Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More...About Adam

It was this last Easter the hubby and I were watching Netflix via Playstation. When I put the controller away I noticed that one of the video games was not in it's case. I ejected the disc from the Playstation and held it in my hand.  I started crying  uncontrollably when I realized that it was the game that Adam played when he was here last.

Ray Adam Mangiafico was a boy of 10 when he came into our lives. I know it seems strange to not meet your own nephew until he's 10, but if you read the About Joe on this blog, you will understand.

It was 2003 when I started watching Adam after school. The bus would drop him off right in front of my house every Monday through Friday. At first this seemed strange to me. Back west where I came from you were let off at the bus stop and had to walk home. But then again, I didn't live in a rural area.

This little man had the stinkiest feet! He just hated wearing socks. When he got off that bus the first place he went was in the bathroom to stick those stinky puppies in the bath tub. There was always a clean pair of white socks and sneakers awaiting him there (thanks to memaw for the shoes).

Missy (our dog) would get so excited when that bus pulled up. She waited at the door ready to jump on her Adam and give him slobbery kisses. They were always playing together. They even played hide and seek. He would hide some where and she would go nuts trying to find him. I hope that they are hanging out together now.

After a while we had his bike at the house so he could ride it around the neighborhood while he was there. One day he went off on his bike and never came back. Oh boy was I freaking out! It turned out that he rode his bike home which was about 4 miles away and just decided to stay there.

After he got to old for a babysitter we didn't get to hang out as much. We moved to the next county over and you know how teenagers like to hang out more with their friends and stuff. We weren't able to make it as many football games as we would have liked seeing as how they were always on a Friday night. Hubby has a long commute from work.

Luckily we did have a few family gatherings together. Last October most of the family was hanging out at ma's (Joe's first wife) during her last days.  It was Adam's 21st birthday. One of his other aunts and I went and bought him a birthday cake. When it came time to sing happy birthday he took the cake inside so his grandma could be a part of it.

One of the nights we were there he went to the store with one of his uncles and they came back with some pumpkin ale, pumpkin eggnog,  and even pumpkin cheesecake cause they knew how much I loved pumpkin!

I have two pumpkin ales in the fridge right now. One day he and I will share a toast.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's All About Adam

Ray Adam Mangiafico 1992-2014

So it's been a rough week. I'm wondering how long it will be before I start experiencing some type of normalcy. As mentioned in my last post, we lost my nephew to a terrible accident. He was a grandson of Joe's.

I have had my share of mourning over loved ones, but somehow this feels more intense. Apparently death due to a sudden or traumatic accident or disaster can raise a number of complex issues for the survivors. I found this helpful blog post about the physical and emotional responses to grief. Well enough about that, this is all about Adam!

Recently I started a monthly family get together and dinner that will take place the first Saturday of every month. April 5th was the second one we had, and the only one that Adam was able to make it to. I wanted to share my last experiences with him because it's not only family history, but it will also be therapeutic for me. 

Hubby heated the pool that Friday night so the nieces and nephews could enjoy the pool. I know Adam was excited to come over and hang out and do some splashing around. The kids were having a blast in the water. Adam went out to the shed and got the basketball made for swimming pools and the kids took turns shooting hoops. Adam was towing the little one around the pool and he dubbed him the "Bus".

I remember one moment when I couldn't find Adam any where and then all of a sudden he appeared from the bottom of the pool.

It was a smorgasbord. I made a chicken enchilada casserole and a yummy jello mold. Hubby made his famous potato salad. There was a veggie plate, chicken salad, homemade salsa and chips, plenty to drink and cupcakes.  Of course he had seconds later on after everything was put away. As I handed him things from the fridge I asked, "Do you want some more potato salad?" "Definitely," was his reply.

I remembered that I had a couple of pumpkin ales in the fridge and offered him one because he is the only other person I know that will drink anything pumpkin. He enjoyed eggnog as much as I did as well. He mentioned that a while ago he was in a bar somewhere and he consumed the last pumpkin something or the other and said something like, "Just think, this is the last pumpkin drink this place will sell this year." Maybe one of his friends knows where he was and what he was drinking. For the life of me I can't remember.

We talked about the Jacksonville Apostles, the minor league football team he was on. He said that their first game was in June and he would email a schedule to me when it came out. I was so looking forward to watching him play!

After he grew tired of the pool he came in and played a few games on our Playstation 3.

When it came time to enjoy a cupcake he was teasing me because I bypassed the one with purple icing. Everyone knows that my favorite color is purple and I love pumpkin anything. I had one with pink icing because the one that turned out to be purple, I thought was blue.

Before they left, Adam and his uncle (my hubby) were making plans to bring his car over here so they could start working on it together.

When we were all sitting around the pool and he came outside and was standing on the porch, I felt this strong desire to invite him to spend the night. But, I didn't. I didn't listen to that inner voice, or feeling, or whatever you want to call it. I so regret that. I want to kick myself in the butt!

More to come......

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ray Adam Mangiafico

Ray Adam Mangiafico 1992-2014
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post. We lost one of Joe's grandsons this week. I am still trying to wrap my head around this tragic accident. I am still hoping to wake up and find that it is all a dream.

This 21 year old young man had such an amazing future ahead of him. He had a heart of gold. He would give you the shirt off his back. I know he has left such an influence on everyone who knew him. His friends describe him as a "gentle giant". I knew him as Adam. My nephew. I guess it's true what they say, 'only the good die young'.

I watched this little man grow into a big strong teddy bear. I used to take care of him after school. The bus would drop him off at my house. Missy (my dog) would greet him at the door and they would play together most of the day.

Adam had just won the Strongman competition in  Macon, Georgia. He was a former Jacksonville University football player and he was currently playing with the Jacksonville Apostles.

No parent should have to bury their child. It's certainly not something that you are really prepared for. We all loved Adam so much. He was our family. But you never really know what others see in him, how he influenced friends and co-workers. We have all been amazed at the love and support of the community. In fact there has been a memorial fund set up to help with his funeral expenses.

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I bet Adam is chatting it up with grandpa Joe now.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Mangiafico and Bernardo Family

Paul and Lena Bernardo Mangiafico, Michelina Lombardo and Joseph Bernardo, Joe Mangiafico