Within the past weeks, my family had to say good-bye to a very dear loved one, my grandmother. She went to be with Jesus almost two weeks ago and I now envision her walking along streets of gold every morning and having the most delicious cup of teas every afternoon while chatting with her friends and family that went before her. She lived to be 93 and her life was characterized by a humble heart and a deep faith in God that never seemed to waiver. In fact, I’m convinced that her constant daily prayers for me and my life helped shaped who I am today.
Grandma was a World War II Army nurse too. She often gave speeches about her experiences in North Africa and Anzio Beach, Italy during the most brutal battles of the war (see her interview on Youtube here). I loved listening to her stories. My favorite story is the one about the “Red Bathing Suit.” When my grandma was in Italy, she was stationed right on the Mediterranean Sea. Being so close to water, she wanted to get a bathing suit. My Grandfather had already returned to Brooklyn from the war so Grandma wrote to him asking if he would buy and send her a bathing suit. Granddad had one of his female friends help pick out the perfect bathing suit, a colorful red one and sent it all the way to Italy. Once Grandma received it, she had a friend take some photos of her in it to send back home. At the time, the X-ray technicians who worked at the same hospital Grandma did developed all the film. Little did Grandma know that the technicians took the liberty of developing multiple copies of her in her red bathing suit and distributed them among the other service men! She was an instant hit among all the soldiers and doctors!
Photographs tell stories. Now that Grandma has graduated to Heaven, every image I find of her is precious to me and reminds me of the many stories she once shared and of the good times we were blessed to have together. These photographs help me celebrate the life that she lived and remember the legacy she has left.
Grandma’s Army Nurse Portrait & The infamous Red Bathing Suit (please excuse the quality…after all, these images were taken over 70 years ago!)
My mother, myself and Grandma at my wedding on October 24th, 2010. Even though she was 90 at the time, she still traveled all the way from Ohio to Virginia to celebrate with me <3
Photographed by: Kim Waticonis
Grandma at the Toledo Zoo in Ohio. These are actually the last photographs I took of Grandma. I took my son up to Ohio to visit 6 months ago and I’m so grateful for that time we had with her. And as you can clearly tell, Aiden was all over the zoo! If you have a toddler, you know how hard it is to get them to sit still for a photo! At least there is one of them together!
Hug your loved ones tonight & cherish every moment you have with them.