Thursday, July 30, 2009

ON A PERSONAL NOTE, I need to mention my dear friend Peg Loiacono who died last night of cancer at the age of 76. I first met Peg when the Sizzler I worked at closed down and I transferred to the nearest one. As usual my shyness was a barrier to making new friends but Peg somehow knew how to draw me out with her sense of humour and easygoing nature. Peg could size up people pretty fast and she must've somehow seen through my normal miserable bastard facade. Soon, not only were we good friends but also she became like a second mother to me. Peg was the traditional Italian mother who would welcome ANYONE into her home and immediately try to feed them. Within five minutes of entering her front door, you felt like you were family. That's the kind of person she was; she was a giver. Peg had gone through a lot in her life: she lost her husband to cancer 25 years ago and, in 2000, her son Richard was killed in Colorado. The last decade has also seen the death of a brother and two sisters. The loss of her son shattered her but she still managed to go on.
On top of all this, Peg was also a lot of fun and a million laughs. I have to say that, for those of you who never met Peg -- you was robbed! She was a soul worth knowing. Every visit was punctuated with laughter. Even at her age, Peg always seemed young. One of her favourite songs was Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" and she loved to dance around the living room when we played one of the mix cds I had made for her. Peg was always joking and laughing -- and boy, she could curse like a sailor which would send the whole room roaring with laughter. Every time I would drive up to her house, I would sit down at her kitchen table and we'd talk over a cup of coffee while she would usually be making a big pot of homemade sauce. I can't even begin to estimate how many movies we watched. "What've we got today", she would ask as I'd plop down a bag full of videos and, later, dvds. Or how many card games of rummy or "Spite and Malice" did we play . . . everytime she'd lose she'd always call me a "cheatin' bastard" while she laughed. It's the laughter that I'll remember most. We did so much laughing over the years.
It was only a couple months ago when she discovered she had cancer and her daughter Donna (who had now moved back into Peg's house to take care of her) told me the prognosis was poor. The last time I saw Peg was when Donna and her family invited me over for dinner. But 99% of the time I spent sitting next to Peg's bed holding her hand and talking. As the night was over, I gave her a kiss and said goodbye. As I stood up from my chair, she kept holding on to my hand as if she didn't want to let go. I think somehow deep down she must have known we would never see each other again and we were really saying goodbye. Despite all the evidence, I never let myself think that she would go and tonight, when I got the message that she was gone, I was still shocked and devastated and totally unprepared. Peg, I loved you so much. You truly were like a second mother to me and I can't think what I'm going to do without you. I only know that the world is a much bleaker, emptier place for me now. My heart is broken and I can't stop crying. I'm going to miss you so much.

7 comments:

Weaverman said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. Peg sounds the sort of friend we should all have. For once in my life I can say I really do know what you are going through and it ain't easy my friend. Be good to yourself. However much we are prepared it never comes easy.

Fink Master Flash said...

My thoughts go out to you. I may not have officially known Peg but I felt like I knew her just from the stories and the pasta you would share with me. You always described her as such a sweet woman with nothing but kind intentions. It is not often that we meet such people that impact our lives in such a profound way. Peg clearly had a kind heart and loving soul.

Cheekies said...

I don't know what to say. I too feel the loss of her. Thanks to you, I did know her both personally and through you. I have her voice on CD that I listened to about a week ago while thinking about her. Her laugh is the thing I will remember. Just to shed some lightness on this rather dark time, the one moment I will remember Peg for the most is, however, when we went with her to Thursday Night Bingo at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help. We didn't give a good damn about bingo, we just wanted to spend the night out with Peg. You probably recall the incident I am going to talk about Rickster, but I want to share it here on your blog. It was a hot muggy summer night, not unlike the ones we have been having here lately in good ole souf joisey. Playing bingo in the catholic school lunch room. There was an older man playing bingo a few tables away from us wearing shorts. Peg spotted him and said "I can see his balls sticking out of his pant leg, I think they are his balls." With that she threw the ink bingo dabber thing on the floor into the direction of the man she was talking about. She walked over, bent down, and got a good luck up the mans pant leg. She came back laughing, and said she had seen everything he had to offer. I didn't spend as much time with her as you did but I too will miss her.

That's all I have I need to go wipe some tears away.

Star said...

what a beautiful and eloquently written post. i never had the opportunity to meet peg but was able to get to know her through the scads of stories you had told me. hang in there sweetie. i'm here if you need anything.

Cerpts said...

I want to thank you all for the kind thoughts and words of comfort. It's still come as quite a shock to me and I won't be able to get my head around the fact that she won't be there to drop in for a visit anymore. I really will miss her so much. Cheeks, I was thrilled to see you tell the "old man ball" story; that's what was so great about Peg -- there are SO many Peg stories that can be told and maybe over the next few weeks and months I'll share a couple of the best ones with everybody. And Fink, even though you never met her I can tell you that Peg got a kick out of the fact that you had never met her but LOVED her cooking! The "sharing food" that Fink mentions was when we both worked at the Hellmouth and, at that time, I had Mondays off and would almost always go over Peg's house on Mondays. 9 times out of 10, we'd have pasta or some other appropriately Italian meal for dinner and I would ALWAYS get a ton of leftovers to take home with me (Peg HATED leftovers and never ate them so I always brought home everything from basic spaghetti with meatballs, sausage, brasioli etc. to pasta with mussels in white sauce). Anyway, I would then bring it into work the next day for my lunch/dinner break. And microwaving it would waft the delicious smell throughout the breakroom -- NEVER FAILING to bring Fink sniffing around with his hangdog hungry look to say "So. . .what'd you have at Peg's last night?" He would SOON find out for himself! Of course, I never minded because I would have enough food for 4 people!

Pax Romano said...

Oh man, I am so sorry for your loss, she sounds like she was one terrific woman.

Just remember, you have friends who care about you and wish you well.

I will raise a glass of vino tonight in memory of Peg, whom I may not have know, but if she was your "second mother", she did a hell of a good job.

Cerpts said...

I do appreciate the kind words of support, Daddy Pax. It really does mean a lot to me to have friends who care about me. Just make sure that glass of vino you raise for Peg is red. She was a good Italian Mama from South Philly and she would appreciate it. And boy, could she cook the homemade Italian food!