For Loretta,

The Girl with the Golden Curls

Our sweet Loretta. A gift you were from the day of your birth. An adventurous soul, abounding energy, a light in you that not even the darkest disease could quench.

You were the heart of our family in so many ways, from the love you gave, the laughter you ignited, the way you made us feel special, how you would give your undivided attention.

To be in your presence one felt like the most special person in the world. All because of you.

Loretta, or Retta as I called you when I was so young and you were a giant to me in every way possible, my big cousin, my leader, my protector.

Loretta, my childhood friend, the bearer of my secrets, the little girl who taught me to read while sitting on the stoop watching the rain, and journeyed with me on countless adventures of our imaginations.

Loretta, the girl with the golden curls, the biggest smile that could light the world, and eyes as deep as the ocean is blue. Your soul was magnetic, your life force powerful, to know you is to love you and boy was our family blessed.

You were a gem, a special gift that God gave us all, a lesson to learn every day we live that if Loretta can do it, so can we, even in your most fragile moments you were stronger than the strongest man on earth for in you there was life, love, joy, and encouragement for others.

Loretta, the adorable girl with the golden curls, the girl that was always up for fun, the cousin that seemed to know everything, the girl with the fight in her to do it all, and never give up, you were my first friend, my cousin, my sister, and life will never be the same knowing you’re not in this world..

Our hearts are shattered but life will move on, I know you’d want us to keep going because you were always up for the next fun thing in life but for a time we’ll feel the sting of your passing like a sudden shock to our systems, leaving us breathless.

But we know that you’re free… free from the broken body that was weak on earth, free from the pain, the suffering… we know you’re smiling, I can hear your laughter all the way down here, I see the light in your bluest eyes again, and I smile through tears knowing you’re the girl with the golden curls ready and able for the next adventure.

I will hang on to the memories from 59th Road, the Easter Aunt Connie made a ton of candy and you, John, and I ate so much I threw up over the porch, the endless summer days swimming in the pool, the time the earthquake knocked you out of your bed, the Halloween escapades, the hours of conversations, the time you visited with a bag of 30 tacos from Taco Bell, playing board games in your basement, hanging out in our yards, taking a walk up Flushing Ave. to get a slice of pizza… and countless others…

Loretta, I love you, our family loves you and to love you is to miss you and to miss you is to grieve you terribly for there never was nor will there ever be another Loretta Rossi… you, my amazing cousin were one-of-a-kind and we were so lucky to have you for the time that we did.

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