My dad passed away peacefully not long past midnight, the 9th of February. He’d had a rough few weeks, but we all got to spend some time with him that night, my mom, my sister, and Seth and me. We each got to kiss him goodnight, we each got to say I love you, and he told us he loved us and he thanked us. “Thank you,” the words most constant on his lips lately, and I realize that this is one of many things I’ve learnt from my father. Three hours later, while he was sleeping, his heart stopped beating, and so he left this world.
Up until this afternoon, it never crossed my mind to share this news with you here. But there was an event at work today––one of many through the year that my mom and dad and sister have often participated in. Even a few days ago, Dad talked about going to this one today. And today’s was a big one. I had set too many wheels in motion and I couldn’t not be there, I couldn’t leave all the tasks to my coworkers. And to my surprise, my mom and my sister decided they wanted to be there, too. And this was good. We three were together, and we saw so many people we know, and we spent the day crying a bit, but mostly laughing and telling stories. And eating. The coffee was good, and there were doughnuts, really good ones. And this is what we do, after all, in my family: we laugh, we cry, we talk, and very often the coffee pot accompanies this. This is why there are easily over a dozen percolators and coffee pots in my mom’s kitchen, and almost as many in mine.
I spoke with so many people today who are Convivio Book of Days readers. We spoke about my dad. I realized we are family, too, you and me. (My great grandparents, Raffaele and Maria, welcome all of you at our ABOUT page: How can we not be family?) It became apparent that I had to tell you. And so I will: Dad entered this world in peace and he left it in peace, and who can ask for more than this; this and the blessing of love and understanding at home. Home and family were everything to him, the greatest riches, and he had these things abundantly. We miss him and we will miss him always. But rest assured there will be stories. Dad loved to tell his stories, and always he told them as if it was the first time anyone had ever heard them. That used to bug me sometimes, back when I was less appreciative. But as we all grew older, I loved that about him, that he could be excited about old old stories and tell them over and over again with fresh enthusiasm each time. And now I guess it’s up to me to make sure you hear them. I’m sure you will, if you keep reading: I won’t be able to stop myself from telling them, especially if you put the coffee on.
And so we keep the embers burning, we keep the wheel of the year turning, we keep the ones we love always at our side. We celebrate together. No matter what.
Angelo John Cutrone
May 18, 1926 – February 9, 2017
The photo above is by Charles Pratt. It was taken on my wedding day. You’re stuck with us, I guess: My sister, me, Seth, my mom, and my dad… and all the ones who came before us.