~By Greg Zangari
On October 18th I got a call from my sister Maria. She told me that our Mom was in ICU, in an induced coma, on a respirator. Wendy and I immediately rushed to the hospital and my sister told us the string of events that landed Mom in ICU. The bottom line was that they were using therapeutic hypothermia, in other words cooling down her body as a pre-surgical prevention of stroke or ischemia (reduced blood flow in the blood vessels feeding major organs, specifically the heart) as they needed to put in a pacemaker to make sure her heart kept beating correctly. In the interim, they had to put in a pacemaker wire via an IV line in order to keep her heart rhythm at a normal rate.
When they picked up Mom by ambulance her heart was only beating at 30 beats per minute. After 24 hours of therapeutic hypothermia, they were going to raise her body temp back up to normal and do an electroencephalograph (EEG) to check brain function, since she coded twice after being admitted from the ER. I found out that during one of those episodes, her heart had stopped for 6 minutes. When I heard that I knew there wasn’t too much hope. Hours seemed like days, waiting for those EEG results.
For about 15 years after Dad died in 1994, I tried to call Mom every day, because I knew how lonely she was without my dad. My parents had this rare, magical kind of love that you don’t see a lot in people who have been married for a long time. Even when I worked and lived in the UK for 15 months, I still tried to call her frequently. Over the past few years, things changed dramatically for my life, due to my failed spinal surgeries and now being categorized as “permanently disabled”. Dealing with this was even harder for me as I had not talked to my mom since this past February.
I’m not going to go into the issues, let’s just say that we are both very stubborn, we look at life in much different ways and we are very much alike at the same time. Considering our birthdays are almost exactly 6 months apart (She was a February 2nd Aquarius and I am an August 3rd Leo!), one would think we were not that similar. However, sometimes it is more about nurture than nature I suppose. As you could imagine, I started having regrets immediately and the first thing I wanted to do was be pissed at myself for wasting time. Never did I think my mom would die at only 80 years old! Her mother died at 96 and her mother’s sister lived to 102! Mom didn’t look 80 at all as you can see in her picture above, which was taken on October 12th, just one week before she passed.
I was so excited that I was able to get out of bed after 4 years, thanks to some great holistic supplements that I started in March as well as looking out the window and seeing my wife starting a garden. Wendy’s guidance with the supplements, which really built up my strength and alleviated some of my pain, as well as the inspiration she gave me to get out of bed and see if I could help her create an organic vegetable garden, changed my life dramatically. Mom would have been over the moon happy if she knew. I thought about showing up on her doorstep one day, freshly grown vegetables in tow, saying “Let’s end this nonsense.” however I was too stubborn and held too much contempt inside to do so. I could have held on to these regrets for the rest of my life, always doubting if I made the right decision. But then I have the fortune of having this partner and angel named Wendy.
The night I first went to the hospital on the 18th, I went up alone as Wendy went to go park the car, she waited in the lobby. So she’s sitting in the lobby and hears “Wendy? Wendy?” She looked around but didn’t see anyone calling her name then she recognized the voice. It was Mom. She said, “Wendy, I think I’m lost, I can’t find my room.” While Wendy replied, “Mom, you are on the 4th floor in ICU, what are you doing down here?” Mom exclaimed, “I was looking for everyone and no one was there that I knew”. At this point I was in my mom’s room in the ICU and my sister and her boyfriend had gone out for a bit to get some air. Wendy told Mom that she needs to go to Dad to continue their love together on the other side of the veil and that mom should go to the white light if she felt that this is what she desired. Mom proceeded to tell Wendy that she had no affinity or emotional attachment to her body but that she couldn’t go to dad because she was still attached to her body, physically, with something that looked like an umbilical cord. Mom then went upstairs to spend time with me and my sister as she had just gotten back from taking a break.
Wendy “knew” my Dad and my Mom’s parents were also there, but not saying anything. Mom had to make the decision to part on her own. During the time I had not been speaking with Mom, she had been hospitalized for a few brief stay procedures and my sister had discussed the importance of a Living Will with Mom so she had one in place. The results of the EEG were in and the neurologist said it looked like she still had some brain stem function and could keep breathing for a while. They turned off the machines one by one. She was breathing, albeit labored, after they removed the breathing tube. However, the second they took off the pacemaker her heart rate went from 80 to 0 in a split second she was gone and I’m so grateful she didn’t have to live on a machine, or suffer. That in itself was a blessing.
Apparently it was quite a reunion. My mom in her wedding dress and dad in his tux and they were dancing. So many relatives that had passed were with them. Wendy’s parents were there as well, turns out we’re all part of the same Soul Family. I figured as much. If you haven’t read about our Soul Families and our Soul Plans, you can learn about them here. Once things quieted down, it was time for a discussion with Mom. We needed to talk about the things that kept us apart. Thanks to some miscommunication and a whole boatload of stubbornness, we kept ourselves from each other due to our own pride. What a foolish thing to do. It was there to teach me a lesson and as most life lessons go, we learn them the hard way. The other part that made Mom’s death a little easier for me is absolutely knowing and having no doubt, that we (our Souls) continue to live after our physical body dies. Remember, we’re an immortal Soul living in a body, not a Body that has a soul inside. This thing most people call a “body” is nothing more than a fleshy spacesuit that our Soul wears in order to experience the duality of life on Earth. Capice?
Mom was Roman Catholic and her desire was to be cremated and not have the typical viewing. Mom said, “If people didn’t come see me while I’m alive, why should they get to see me after I’m dead?” I’m right there with you, Mom and I feel the same way. So instead of the usual, Mom’s ashes were brought to her church and a Memorial Mass was held in her honor this past Saturday, October 27th. To me, the service was very impersonal, an “insert name of deceased person here” type of ceremony. We found out we were not allowed to give a eulogy. We found out that anyone that wanted to do a reading from the New Testament or other document, was not allowed to unless they were practicing Catholics. So that meant neither her son, daughter or godchildren could talk about her or do a reading as we weren’t part of the “Vatican Gang”. Out of respect for Mom, I won’t go into it here but the nerve of that “church”!
After the church service, we had a luncheon in Mom’s honor where we had lots of pictures on display, including wedding photos from 1956. My sister’s boyfriend, John and his mother made two amazing, poster-sized collages of Mom with various family members (thanks John and Mrs. Hillman!!). Once everyone was at the restaurant and seated, my sister gave the most amazing eulogy. It was as if I wrote it myself. I was so proud of her and what she had to say about Mom and our family. I’ll never forget it. I hope to post it here once I get it from her and transcribe it. The feeling of family was palpable and it was so nice to see family and friends that I haven’t seen for years, gathered around out of respect for Mom.
How come once you get our age the only time we actually make time to see family is when someone dies? What’s wrong with that picture, we all used to be so close when we were young. When we have kids, we have decided that we’re bringing back the big Sunday Family Dinners. Now that I have my maternal grandmothers ancient pasta machine, it’s the return of “home-mades” on Sundays! I can still hear Mom and Grandmom saying, “Put the water on!”
Last night Maria, John, Wendy and I were finishing clearing out Mom’s apartment. I was looking around at the empty rooms and thinking about not only when my mom lived there but my dad as well. When Wendy’s mom died in 2008 she said, “I have no “home” to go to any longer. Both parents are gone and I feel so alone”. I never really knew how she felt until those words rang true for me over the past couple of weeks. Walking out of Mom’s apartment for the very last time made all of those feelings come to the surface.
Unless you’ve experienced the loss of both of your parents you may not be able to relate to this statement at all. However, if and when you do, try to remember the good times. Try to feel the residual energy of them still left in not only that space they called “home” but in their possessions and pictures. Much of their legacy is still with us in those materials things as well as in all of the wonderful life lessons they taught us. Remember, their physical bodies may be gone, but they are still alive, they are with us each time we think or speak of them. They will guide and protect us until the day when we all meet again on the other side, in celebration of our “life”.
Below I’ve posted a copy of Mom’s online obituary, some photos, as well as links to her Legacy.com and Facebook “My Memorial” pages. I miss your face mom and I miss your hugs. I do feel so fortunate to still be able to “talk” with you on the other side. I still feel the connection to her, but I will miss her hugs. I love you Mom. I’m so glad you and Dad are back together again!
Martha M. (Tridente) Zangari, 80 Of Boothwyn, PA Martha M. (Tridente) Zangari, 80, entered into rest on October 19, 2012.
Beloved wife of the late Jerry F. Zangari. Raised in Marcus Hook, PA,”Marty” was a dear daughter of the late Domenic and Maria Tridente; sister to the late Domenic Tridente and Angelo Tridente. Marty was a 1950 graduate of Eddystone High School. Her focus was her family, which meant everything to her. She lived in Aston, PA for 20 years before moving to Boothwyn, PA. In 1984, Marty moved with her husband and daughter to Port Richey, FL before returning to PA with her family in 1989.
Marty loved being involved with her children’s school activities and you could always smell something incredible coming from the kitchen. Marty will be dearly missed by all. Survivors: She was a devoted mother and is survived by her children Greg and his wife Wendy Zangari and Maria Zangari-Treesh and her partner John Hillman; sister to Joseph Tridente, and Lydia Hennelly; also her sisters-in-law Gloria Tridente and Fran Tridente; as well as many nieces, nephews, godchildren and “grandcats”.
Memorial Mass will be held at Holy Saviour Church, 108 E. Ridge Rd., Linwood, PA at 10 AM on Saturday October 27th. Contributions: The family requests donations to the American Heart Association or the American Stroke Association , in lieu of flowers.
Online Condolences: www.carrfuneralhome.net
Legacy.com Tribute Site: http://www.legacy.com/guestbooks/delcotimes/guestbook.aspx?n=martha-zangari&pid=160615710&cid=full
Facebook My Memorials Site: https://apps.facebook.com/my-memorials/wall.aspx?fbfid=0&pid=160615710
A Tribute to Marty Zangari in Pictures
© 2012, shiftingtimesarehere. ™ Wendy & Greg Zangari, All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute these articles on the condition that the content remains complete and in tact, full credit is given to the author(s), and that it is distributed freely.