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Ti woman survives life's ups and downs

TICONDEROGA I could write a book about my life, said a smiling Pamela (Quesnel) DAttilio on her way back to her Black Point Road duties. The sinewy physique, tanned and ruddy complexion, hair made cozy beneath her knitted beanie and all of it topped off with a red hard hat are only topical clues to what this womans capabilities, sensibilities, responsibilities or vulnerabilities really are. Those outer, well-earned markings of anyone who works construction might be viewed as cliches, but not if times taken to look into startlingly bright eyes that come at you like locomotives on a mission. Those laughing orbs switch from humorous to serious, curious to omniscient, childlike delight to the deep vessels holding memories best forgotten. Always rising to the fore, however, are the positives that make those mirrors to a soul so worthy of mining for the big picture of a life. The stories that might help others to get over lifes hurdles before they solidify into insurmountable roadblocks. My Joey was only supposed to live 'til he was 7, but he was my angel from above and filled the void in my life when I needed it, said a mother whos son passed away just two years ago. Born on Aug. 29, 1982, hed have been called home by 1989 had the medical prediction been accurate. Joey chose when to stay, how to live his life to the fullest during those decades of restrictions and he also knew when it was time to leave. Although still a theory, one pooh-poohed by the drug company lobbyists in Washington, D.C., many, including DAttilio, believe that early childhood immunizations were the catalyst for her sons illness. Bronchial Obliterary Ends (chronic respiratory obstruction) isnt exactly self-explanatory, but know that it is fatal and for most of his life, Joseph Rolland DAttilio was accompanied by an oxygen tank. His attitude was a joy to his family, despite his affliction. He kept score at high school games and even got to play a bit of basketball while attending St. Marys School. His major love was the New York Giants and his mom still treasures the football signed by the entire team. Id like to sell it on E-Bay and give most of the money to the Make a Wish Foundation, she said. Her sentimental attachment isnt as strong as the desire to help others facing end of life issues. Being of French, Native American and Irish decent, DAttilio accepts her great spirituality and its evident in her everyday comings and goings. In her life, the pattern is that someone dies and then leaves obvious clues to one who will be the next to pass on. Thats all well and good for the ones who reunite in spirit, but the survivors still need to mourn. Those remaining can choose to heal in time or adopt a bitter woe is me attitude. DAttilio is a survivor. Believing in the continuum of souls, this woman experiences the elasticity of that thread that binds the departed to the yet unborn. My grandfather died a month before my heart-of-gold father, she recalled. After losing her beloved father as a teen, she admits to being in the dark and lost until I was blessed with my beautiful daughter, Carrie. I felt my soul go with her and shes my world. Another child, P.J.,was born. He was and is a joy and is the rock of our family. I feel P.J. was sent to be our protector. Yet it was sweet Joseph who was the reincarnation of DAttilios father. The red in Joeys hair was my proof of my dad. In her life, signs are all-important. The color red, above all others, seems to signal the divine preordination of events as much as it proves rebirth of departed loved ones. The morning Joey passed away there was a red rainbow over his car. The clouds looked like a race track, which he loved so much...his fast cars... A squirrel came up and sat on my porch that morning. All summer, I kept seeing a hummingbird, she said. The hummingbird was a favored bird of Grandma Libby. Joey loved her so much and he went downhill when she passed away, D'Attilio said. Was this another signal for a dying young man? DAttilio has no doubts. Two days before his death, Joey saw his mother trying to wipe something off the floor. What are you doing? he asked. I spilled bleach on the floor, came the answer. Its the sun, Joey exclaimed. D'Attilio snapped back to the present and, with that great smile, said, It was shining through the blinds in the shape of a half-moon. So, every day, when the sun shines, I see dad and Joeys beautiful smiles. My uncle Bruce died, just before my Joey, to help him find his way and my son couldnt be in better hands to show him the way. I know in my heart Joey was tired and ready to go home to rest. Hed not have to fight to breath anymore. My son was not afraid to go to Heaven. Thats all he talked about the last couple of weeks before...My best friend and baby was taken in body but not in soul. He is with me every day in the memories of everything I do and every little child I see; the laughs, tears and fears, love, hugs and outspokenness of all little ones. Other coping mechanisms include loving her two remaining children, P.J. and Carrie. All of my children were there for each other, talking with and teaching each other the love of life. P.J. and Carrie, going through Joeys sickness and death, seeing me working hard, and having to go without because of all the doctor and hospital bills wasnt easy. All this made them turn out to be the best children a mother could ask for. Theyre loving and help everyone and every thing. Her better half, Teddy, is a constant. The continuum of life came Feb. 14 , 2008, with the birth of her granddaughter, Haley. I work very hard and love being outside. I love the guys I work with and the fresh air, she said. Having great memories of her dad, cousins, aunts and uncles sharing the work that only farming offers explains why laboring for AP Reale season after season is so fulfilling. Reliving the satisfaction gleaned from those long days of riding bareback, haying, driving tractors, milking cows, the camaraderie that only a sense of accomplishment can bring, is helping her through the inevitable sad times. I only took three days off after Joey died. I just had to work to pass the time, she said.

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