd English. Our poor husbands were always asking for translations. Thankfully, she taught me to speak fluent Italian, before she learned to speak English. Makes going to visit relatives a lot easier!
In closing I would like to say that my mom gave us life, and plenty of love. Her kindness and generosity made us who we are. In the last several years we spent plenty of time with her, when she needed us most, and I know how much she loved and appreciated us. Her last words to us were, "I love you."
I love you too. Mamma you will be missed!
The photo on the right was taken one month before Mamma passed and the one on the bottom is the very last image I took of her with my daughter on Sunday, March 10th.
Copyrighted images taken with Nikon D800 and Nikon D2XS. Family photo below was taken when my Mom was about 12.
Detroit People & Commercial Photographer