Ivana was a sister, a wife, a sister-in-law, a mom, a nonna, a friend, and many more things to many people. Though she was all of those things, she was most of all an actual angel here on earth. Though she did not have the easiest of lives, she did have a small family who truly loved and will forever love her.
Ivana knew grief at a young age, losing her mom when she was just a teenager. Growing up without much money in Italy wasn't easy, but despite the grief and hardship, she persevered through every obstacle. From Italy to America, Ivana sacrificed herself in many ways, all to pave the way for her daughters - Lisa and Lucy - so that they could live a better life and have the American dream. If you had the pleasure of truly knowing Ivana, you know that even in her older years she could not rest and take it easy. Once her daughters were grown and had children of their own, Ivana lived for and raised her grandchildren - Danielle, Cristina, and Steven. Every day, she would cook breakfast for them before school, put on their favorite TV shows, watch them after school while giving them enough snacks from her "snack closet" to last them a lifetime, and even take them to the park every day during the summers. Ivana was a woman who lived very minimally and truly valued the small things in life. In true Ivana fashion, those small things consisted of caring for other people: cooking a full home cooked meal when her family would come back from vacations, doing laundry for the family, keeping a stash of snacks for her grandchildren (and husband), putting money into her grand-childrens' pockets whenever they stopped by, and talking at her kitchen table over espresso and pizzelle. Most of all, just seeing her children and grandchildren accomplish great things gave her a level of joy that brought her to tears.
Ivana treasured life and always wanted to take care of everyone, even if that meant not taking care of herself. She never wanted anyone to fuss over her or live a life where she had to be taken care of. So, finally life gave her something that she wanted, which was the gift of no longer having to live a life she couldn't truly live on her own terms. Though her life came to an abrupt end, she deserved to go before she suffered any longer. She was the easiest person to love, whether you knew her for one hour or many years. The world is truly a sadder place without her in it, and her family will miss her completely and immensely.
To Ivana/"Ma"/"Nonna": We hope you entered the gates of heaven peacefully, meeting all of your family and friends who have been waiting for you to reunite with them. We hope that each of your mornings in heaven start with a "bagel e caffe," watching RAI, and talking with family and friends past. We hope that you can now enjoy all of the ginger ale, gnocchi, ricotta, bread, and more until your tummy is full. We hope that at the end of each of your days to come you can relax in never ending peace. We love you beyond words and will miss you until the end of forever. You will never leave our hearts and you have molded all of us into the people we are today. Ciao tesoro.