Memorial & Cocktails

Yesterday we held a memorial in honor of my mom, Anita Toscano. Well over 500 people jammed into the pub and restaurant that my parents owned for over 32 years and sold two years ago right before my mother was diagnosed with cancer.

She did not want a wake, funeral or burial. Rather she chose to be cremated. She knew we needed something to say good-bye, so she said we could have a memorial service. Most who attended did not know what to expect. No church, no dour ceremony, no ritual. (In fact, it was so packed that the priest could not elbow his way into the dinning room.) We simply gathered and shared stories, memories, and lessons learned.

Then we ate and drank like my mother would want us to do–for hours! The party spilled out onto the street and to the house across the street. Sure we cried some, (okay a lot) but we laughed much more.

One family friend who used to work in the restaurant said she imagines my mom finally relaxing ordering the celestial staff around. The angels don’t know what hit them.

Thank you for all your kind words, thoughts and prayers. I felt very much supported through this time. I am doing well, getting ready to fly to London tomorrow for three weeks in the UK, Denmark and Sweden.

Below are photos of my mom from when she was age 16 until a few weeks before she died. She has beautiful soulful eyes and a mischiveous smile.

This post has 8 Comments

  1. Tina on September 11, 2006 at 10:06 pm Reply

    Lovely photos, P. I’m so glad your family (and 500 close friends) could gather in a place to give your mom a nice sendoff. Sounds like she would have loved it.

    oh my but you look like your father!

    Hugs, P. See you when you get back home.

  2. Srina on September 12, 2006 at 12:11 am Reply

    hey, you. been thinking of you and fielding lots of questions about how you are from folks at the wat, who all want to reach out to you.

    for my part, i miss you tons and just hope, as usual, that you are taking care of yourself. be in touch when you can, and travel safe.

  3. Anonymous on September 12, 2006 at 12:17 am Reply

    Peterson, I love that “party as funeral” idea. I went to something kind of like that once, for a guy my age I knew who had been active in the local music scene. It was held in a bar, with lots of live music, beer, munchies, dancing, and even a raffle!

    Thinking of you!

    Tom D.

  4. Tonya on September 12, 2006 at 2:24 pm Reply

    I love this post and the life in photos. Beautiful Peterson. I bet I’d have loved your mom. Sounds like my kind of woman.

  5. Peterson Toscano on September 12, 2006 at 3:04 pm Reply

    Tonya, you and my mother would have done some damage together!

  6. Joe Guada on September 12, 2006 at 6:56 pm Reply

    Bellissima!

  7. Steve Boese on September 14, 2006 at 3:42 am Reply

    A recurring experience since my grandma died in ’99: Wanting to give friends a sense of her, yet an utter loss of words which would do justice to my experience of her.

    Her grace…

    Graciousness
    which welcomed everyone
    laced richly
    with humor.

    Gentle
    as a
    butter
    knife.

    Yet slicing
    to the bone
    of truth

    And then
    ambling
    gently
    away.

    Momentarily
    I forget
    that
    they
    will not
    run into her
    at a coffee shop
    and tell me later
    of her grace
    and her
    gracious
    welcome.

    Gazing
    into Anita’s face
    those amazing eyes
    for a moment
    I forgot
    that
    I
    would not
    run into her
    in a coffee shop
    at some random moment
    and tell you
    the story
    later.

  8. Liz Opp on September 17, 2006 at 8:47 pm Reply

    Now that’s what I call a wedding dress! Wow.

    Sounds like you are making your peace… or maybe you already have.

    You remain in my thoughts.

    Blessings,
    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Leave a Comment