God bless the life of Gina Ruocco—sister, mother, daughter & grandmother.
God bless the husband of 60 years, and the life and the family, both nuclear and extended that lived in the home. God bless the love between that extended so wide.
God bless the twin brother and sister who shared in so many memories, gave and received so much love, and demonstrated mutual loyalty & support & care & respect despite the very different paths they took. God bless the sister who remains, the sister who mothers a city—who learned mothering, at least in part, from her.
God bless the brother in law who went before her and gave her so much agita and loved her deeply.
God bless the friend turned sister-in-law who died too young and asked her to mother her child. I would not know her as grandma if she didn’t.
God bless the families that came from her four children — those children of 179 West Water Street, Little Italy, who threw tomatoes, stole candy, randsacked a cop car’s megaphone, and always behaved in class when the nuns were present. Who grew up to be loving and loved by their families and communities.
God bless the home built after the flood that never knew a day without her, because she oversaw its construction by her husband.
God bless the overgrown arborvitae trees that she loved and stared at from the outdoor porch. The outdoor rugs, the clothes line and the giant fountain.
God bless the grandchildren, who made her proud and made her laugh, and gave her such joy.
God bless the great grand children who got their cheeks pinched and may never fully know the glory of her cooking and her sassing and her giant smile.
God bless the grandchild who lived with her, took care of her, asked her questions to counteract her worry, and who, even in the third decade of his life, knew to be home at curfew. And knew not to touch the decor.
God bless every person who ever ate her cooking. And any who tried to get her to teach them how to replicate her recipes—a pinch there, a cup (not a measuring cup!) here, a handful of this.
God bless her caregivers. And the pizzeria staff who reached and drove and retrieved and received such endearing nicknames.
God bless HomeGoods—maybe.
God bless the life of the woman I was named after who often reminded me that even after she passed, “there will always be a Gina around.” God bless the fact that DNA isn’t the only way to be family.
God bless Gina Cecelia — known affectionately by her siblings as Jean, by her children as Mom, and by the generations that followed as Meema.