OF BLESSINGS, BASEBALL, AUNTIE NANCY, OWEN AND DANCING IN THE RAIN…..

This is a deeply personal story. I offer it here because each of us is a deeply personal story unto ourselves. It is my hope that my story can touch you and your story.

scan0113

This is Nancy Cappellini. Nancy is my “baby” sister. The youngest of four children of Remo and Mary Sinibaldi.

This is Remo and Mary Sinibaldi when Mary was known as Mary Kelly.

And this is Mary and Remo with their four cherubs shortly after moving into their new home in Weymouth Massachusetts.

Nancy married Steven, her childhood sweetheart, and they raised a family of four beautiful children; two boys and two girls. They weathered the storms that life delivers us all and all that did was teach Nancy how to dance in the rain. Along the way she completed her required degrees and became first, the children’s librarian, and then its director in Hanson Massachusetts. Steve owned and operated a body shop and the Cappellinis became known to most in this small town of 10,000 people.

This is Steve and Nancy, with Lauren and their son Scott, on the day of their wedding. It was October 1, 2016, Nancy’s 62nd birthday.

The Cappellini household became the sun in the solar system of their extended families. It was here where family gathered during summer for Fourth of July bonfires (yikes), where Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were held. Kids were everywhere and it was home to not only family but anyone and everyone who needed a kind word, an ear, a place to be valued, a place to be loved, and of course, something to eat! Nancy became mother to many more than just her four.

She is a precious vessel of light, …and she is ours!

A week before Christmas, Nancy succumbed to the ravages of cancer after a two year gallant, heroic battle. And while fighting this battle she brought out the best in those whom she touched. She was the source of energy and strength, she was the encourager, she was the teacher; and through it all her ultimate lesson was the true meaning of the greatest of life’s gifts, love.

I had the honor of sharing her last day with her. A dear friend wrote me and said, “Be ever so present right now. This is part of our journey on this earth and it is sad but also miraculous if we allow that level of understanding and insight.” I was present and during that day I got to watch the manifestation of the love her husband and children shared with and for her. It was a love which sprung from the depths of a divine humanity and it glimmered with a palpability that brought its own breath. It is a love that could only proliferate even in her passing. We all were literally uplifted in its presence.

And it could be no other way. For as she said to her son a mere hours before she passed, “Our connection is pure love.” Twas always thus, and thus shall always be.

This is Margeaux and Brian.

Margeaux is Nancy’s niece and one of those to whom Nancy was a mother. Brian is the daddy to that treasure they are holding together. That little treasure is a baby boy named Owen and this is about one month before his due date of January 3rd, 2017

Margeaux had a very special relationship with her Auntie Nancy and in her “condition” she was deemed “unable” to travel the 1500 miles to attend her services. This was found to be unacceptable.

“Our connection is pure love.”

Her and Brian boarded a plane and made the 1500 mile flight, to say goodbye to her Auntie Nancy and to be with us all. We laughed, we cried, we held on to each other and through a rain, the likes of which we have never known…we danced.

And we watched the love that was Nancy uplift thousands of people. We saw it in the people who stood in an hour long line to simply stop and pay their respects. We saw it in a full church who came to pray and listen to those who loved her so, tell of her unconquerable spirit and undying love. And we were touched by it from a community’s outpouring of kindness, love and support.

This is Kristi and that’s Margeaux behind her wearing glasses.

Kristi and Margeaux have been pals since they were little kids splashing in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean on Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet MA. Kristi’s birthday is December 30th. When Margeaux got the word that her due date was January 3rd, she said to me, “this baby is going to be born on Kristi’s birthday.”

On December 23rd, the day after Auntie Nancy’s funeral, Brian and Margeaux flew home to Florida. We communicated daily and late in the evening of December 29th, I received the following message. ” I think my water just broke.”

Owen Raymond Imperiale arrived at 3:57 am on December 30, 2016. Happy Birthday Kristi.

It is said that the hour between 3 and 4 am is the hour when the curtain between the spiritual world and those of us fumbling around here on earth is at it’s thinnest. Auntie Nancy was, in Margeaux’s words, “everywhere.”

“Our connection is pure love.”

                                                                       Owen

Little Owen is a happy little fellow who has no idea the special position he holds in our family. But he will come to understand and know all about the love that is his great Auntie Nancy. How could he not?

“Our connection is pure love.”

French philosopher and Poet Alphonse de Lamartine once wrote, “Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can, and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys.”

A wise man that Monsieur de Lamartine. For in leaving us far too soon, the vessel of light and love that was and continues to be Nancy; has presented those of us left behind with a precious gift. The opportunity to grab onto those words and live them.

“Our connection is pure love.”

When we lose those we love, we honor them by how we live our lives. We are infused with the responsibility to carry on for them. I must say that I have found Nancy sitting on my shoulder quite a bit these past few months as she refuses to let me be anything less but the best I can be, and when I’m not, I seem to hear about it. Frankly, sometimes she’s a pain in the ass, but I was a pain in the ass to her on more than one occasion so I smile as she works on me.

I believe I have been in love with baseball since my birth. I’m not sure how, maybe I heard dad grousing about the Braves leaving Boston while I was in utero, but I cannot remember not loving baseball. The Red Sox will be opening the season in a couple of weeks and as much as I love the Sox, I must confess my true love for this game comes from hanging with these guys at the Venice High School Baseball Field.

                                          The 2017 Venice High School Baseball Team.

The difference between these guys and the Sox, is that with these young men I have the opportunity to build relationships. And I get to do that with a group of men I admire, respect and with whom I have come to form a brotherhood that extends far beyond the baseball field. They, like my sister, demand my best.

I have known Nancy’s husband Steve since we were in high school together. We have shared many times, happy times and sad times, smooth times and troubled times. However, the “grief that has knitted our two hearts together” has formed a closer bond than we have ever shared. And baseball, specifically Venice High Baseball, has played a part. A link on the chain of that bond formed by simply sharing the dugout during a high school baseball game.

“Our connection is pure love.”

Steve and I in the dugout at Bishop Verot High School in Ft. Myers Florida on Steve’s recent visit.

Baseball will be a part of Owen’s world in some form or another and he has already smelled the grass while his brothers Drew and Seany scurried about.

There is a trendy saying now a days that talks about “moving on.” Nancy has left us, and the hole in our collective hearts in her absence is, at times unfathomable. However, moving on is not the answer, for what fool would move on from the love and light she brought to our lives? Who, in their right mind, would eschew the opportunity to strengthen the “bond of two hearts knitted in grief?”

                                  Some of the “hearts knitted together in grief.”

Who would run from “our connection of pure love.”?

No, moving on is not the answer, moving with is more like it. Moving with a greater understanding of the gift of love. Moving  with a more profound sense of urgency to relish every single moment. Moving with an increased capacity to give and receive love. Moving with a renewed desire to be the very best one can be and moving with the desire to share all of that with those we love.

Life is a miracle, so indeed is death. They are inexorably linked in this mortal journey we all travel. There is opportunities presented to us in the death of one we love however one must be open to it. I am fortunate that my sister would demand nothing less from all of us left behind, other than embracing that opportunity to grow.

“Our connection is pure love.”

There are some who will simply not understand it. There are some who will shrink in fear of it. There are some who will understand it, feel it and maybe even want it but convince themselves otherwise and thus squander the opportunity. Saddest of all will be those who understand it, know it, feel it, want it and believe they are unworthy of it. Thus they will watch it simply pass them by.

As for me, I will effort to not squander a single moment and heed the words of my dear friend whom I love, “this is part of our journey on this earth and it is sad but also miraculous if we allow that level of understanding and insight.” I will effort to take every opportunity to pass my sisters light on to all I encounter and especially they whom I love. Tis a tall order she has left me but she will be with me to remind me when I’ve slipped.

Let it in…Don’t ignore the miracle… and…Dance in the rain.

The following occurs to me as I finish: it is March 18th and Nancy left us three months ago today, tomorrow marks the 32nd year of my mothers passing at the age of 62 and I am sitting on Nan’s couch in the very spot she sat when we last chatted in this place.

“Our connection is pure love.”

                               And so it is on this day, March 18, 2017.

 

 

Advertisements

About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
This entry was posted in Baseball and Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to OF BLESSINGS, BASEBALL, AUNTIE NANCY, OWEN AND DANCING IN THE RAIN…..

  1. Jill Pallad says:

    So beautiful Ray. I’m typing through my tears. Can’t wait to give you a hug! We arrive today ❤

    Jill Arnold Pallad 917-459-2317 cell http://www.jillarnoldpallad.com

    >

  2. Theresa Sylvain says:

    Beautiful Ray! Nancy was a ray of sunshine!. I remember her beautiful smile, She touched so many lives! She lives on in all of you!

  3. Cathy Crow says:

    Ray, What a beautiful tribute to your sister and family. I regret that we, as family, did not get to visit through the years. It would have been wonderful for my son to have known his cousins. Your wonderful words in this writing are an inspiration to us all. Best to you all Cathy Crow

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s