Dr. Salvatore J. Culosi
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CULOSI, Dr. SALVATORE J.

Of Fairfax, VA on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at Fairfax Hospital. Beloved son of Salvatore and Anita Culosi; grandson of Mr. & Mrs. Frank Culosi; brother of Constance M. Gulley (Steven), Cynthia A. Sauer (John) and Christopher J. Culosi; uncle of Victoria, Stephanie and Jennifer Gulley, Christopher, Michael, Alexandra and Matthew Sauer. Friends may call at the MONEY AND KING FUNERAL HOME, 171 W. Maple Ave., Vienna, VA on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 27 - 29 from 1 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Monday, January 30, 11 a.m. at St. Michael's Catholic Church, 7401 St. Michael's Ln., Annandale, VA. Entombment, Fairfax Memorial Park Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Old Dominion Eye Foundation, 9200 Arboretum Pkwy., Suite 104, Richmond, VA 23236.


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Published in The Washington Post from Jan. 27 to Jan. 28, 2006.
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603 entries
April 24, 2021

Dear Salvatore...I picked up the flowers yesterday...that I brought with me today...to your resting place...but before driving to FMP...I made a visit...first to Church in your memory...and then to the St. Joseph statue ...on this 15 Years and 3 Months Remembrance Day.

Sal you wouldn’t believe what is still going on...even after all these years... with regard to...nationwide police departments...and their officers...who when called upon...are still resorting to...and using excessive use of force policies...which are...and have...resulted in the wrongful taking...of another's life...even when the situation...may not warrant such actions.

Whether it’s due to the vetting...the protocols...the training...or the mere fact that officers are indemnified...which makes them not personally liable...something is sorely awry...because there are far too many lives being lost unjustifiably...at the hands of those...who are sworn to protect and serve...and it may have something to do...with everything I wrote in the first sentence...of this paragraph.

I had been watching...for several weeks...the trial of Minneapolis Police Officer D. Chauvin...who was charged with varying degrees of murder and manslaughter...due to his use of excessive force policies...which resulted in the wrongful death of George Floyd...who was being arrested ...for passing a counterfeit $20 bill in a grocery store. The altercation between him and the police...was captured on video...and was played over and over on the news...and it was oh so wrong...and pitiful to watch.

I wasn’t going to watch the trial...as I felt the charges of wrongful death... and use of excessive force issues...were too close to those...that took you from our family...but because I broke my promise to you then...I made myself watch now...as a way of learning...what might have brought you too...the justice you so deserved.

As we are all God’s children...All Lives Matter...on both sides of our laws... and everyone has the right to their safety...and should expect...to return home to their family...at the end of their day. Everyone!

Unless a person or situation...is violent...and lives are being threatened or put in jeopardy of being taken...only then should extreme force be considered...and while I understand...that split-second decisions have to be made...in such moments...the sanctity of life...also needs to be taken into account...and respected and protected too.

Recently, as more officer body cams are in use...and citizens are using cell phones to record incidents...there is no longer...on the part of an officer in particular...the ability for him or anyone else...to deny what actually took place...on either side...when a situation goes tragically wrong...and sadly...there have been a number of questionable...police interactions...recently...that have led to killings...and then to civil lawsuits being filed...by victim families who have lost loved ones...either due to mistakes or errors in judgment...on the part of some leo’s.

Unlike our own heartache...in having you unjustifiably stolen from us...so long ago...because of the FCPD policies...protocols...and procedures...to also include the poor training of their officers...and their senseless plan... that put you at risk...and in harm’s way...with no margin for errors...which then cost you and our family...your life...it was then told to us...in the midst of our tragic and heartbreaking loss...that civilized norms...so to speak...win the day...and you don’t fight a case in the paper...instead, you file a lawsuit...naming those at fault...and you go to court...to pursue the transparency...accountability...consequences for actions...as well as preventive changes...and the justice that is owed...to your loved one.

Times have changed however...and since we all know that timing is everything...so has that viewpoint changed. Police officers are no longer viewed as being above the law...or difficult to get a jury to go against... when in fact...it may be warranted.

Families who have lost a loved one...as a result of police incidents now... are taking to the streets...in large numbers...to protest...some peacefully ...which is their right...while others...agitators it appears...in ill-intentioned numbers...are using these particular circumstances...as an excuse...to disrupt our way of life...and advance their own agenda..which is to upend the freedoms we currently have...and they do this by rioting...looting... shooting weapons...throwing bottles and incendiary devices at officers... in trying to hurt them...and even want them defunded...and done away with...while they in turn burn down...and destroy businesses...in those very neighborhoods and communities...where those victim families live ...and are the very ones...in most need of the police in their communities ...to assure their safety and protection.

These dissenters do all of this...in the hopes of seeing the changes they envision for our America. I pray that THEY do no succeed.

Sadly...I don’t believe the peaceful protests...did as much to garner the attention of those in a position to address their grievances...as did...the acts of those who merely sought to riot. It’s a most unfortunate time we are living in...when it takes evil acts...to get the attention...and the results ...that elude those people...who are law abiding citizens...seeking the same deserved answers and results.

It was more than a year...before we were even able...to learn the name of the officer...who caused our grief...and that was because...until a lawsuit is filed...there would be no information given to us...from the FCPD. Preliminary courses of action...i.e., such as investigations... Mr. Horan’s decision on whether or not to convene a grand jury...FBI involvement while looking into civil rights violations in your behalf...and on and on...all took time...causing our lawsuit to be delayed...until such time that we were finally able...to file it.

Currently...the mass media coverage of these incidents...are non-stop... and public sentiment in general...has built to the point...that most everyone...is disgusted by what is happening all too often...and as they say...since the squeaky wheel gets the oil...and again because timing is everything...IT IS high time...that something must be done to right the wrongs...on both sides of these problems...and all too frequent incidents.

The once held opinion...that you won’t prevail...when going up against a police department or officer...is no longer the norm. I think that is a good thing...while recognizing too...that there are good...and bad people in all walks of life...and having been on both sides of the aisle...I am also remembering...what an honorable and respected trooper...my brother was...as we heard nothing but accolades about him...from his fellow troopers...as well as the townspeople he served and protected...and who all made the effort to attend his funeral...and wanted our family to know...that he would not be forgotten by them.

I hope those few bad apples...in some police depts...are found out...and let go.

I learned quite a lot by listening to the eye witnesses... and then the experts that were to give their testimony in their chosen fields...and who were called upon by both sides...and then cross-examined...in addition to the ranking police department officers...addressing their police practices...which now will be scrutinized as NOT the best practices...and about both lawyers...who were charged with either prosecuting or defending the accused...and finally the judge...who is the instructor to the jurors...and facilitator...who kept the case moving forward.

It was hard to listen to some of the expert testimony... as I can recall what similar experts...found to be the discrepancies...in the officer’s account of what happened...in our own case.

We are now living in a green and liberal society...and are among those who consider themselves woke...while they want to get rid of our police ...dislike our America...and most of our conservative people...and want it all to be changed into some socialist disaster...while we are being led by a president...who is cognitively impaired...and that’s not even mentioning the craze over the climate.

This is not a time you would recognize Sal...as ever being able to happen here.

I love you Son...and I thank you for keeping watch over our family.

God bless You...as You rest in His Peace.

You are loved...missed beyond words...and not forgotten...as I hold you close in my thoughts...and in my heart...each and every day...and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
April 4, 2021
Dear Salvatore...We are going to the 12:30 Easter Mass today...and will be joined by...one of your married nieces and her husband...as well as her youngest sister.

I actually was up so late last night...that I saw the televised Easter Mass... from St. Peter’s Basilica...in the very wee hours of the AM. The Pope isn’t looking too well...rather frail to say the least. I don’t know if he is ill... exhausted or just has aged a lot...since the last time I saw him on TV.

We spent today with your sister and her family. Con and Steve always go above and beyond...expending a lot of time and energy...to be wonderful hosts...and today proved it once again. Everything was delicious...most plentiful...and the company was good to be with. Chris came too...and except for the absence of your other sister and her children...it was as pleasant as it could be. Of course...you are always thought about by us...and on family occasions...in particular...you are very missed...and have been ever since...that terrible day...when you were stolen from your life...and ours...because of them.

I have been watching the Floyd trial this past week...and many of the topics that are being addressed...ring too close to home. I find the network trial correspondents...and what they have to say...along with the cross examinations of witnesses...and input from police department superiors...with their own insights...most upsetting...as there are a number of parallels...re excessive use of force issues...and while they cite words like proportionality to an incident...and the options of continuums ...whatever that is supposed to mean...re the de-escalating of situations ...as well problems with Police Department policies...protocols...training.. procedures...etc...all added to my own arsenal...of what causes and has caused...lives to be taken unjustifiably...resulting in wrongful deaths... much too much...for me to digest and reconcile.

I still cannot forgive myself...and you know I never will...for not being able...to keep the promise I made to you...about seeing that veteran officer in court...and being held accountable for what he did.

I guess timing is everything...and because times have changed...it’s my opinion now...as it was then...and remains...that what happened to you...and our family...not only should not have happened...but would have resulted in a much different outcome...in today’s climate.

I only meant to Wish you a Very Blessed Easter...and here I go once more ...back to square one.

Sal...keep watching over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

God bless you son...as you rest in His eternal peace.

You are loved...so very missed...and you are in my prayers...always.


Mom
March 28, 2021
Dear Sal...Today is Palm Sunday...and although I wanted to attend mass in person...to offer my intentions for you...I decided instead to watch it streamed on line...since I’m still a bit under the weather...but Dad went to mass...and I’m sure he received and offered his communion...in remembering everyone in our family.

When he came home...he sat down to make his yearly braided palm crosses. I took one of the smaller ones...and placed in among the flowers...at your resting place. He also taped one...from him...right above your name plate

Before I went back to the car...I picked up from the ground...several artificial flowers...that were evidently blown out of their vases...and returned them...to where I thought...they may have come from. I guess the wind did a number on them...as it is a very grey, rainy and windy Sunday.

God bless you Salvatore...as you continue to watch over our family.

Not much more to say...except I love you...and miss you...and that I keep you in my prayers...always.

Mom
March 24, 2021
Dear Son...I'm sorry that I wasn’t able to visit you...on March 19th...which was the Feast Day of St. Joseph...as well as your name day.

I have been dealing with vertigo...for the last several days...from out of nowhere...and since I am still feeling somewhat lightheaded...I had Dad drive me to the florist earlier...to pick up the flower arrangements...that will mark today’s “15 Years and 2 Months Remembrance Day”...of your loss to our family. I didn’t want to miss another visit to you...so Dad drove me to your resting place too.

I placed the usual floral arrangement near your vase...and I took the other one...that included a Lily too...in honor of St. Joseph...and placed it at the St. Joseph Statue.

Yesterday was the 34th Year Remembrance Day...of Nan’s being called back home by God. I hope that she is with You...Uncle Sal...and Gramps ...and that you all are at peace...and happily reunited.

Last week I received a letter from DJO...informing me that a donation to the Knight Fund...was made in your honor...by your high school friend and classmate...Mike Fisher.

I then called the DJO Director of Advancement...to ask if I could get his address...so that I could thank him personally. She said she would ask his permission...and get back to me. Not only did he give her his address...phone number and email...he said he would very much like to hear from me. I was in the middle of putting together some photos from the Prom...to send to him...along with a letter...since you...he...and both your dates...attended the Senior Prom together. I have to get back to doing that...as soon as I feel a little better.

I remember him as a nice young man...as well as a good friend of yours back then. I think the last time I may have seen him...was at a class of ’87 reunion...that we were invited to...which may have been the 20th reunion...shortly after your tragic loss.

It was very thoughtful and kind of Mike to remember you...and to honor you in this way...and I am both touched and grateful...to him...for not forgetting you...after all this time.

I love you Sal...I miss you beyond words...and I think of you each and every day.

God bless you...as you watch over our family...as well as your friends.

You are in my prayers always.
Mom
March 19, 2021
My Dear Salvatore JOSEPH...Today is...your “Confirmation” name day...as it is the Feast of St. Joseph...and I pray that you...and my brother...the Salvatore...for whom you were named...and whose middle name is also Joseph...as is Gramps too...all have a Very Blessed Patron saint day.

May God Bless each of you...as you rest in His Perpetual Light.

You all are...loved...very missed...in my thoughts each day...and are in my prayers...always.
Mom
March 3, 2021
Dear Sal, wanted to stop in and leave a short note to let you know people have not forgotten about you. Your Mom keeps your memory alive. What a beautiful woman. Keep watch over her and your entire family,
Bob Gordon
Friend
February 24, 2021
Dear Son...After two weeks of terrible and very cold weather...today’s 15 Years and 1 Month Remembrance Day...is marked by sunshine and a temperature of 64 degrees.

I left the usual flowers at the statue...and at your resting place...when I visited you today.

This past Sunday...the 21st of Feb...was the 20th Year Remembrance Day of Gramp’s passing...at the age of ninety-two. I could have never imagined that just five years after we lost him...that we would lose you too.

Your two Grandfathers...both lived long and full lives...sadly Nan was just 73 when she passed...and I say just...because both Aunt C and I...have surpassed that age a while ago. We also just wished Grandma M a Very Blessed Birthday...on Feb 7th...as she just turned 101.

I guess what is making me reflect on this...is the fact that both you and my brother...my two Sal’s...despite the gift of longevity...we had on both sides of our family...never got to experience...all that still may have been...in your futures.

You were each stolen from your lives and ours...much too soon...much too young...and in the most tragic of circumstances...and it breaks my heart...that for all that each of you...did accomplish...is so short of a time...that you weren’t given more years...to enjoy the fruits of your labor...and the blessings of a future...filled with all the good things...that life can hold. It is and was...so unfair.

I saw my parents forever changed...by my brother’s loss...when he was only 29. I feel like I am living first hand...the same changes I saw in them...as a result of your loss to our immediate family too...when you were just 37...and only beginning to be...in the prime of your life.

God forgive me...but none of what took each of my Sal’s’...from our family...should have ever happened...

God, bless my son and my brother...as they rest in Your perpetual light.
I ask each of you...to watch over our family.

You are both loved...very missed...and prayed for always.

Mom
February 14, 2021
Dear Salvatore...I was expecting to attend mass in person today..so that I could offer my communion intentions for you...and our family...as this is Sunday...and also Valentine's Day. Afterwards I was intending to visit you at your resting place.

Unfortunately...although I tried...I wasn't able to walk down the icy driveway...to get to the ice encased car...so I came back in...and instead I watched a streaming mass on my computer. Hopefully I will be able to make a visit to you during the week...weather permitting.

God bless you Sal...as I wish you a very blessed St. Valentine's Day...as you keep watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and dad.

I love you son...I miss you...and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
January 24, 2021
Dear Salvatore...When I went to the rectory in mid-2020 ...to schedule today's...Jan. 24, 2021 mass...in your memory...for this “15th Year Remembrance Day”...of your loss to our family...I was told the book for the new year...wasn’t open yet...although I was able to schedule the Dec. 17, 2020 mass for your 52nd birthday.

I was told to come back a bit later...when the 2021 book would be open...and when I did return in the early fall... the 2021 book was opened for scheduling...but it had all the masses for Jan 24th of 2021...already scheduled to be offered for other parishioners.

Rather than get my nose out of joint again...I decided to embrace the Fr. F. explanation once more...re the intrinsic...infinite value...that even a single mass affords.

But that got me to thinking...and in turn...my numbers and counting quirk kicked in too. You know me.

So I considered the well over 238 masses...offered in your memory...thus far...just counting the twelve on the 24th of every month for the last 14 years...in addition to your yearly Birthday over that same time...and all the masses I had scheduled...for other special occasions... also for the past 14 years...like...Easter...All Souls Day... Christmas and New Year’s Day...and while I felt we had a safety net of sorts...due to the many years’ worth...of that “intrinsic and infinite value”...I still wanted to have a mass for you today.

Additionally, I had and have...masses offered for my Brother...Nanny... Gramps E...and Grandpa F...on their Birthdays...Remembrance Days... Mother’s and Father’s Day...as well as their Wedding Anniversaries. That is another combined...112+ masses so...

The donations I offered for each mass...were far and above the customary ones...so I knew it would be a monetary loss...to our parish... once I did decide...that I would curtail my scheduling of masses...going forward...for all but the most special occasions. Nevertheless...in light of my former grievance...that’s what I have done.

My decision may be considered a no sum game...for all involved parties ...and a flaw in my character...to react as I did...to the "not reading aloud" ...of the name of the person...for whom the mass is being offered...and that...in addition to some other peeves I have not let go of...causes me to recognize...thankfully...the importance of Confession...especially for a person like me.

Being a die-hard...I still mentioned my disappointment.. about not being able to have a mass...said for you on this day...to your sister Cyn...and she said she would ask...one of her priest friends...to offer a private mass for you...so she did...and one is being said for you today...even though I can’t attend it in person...as the priest friend resides in the Rochester, NY diocese.

She also sent me a St. Francis de Sales Novena to say... and I have been doing that too...for you...and for the rest of our family. I will also offer my communion today for your intentions...as well as our family's.

I picked up the blue tipped white roses arrangement...from the florist yesterday...and I will take it to your resting place...when I visit you after mass. The monthly single rose...I will leave at the St. Joseph statue...as I usually do.

I wish I would have counted the roses...while still at the florist...because I had asked for the arrangement...to be made...like the one from last year...only changing the amount of roses...to 15...and the words and dates on the ribbons...to be current.

I don’t know what made me count the roses...before I placed them on the vase base...but I did...and there were only 14...although the writing on the ribbons...was correct. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go back to the florist ...to get the one rose that was missing...being the stickler I am.

God bless you Sal...on this especially sad day...as you rest in His perpetual light and eternal peace.

Mrs. C sent me an email in remembrance of you and this day...and it touches me deeply to know that there are others...besides our family... who have also...not forgotten what this day is...as they remember you... and us...in their thoughts and prayers.

You are loved, very missed and thought about each and every day...as I carry you close in my heart...and in my cherished memories of you... beginning with the day I had you...until the day...when your life was stolen from you...and from us.

You were my precious...beautiful...and healthy baby boy...all 10 lbs and 23 inches of you...and with those big brown eyes of yours...you were so adorable. Even your Apgar score was perfect. You were walking by the time you were 9 months old...and as you grew...you did well in most of the things you tried. Your grades were good.. you were a quick study...and you excelled academically.

Dad was beaming...at your DJO HS graduation...when you were awarded...the Four Years of Excellence in Mathematics Medal...which none of us knew you were receiving...until we saw your name...in the Awards list...when we opened the DJO Graduation Program for the Class of 1987.

As a boy...you loved soccer and had a great left foot...that always caused your teammates...as well as their parents...whenever it was a close game...to yell...“pass it to Sal"...knowing as they breathed a sigh of relief...that once you had your foot on the ball...it was bound to be the winning goal...since you made so many of them.

You had a beautiful singing voice too...and I am grateful that I have...the CD of you and Chris...each singing two solos...and then singing together...when you both came to join Dad and me...at Karaoke one night...which gave Bobby the opportunity to...unbeknownst to us...to record you boys...and later he surprised us with the CD. To hear your voice...is a treasure to me.

You were blessed with many God given talents Sal. You even drew beautifully...which was amazing to us...since as they say...neither of us could even draw a straight line...with a ruler.

The day you were stolen from us...by them...you were still my precious... beautiful...or should I say handsome...6'2" son...who was healthy...and happy. At 37 yrs of age...you had your whole life ahead of you...filled with your dreams for a bright future.

It breaks my heart...that all these years were taken from you...along with everything that might have been...in that bright future of yours...if not for them.

God bless you son...as you keep close watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you Sal....and I remain...and have always been so proud of you...for being a caring and loving son and brother...and for all that you were able to accomplish...in the short amount of time...that you were here with us.

We were blessed to have you in our lives...but I wish it could have been for so much longer.

I carry you close in my heart...and in my thoughts...each and every day...and I miss you beyond words. You are in my prayers...always.




Mom
January 1, 2021
Dear Sal...Since today is New Year’s Day...I will first wish you a Blessed New Year...as we bid farewell to the last one...and do so gladly...because it was an awful 2020.

We had a very nice time...last night at Stef’s...mostly eating our way through it. There were a lot of delicious foods...with too many choices...even though...there were only eight of us there. It was a real food fest.

Her new home is lovely...and she has a huge kitchen... with an enormous island. She has so many top and bottom cabinets...and drawers...for what seems like miles...with loads of counter space too...and every one was full...with desserts of all types. I told her I have cabinet and drawer envy...she has sooo many...and then I asked her...if I could rent a few...since I still have several storage boxes...that are holding kitchen items... that need a home...and I was only half kidding.

Cyn and Chris called in...their Happy New Year wishes... to all of us...as midnight neared. Chris didn’t want to join us...and so he stayed home. Vic and Zach were in NJ...at a friend's home...and they face-timed us with their New Year wishes.

We toasted in the New Year...but the TV broadcast from Times Square was pitiful...and a second late according to our clocks...which all said 12:00 as theirs said 11:59. Of course our times were correct...so it may have been due...to a 60 second time lapse delay...in transmitting.

Times Square was virtually empty...for the first time in 77 years...except for select VIP guests...and about 40 local front line workers...and their families...who were able to watch the ball drop...from separate viewing areas. It was a very strange sight...from how it use to be in the past.

The family games...began after midnight...with repeated explanations on how to play...citing the all important scoring rules...for how winners...would be determined... and that's when...the challenges...and laughs began. It was good to finally have a chance...to relax and have a bit of fun.

We got home around 2 am...and today we went to noon mass...since this is the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God...which is still in our diocese...a Holy Day of obligation.

I also visited your resting place today...and as I walked the path...that was lined with the 55 geese...that I saw and counted on the grass...I was hoping that...they wouldn't begin to come towards me...and they didn't ...so I'm grateful that you answered my request.

I love you son...and I miss you.

God bless you...as you for keep watch...over our family.

Sal...You are in my thoughts...and prayers...always.
Mom
January 1, 2021
Dear Son...I’m writing this today...Dec. 31st...on New Year's Eve...which is the last day...of this very strange year...and I will write again tomorrow...on New Year’s Day...so that I can tell you...how we spent the evening.

Right now Chris and Dad are joining forces...to make twelve pizzas. Dad stopped mixing the dough by hand... two years ago...when I finally decided to splurge...and joined the ranks...as a food processor owner...and since the dough hook attachment...is great at mixing all the ingredients for the dough...there was no point any more ...for him to expend the manual energy...that he once did..in this endeavor...so long as the secret ingredient of adding...”love.”.. .to the mix...remained...and it did.

Dad made the pizza sauce yesterday...and Chris is the “dough boy” today. He did the prepping of all the pans ...a few hours ago...and now that the dough has risen... Dad is taking over in the final stage...using for the first time...the convection setting...on the new range.

He also grated 12 pounds of mozzarella by hand...since I don’t know where the attachment for that is...thanks to this reorganizing of the kitchen cabinets...which only will allow for me to store things...where the spaces dictate... rather than allowing me...to group the things...that I use most often...and would like to have...more readily accessible...to meet my needs. It’s like trying to find Waldo...every time he asks me where something is.

Before...everything had a place...and was in reach...but now it is an adventure...to remember where I had to put things....and it leaves me to conclude...that change...is not always for the best.

Right about now...you would be calling me...to find out when the first pizza...would be out of the oven...so that you could come over...straight from work.

I miss the phone calls...and you...and all of us being together...and on and on and on...and all of the other everything’s.

Your Godchild and her husband....wanted her parents... Jen and her boyfriend...and us...to bring in this New Year...at her new townhome. Vic won’t be with us...and can’t take any more time off...because she and Zach... were here for four days...over Christmas...and are now back home...which Vic is still not happy about. I...and all the people...who have already fled New York...know and appreciate why...she feels as she does.

It is not the same NYC I grew up in...and that is thanks to a host of reasons...in addition to the virus...there is an inept Mayo...and a narcissistic Governor...who have ruined a once thriving city.

The crime rate in all areas... is on the rise...thanks to the undermining of the police dept...and the way they are allowed to enforce the laws ...under the direction of both these men.

No one wants a dept...especially our family...where an officer...would get away with blatantly targeting anyone ...especially knowing that he likely...wouldn't be held to account...if things went badly...but we must recognize too...that in order to maintain the public's safety...and civility in our society...we must have those...who are willing to protect and serve...and we should support them in this effort. Lawlessness cannot prevail.

Thorough vetting of those...who would be sworn...to protect and serve...is paramount in my opinion...along with best practices re policies and proper training...and consequences for any improper actions...by law officers ...if justice is to be served...must be equal and fair...to all impacted by any wrongful acts...ie...officers...as well as any victims. We must not and cannot have two sets of standards.

Another issue for NY...are the rules...regulations...and restrictions regarding the operation of many small businesses...because of the virus...have caused many to close...resulting in job loses for a number of New Yorkers...who don’t have the luxury...of being able to support their families...while working from home.

Restaurant owners too... who are complying in every which way...are still being told to shut down...and who knows if they will ever be able to ride it out...and open up again. So...more jobs are lost. People who never had the need for food banks...are now joining those lines. It’s truly awful.

Thugs are roaming the streets...and many residents are living in fear...because the police are either retiring early...or quitting...and the protection...citizens once felt could be relied on...is no longer there.

Some prison inmates...are having their sentences cut short...and are being let out...to continue the mayhem ...that put them there in the first place...and there are no arrests being made.

We have become a society gone mad.

I can only hope...as this year begins...that it may be better...than the one that just ended...and not worse.

Keep watching over our family.

I love and miss you...and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 25, 2020
Dear Sal...I will be carrying you very close in my heart today...missing you beyond words...as I wish you a Very Blessed Christmas Day. God Bless you...

We are going to Con's...and will be leaving soon...so I will finish this reflection...when I get back home.

I love you Sal...and so wish you were here with us.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.


Mom
December 24, 2020
Dear Salvatore...Today...on this dreary...rainy...and cold Christmas Eve...which is marking this Fourteen Years and Eleven Months Remembrance Day too...as well as the Fifteenth Eve...without you...I just want to cry my heart out...because of all that I hold in it.

In a little while...Dad and I...will go to your resting place to put up...the small decorated Christmas tree...that will remain there for you...until Epiphany Sunday.

Hopefully the tree will be left in place...and not suffer the same fate...that the candles in the Advent Wreath did...by someone who couldn't mind his own business.

After attending the 5 pm mass...that I had scheduled in your memory for today...I will also visit the St. Joseph statue...and leave a floral arrangement there too.

I know I sound like a crazy person...going through some self-imposed monthly rituals...but that’s me...and I wouldn’t be doing this...but because of them...I feel I must.

Instead you would be here...continuing to live your life... and to be present in ours. I miss you Sal...and I do whatever it takes...to just get through another day.

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh...on the way to Con’s yesterday...and a caller was on the phone with the radio station...telling Rush how much he admired him...and agreed with him...and as a conservative man...how he felt much the same way about things...and held those same views and opinions that Rush did. The caller also said...his children had asked him...why did he listen to Rush’s program...and he said he began to think about that. It wasn’t just that they were on the same page re topics...but that Rush’s voice and views...were like that of his Dad’s...and in hearing Rush’s voice...he felt like he was listening to his father...who he missed so much.

He said he was praying for Rush...since the news broke about Rush having terminal lung cancer. With emotion that was apparent in his voice...the man said...he was holding Rush up in daily prayer...for God to heal...as he needs to “hear” Rush’s voice...which means so much to him...and that somehow...he feels connects him to his memories...of his very missed father.

At first I thought the caller...sounded a bit over the edge ..but his sincerity was palatable. Rush too was very touched by this man's words...and he said...he wished there was more...he could say to him...than just "thank you" in expressing his gratitude...to this man...for all the accolades he was receiving from him...and to all those in his audience too...who for so many years...have also loved and supported him...and that his audience will never fully understand...how very much...he appreciates their loyalty...and what it has meant to him...and his family too...especially now...with what he termed...his expiration date...as his life is nearing its end.

He went on to express his enormous gratitude...for all the love that he has been shown...by so many of his listeners. And then he said something that brought me to tears...he said now that he is acutely aware...of his mortality...he has come to understand...what love really is...as he feels it from so many...and his gratitude for it is immense...and he wanted everyone to know that... and added...”when I’m no longer here...I want you all to know...that I still would have wanted...to be here with all of you.”

His words tugged at...and touched my heart...because I never thought of it in that way. Could our loved ones who were called back home to God...want us to know that...they would have still wanted to be here with us.

Because we were raised in a faith...that believes in the promise of eternal life...where we would be in God's presence...happy and at rest in His peace...how could wanting not to be there...be a thought.

We try to find comfort in words to console...we who are left to mourn and grieve the loss...of our loved ones. We say being on the other side...is our true home...since we are also spiritual beings...and that we will only be truly happy once in that better place etc...provided we are made worthy of it...so it was surprising to me...to hear what Rush said...albeit his intelligence...I hope his words...were only indicative of a finite brain.

He expressed a very human thought...that once he is gone...he wanted us to know...that he would have still wanted to be “here” with all of us. I could hear the emotion in the words he spoke...and they brought me to tears...and made me sad.

I hope that you...are not unhappy where you are...and that you are at rest and at peace...because I don’t think I could bear knowing...that you might be...as heartbroken and sad...as I am...over your not being here with us.

I love you son...and I have always wanted you...and your siblings...to just be happy.

Again too many words...as I pray...that you are happy... and for me...to somehow know that you are.

God bless you son...as you remain watchful...over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you Sal...as I carry you close in my thoughts...and in my broken heart. You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 17, 2020
Dear Salvatore...Today is your..."would have been" 52nd Birthday...and it marks the 15th one...that you could and should have been here for...to celebrate with us...if not for them.

I went to the noon mass today...being offered in your memory on this occasion...and then I visited you at your resting place. I still want to scream...every time I walk down that path...and see your name...engraved on that bronze plaque...that is on that slab of marble. It’s a heartache...that should have never ever happened.

The fact is...you had your whole life ahead of you...but because of them...and their reckless disregard for your safety...in that unjustified over excessive use of force op...your future...was stolen from You...our family...your friends...and your patients...while those involved...the “them” I refer to...have gone on with living their lives... and enjoying their families...over these many years... while our family’s lives...have been forever changed...by that knock on our door...to the present...as we continue to grieve and mourn your loss. Our reality doesn’t go away...nor does it get any easier to bear. You are loved my precious boy...and so very missed.

This time of year...is never easy...as most people get the holiday blues...for a host of reasons...but 2020 has contributed in a major way...to the sadness experienced on a worldwide scale...due to this pandemic...which has been felt by far too many...this year...as they are now left to deal with the pain...caused by the sudden loss of loved ones. God send them the graces they will need in order to cope.

I too know unexpected and devastating losses...so I both sympathize...and have empathy for...these newly and now too...”forever changed" families. They are in my prayers.

I was annoyed last week when I visited you...because someone had removed the 4 Advent candles...from the wreath...that I had intended to pray before...and light one at a time...each week leading up to Christmas. I managed to light the first one...said the appropriate prayers...and then blew out the flame...before I left your resting place. I thought I would do that...with each of the remaining candles...for the next three weeks...but thanks to some self-appointed monitor...that isn’t going to happen.

I guess I should have taken the individual candles with me...each time I left...and then return them again...to the wreath...on my next Sunday’s visit...say the prayers as I lit the next candle...and then blow out the flame... remove that one...and repeat that ritual...for the next two remaining Sunday’s of Advent. Ridiculous...because there was no cause for anyone's concern...as none of the candles...were intended to remain lighted.

I never will understand why...some people feel it's their right...to disturb anything left at a cemetery...which I consider to be sacred ground.

So I removed the wreath today...and left the birthday flowers in its place. So much for my intentions.

I hope you will have a very Blessed day...in the company of your Grandparents...your Uncle...your Friends...and the rest of our extended family...who have also been called back home to God.

I love you Son...and I miss you...and your holiday phone calls...so very much.

God bless you Sal...as you continue to watch over...your sisters and their families...your brother...and Dad.

You are in my thoughts each and every day...and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
November 24, 2020
Dear Salvatore...I visited your resting place this morning before running Thanksgiving errands...and on my way back home...which was around 5 pm...I stopped at our church...to offer my prayers for you. I also made a visit in memory of this day...to the St. Joseph statue...where I also prayed for you...and left another arranged flower... in your memory...to mark this Fourteen Years and 10 Months Remembrance Day...which has fallen...on one more...of “our” Tuesday’s.

Thanksgiving is two days from now...but for many...it won’t be the family gathering...they were looking forward to...and enjoying...like they once did. I know that feeling well...but for other reasons...unrelated to the current one. I miss you so very much.

Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases...all across our country ...the CDC officials...in the hopes of containing the virus from spreading...are saying the number of people attending family dinners...should be limited to ten...and ideally...they should also be from the same household. Of course the social practices of wearing masks...plus washing hands often...and distancing...should also be a given. I don’t know what’s magic about the number ten... but to go even further... those who would have to travel by plane...or bus......to be with family at this Thanksgiving...are also being discouraged from doing so...citing that close contact at crowded airports or bus terminals...could become super-spreader sites...where the virus can be contracted. We are living in very strange...and trying times...to say the least.

We once were six in our immediate family...and then as your sisters married and had children...we became nine ...and before that tragic night...that stole you from us... who knows what might have been...in your future. Now both of your nieces have married...so we have become seventeen in our immediate family.

I could never accept 10 as a cutoff point...to determine which of my children...or grandchildren...I should have to exclude...from our family gathering at Thanksgiving... nor from any other family get-together occasion...so I can’t imagine how anyone else is expected...to adhere to a strict count of ten.

Families will have to weigh...what they are willing to do.. and then make their own choices. It all just adds to the ...one more way...that our country has been impacted... by what what was foisted on our United States.

The toll this pandemic...has taken in lives...business and job losses...school shutdowns...church closings...and/or attendance limitations...and more...are all contributing.. to these different times. So very sad...and avoidable from the outset...if only...

Life is about family...and maybe by now you too...would have been married...and given us some additional grandchildren...but because of them...we are a forever changed family...living an unwanted new normal...and it breaks my heart every day...knowing what could...and should have been...for you...and for us too...but isn't... because of them...and what they caused. I have to stop myself from going there...so...

We are still in the throes of the long time coming...re-do of the kitchen. Only three of the four appliances we ordered...have been delivered...thanks to a backlog that ...is also due to this pandemic. We are on a list for the gas range...and may not even get it by Christmas. So tomorrow I will be going to Con’s...to use her stove...in order to make...at least...the stuffed artichokes...and roasted peppers. Needless to say...I don’t want to disappoint your nieces and nephews. Actually it’s just the girls...because Cyn is spending the holiday at her own home.

Just went out again...and I’m now down to one item... after going to two more stores...neither of which...had artichokes worth buying. Well...at least I can still make the antipasto...even though we no longer have pasta... as a first dish...the way we once did.

I hope this Thanksgiving will still hold things...for which the masses can be thankful...because not only are too many “families” across our country...being challenged with so many restrictions and guidelines...but our country is also in an awful state of flux...and there is divisiveness...on so many fronts. God help us.

I love you son...and I carry you close in my heart...each and every day.

I pray you have a Very Blessed Thanksgiving...and for each of the children God sent me...and for my all of my Grandchildren too...I am grateful to God and I thank Him.

God bless you Sal...as you keep watch over your sisters ...their families...your brother...and Dad.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.


Mom
November 2, 2020
Dear Son...Today is All Souls Day...and it 's a time when.. we particularly remember our loved ones...who have been called back home to God.

The prayers appointed for this day...remind us that we are joined with the Communion of Saints...that great group of Christians who have finished their earthly life...and with whom we share the hope of resurrection.

We were told in church...that the Pope extended the availability of...certain “plenary indulgences" for the souls in Purgatory...from Nov 1st through the 8th...to now include...the entire month of November. The plenary indulgences...which remit all the temporal punishment due to sin...must also be accompanied by full detachment from sin. Not quite sure what that means exactly...but I'll find out.

In addition to praying for departed loved ones...and visiting their resting place...a Catholic who wishes to obtain a plenary indulgence...for these souls...must also fulfill the ordinary conditions of an indulgence...which are sacramental confession...and can occur up to about twenty days before...or after the indulgenced act...along with the reception of the Eucharist...and prayer for the Pope's intentions.

I still haven’t come to terms with “time” in relation to God...because I always thought there wasn’t a time constraint with Him...but I’m sure it won’t be the last time...I will be mistaken.

Yesterday... All Saints Day...was also Gramps birthday... and I pray...it was a blessed day for him. Tomorrow is election day...and I hope that's a blessed day too.

I also hope to be able to meet the requirements...to obtain this Plenary indulgence for each of you...my very loved...and very missed...Brother...Mom...Dad...and you...my dear Son.

I pray that you all...are watching over the rest of us... keeping us safe...and out of harm’s way.

God bless each of you...as you rest in His perpetual light
.
Each of you...are in my prayers...always



Mom
October 24, 2020
Dear Sal...On this "14 Years and 9 Months" Remembrance Day...I will make a visit to Church in your behalf...and then take a ride to the florist...since I didn’t get to go there yesterday...and on the way back...I will pay a visit to your resting place...and to the St. Joseph statue.

The last couple of months have been trying...as we have been dealing without a functioning kitchen...since Dad's birthday in late Aug. So now that everything has been selected...phase one...thankfully we are in the last throes...of finally having the kitchen redone...and it’s been quite the chore.

We are almost at the finish line...and I will be more than ready...to start putting things back where they belong...as soon as I’m given the green light. I have a lot of storage boxes to go through...after packing them with everything...that came out of the kitchen cabinets and drawers...so that the demo could begin.

Now I have to detach myself from wanting to hold on to items...that I really should be able to discard...if I am ever going to scale down. There are Sippy cups...plastic plates with airplanes and boats...and “little hands” curved plastic utensils...school projects...and little gifts that teachers had students make...through the years...to give to parents like us...on Mother’s and Father’s day...and all were stored away...along with the pedestal cups...that Nan thought would be perfect...for you and your sisters to drink hot chocolate from...after coming in from playing in the snow.

So many years ago...and so many accumulated things...for so many reasons...hold memories for me...some things more than others...and from my perspective...it’s not easy to just get rid of them. Therefore it's a painful task for me to deal with....under the circumstances...that have caused me to live...what has become my "new normal."

Your father on the other hand...is the exact opposite of me...and is ready to have me discard all of it...without even looking through anything...or opening up an envelope or card...to see what it contains.. or what may have been written in it...and it offends me...that he can be both so detached and cavalier...in what he expects of me. His approach...to what memories he would discard...without so much as a second look or thought...is not mine.

I probably shouldn’t expect him to understand...where I am coming from...and in so doing...I would spare myself the negative opinions...I have of such an attitude as his. The differences between moms like me...and dads like him...has to be light years.

Next week phase two...counters...flooring...appliances...and then the painting. I’ll have to hope nothing gets dripped on...but that seems to be the order...in which things get done. It’s been a distraction...but I still have to get through...the months that are ahead.

I love you Sal...and I dread that it’s Fall...because although it’s the very season...that you loved and enjoyed the most...for a host of reasons... including its lead up to the holidays...your birthday...and the family gatherings...for me...it’s the one that breaks my heart all the more... every time it comes around again...since you’re not here to enjoy it once more..."because of them"...and I get to relive what these months all led up to...also "because of them"...which is your loss to our family.. and the pain of not having you...in our lives.

I miss you...miss you...miss you...as I carry you close in my thoughts... and in my heart...each and every day.

God bless you son...as you keep watching over your siblings...their families...your brother...and...Dad.

You are in my prayers...always.

Mom
September 24, 2020
Dear Son...The season you liked most...Fall...is once again here...as I mark this "14 Years and 8 Months Remembrance Day." It is also the time of year...that I find the most difficult to get through...as it leads to... and is a vivid reminder...of all the things you enjoyed most.

Not being a big fan of summer...you always looked forward to...the cooler weather...sports...Halloween...Thanksgiving...your Birthday...both Christmas and New Year...and the family gatherings...that were a part of most of these occasions. How I wish...we didn't have to live this "new normal."

Yesterday I picked up the flowers...that I will bring to your resting place... and the St. Joseph statue today...which has become my monthly ritual... owing to the unforgivable tactics...you were exposed to...at the hands of the FCPD.

Over the past few months...there has been...one news story after another...about questionable shootings by police officers...where lives have been lost...and the people in those communities...are taking to the streets...initially peacefully to seek justice...and to protest against police depts...for what they view as brutality...and being mistreated by them. Everything from excessive force...to wanton endangerment has been cited.

We have been on both sides of these issues...with what happened to you...and our family...and too...because of the profession your uncle chose. So my opinion vacillates...although it appears there is still...a need for better police practices...re policies...protocols...procedures... vetting...training...and the use of excessive force issues...when officers are interacting with citizens...as all lives matter.

But other demonstrators are violent...mobs of rioters are using the tragic loss of lives...as an excuse to burn down businesses...loot shops and stores...and terrorize innocent bystanders. They are throwing things at the police...injuring them...burning their vehicles...and even shooting them. It’s organized anarchy...aimed at undermining our way of life... getting rid of the police...and pitting people against one another...under the guise they too...although blatantly ill-intentioned...are also looking for justice.

We all know there are good and bad...in every walk of life...and there should be transparency...accountability...and consequences...for misdeeds when proven....especially for those who have been sworn...to protect and serve...but these destructive mob demonstrations...are not the way to seek change and justice...and the violence needs to be stopped. It is truly a crazy world we are witnessing...and one you could never have imagined...or would recognize.

Along with all the mayhem...we are also dealing with the pandemic...and many of life’s activities have been either called off or curtailed. Only recently...after these past six months...are things beginning...to return to some kind of normalcy. The pendulum desperately needs to swing back to the way things used to be...which unfortunately was taken for granted then...when we were living in a calmer...and more peaceful time...as compared to how it is now.

Many are choosing sides...and there is little to no common ground to bridge. Elections are about forty days away...and that too...looks like it has the potential for becoming a fiasco...in this current climate...and depending on who is elected. I hope and pray it will be a positive outcome...and not turn into one more excuse...for another disaster to take place...by any of those who may not like the result.

The daylight is getting shorter...and before long...it will be getting dark around 5 pm...which is not something I like. I remember Aunt M always saying...”I get up and it’s dark...and I get home and it’s dark...so I don’t like this time of year.” I suppose her thoughts were the yin to your yang. It’s strange how one stored memory...sparks another one.

Your sister saw a photo posted yesterday...on your friend Steve’s FB page...in celebration of his 25th wedding anniversary...and she texted it to me...asking if it was you...in the background...singing on a stage. The photo was a little hard to view...but I told her I thought it was

Dad and I were at Steve’s wedding...but what I remember most about that reception...is you catching the thrown garter...and putting in on Jen’s leg...in the most gentlemanly way I had ever seen. I took a picture at the very moment...it was happening...as you turned your face to look away...while your two hands were expanding the garter...to place on her leg. It is one of my very favorite photos of you...my handsome son.

Sal...as always...I ask you to keep watching over...your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you my precious boy...and I miss you beyond words.

You are in my thoughts...each and every day...and you are in my prayers ...always.
Mom
August 24, 2020
Dear Salvatore...On this 14 Years and 7 Months Remembrance Day...I watched this morning's 8:30 am mass...as it was being streamed on FB...from St. John the Baptist Church...where Fr. Fasano is pastor...and I offered my attendance at the mass...and my intentions...in your behalf. The priest who said the mass...announced that it was being offered...for the repose of the soul of...and read the man’s name aloud...and you know what a bone of contention that is for me...since that is a no no...at St. M’s...but nevertheless...I did make a visit there too...to pray for you.

Afterwards I drove to the florist...to pick up the flowers...and then visited your resting place. On the way home...I stopped again...to leave the second flower...at the St. Joseph statue in your memory.

It is now 175 months...since you were stolen from your life...and our family...and I have had you in my thoughts and prayers...while missing you...each and every one of the days...that have added up to these many months...and that is what I live with..."missing you and what might have been"...and I know...that is how it will continue to be for me...for the rest of what is my life...because of what they caused to happen to you.

We had a birthday dinner for Dad on Saturday...although his actual birthday is today. Con had all of us...at her home...which was very gracious of her...since she and Steve...were leaving early Sunday AM... to take Jen back to UVA...to start her second year...after her being home since freshman Spring break...until now...because of this pandemic. I believe she will...if all goes well...come back at Thanksgiving...and then won’t return to school again...until after the New Year. The big surprise was Vic and Zach...who came in from NY...and getting to see Cyn and her family...who hadn’t been here since last Thanksgiving.

This virus has truly disrupted life as usual...and it has become quite a challenge to deal with...health-wise in particular...for the older and compromised population...and in general...for normal life activities...for everyone else. Hopefully with God's blessings...this too shall pass.

God bless you Son...as you keep watching over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love and miss you Sal...more than I can express...as I carry you close... in my heart...and in my treasured memories. You are in my prayers... always.

Mom
July 24, 2020
Dear Son...Although I had stopped requesting masses...about a year or so ago...when I got disgusted...by the reason given to me...when I was looking for an answer...to why a mass for an intended person...goes unannounced...and was told it was due to some canonical rule...that supposedly disallows that from being done...and because that answer didn’t sit right with me...I just stopped the monthly masses.

I was still determined to have some masses said...but not on the 24th of each month...like I had been doing...for the past 13 yrs...which also always included a very healthy donation...to cover the requests...but rather...to only schedule a mass for your Birthday...and on the Yearly Remembrance Date...of your devastating loss to our family.

Since I had been told...even one mass has infinite worth in God's eyes...I decided to get very practical...and in the process...saved all those mass donations...and directed them to other charities. I know I do sound irritated...but the canonical reason/excuse...did rub me the wrong way...especially when I see and hear priests from other parishes... announce the name of the person...for whom the mass is being offered...and I was also told...that there is NO canonical rule that forbids that announcement...from being made aloud. It goes to show...that in every walk of life...there are some personalities...who like to make their own call...whenever it may suit them.

Anyway...I did have an extra mass scheduled for at least today...which I attended...on this Fourteen Years and Six Months Remembrance Day.
Of course the Church rules were followed...masks were worn...pews were marked off...and distances were kept from one another...all in accordance with this new normal...re the times we are living in.

I also resumed my practice of going to the florist...after a four months hiatus...to get the two floral arrangements...so that I can take one to your resting place...and the other to leave at the St. Joseph statue in your memory. I love you Sal...and I miss you so very much.

Last night we were at a birthday dinner...for your niece J...who just turned 20. It seems like yesterday...that she was a newborn...coming from the hospital...when her parents pulled into our driveway...to let us see her...before they drove home...and that's when I took the photo of you...looking down at her...in the infant car seat...with a look of total amazement on your face...and yes...she was tiny. It was the same year you graduated from SCO.

You wouldn't believe how our family has grown...as your nieces and nephews...are all young adults...for the most part...although we still have a couple of teenagers.

We are living in a sick world...in more ways than one...and it's one you wouldn't recognize nor believe could be possible...so please keep close watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

God bless you Sal...as you rest peacefully in His perpetual light.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
June 24, 2020
Dear Salvatore... I had wanted to leave a reflection on your page...this past Sunday...so I could wish you a blessed "God-fathers" Day...prior to today...which now marks this...14 Years and 5 Months Remembrance Day...of your loss to our family.

Unfortunately...when I went to the site...it’s format had been changed...and I didn’t know how to access it...so I knew a phone call...was going to be needed... in order to let me know...how to proceed...and that would have to take place on Monday.

I haven’t been to the florist...since the coronavirus shutdown...although I continue to visit your resting place...and the St. Joseph statue. I am hopeful...that I will get back to bringing flowers...at my next visit.

We spent Father’s Day at Con’s...with a visit from your Godchild and her husband...to wish your brother-in-law...a good day...and your other married niece phoned...and so did Cyn with her kids. It was a quiet day...and not like those we once knew...before our "new normal"...when our family would come over to see Dad...and we all would have dinner together. Nothing is the same as it once was.

Our country too...is in turmoil...and with each wrongful...tragic and unnecessary loss of life...whether it is at the hands of a rogue police officer...or in a “remains to be seen outcome”...at the hands of an officer...who felt like his life was being threatened...the ways to seek justice have gone from right to wrong...as there have been non-peaceful protests, rioters, looters, burning down of businesses and our flag...the toppling of statues...and anarchy in the cities...of some of our states...and these actions...have upended what may have produced...a positive result for the discussion...of what needs to change...on both sides of the aisle...as leos also need to respect life...if they are to also be respected...as they serve and protect...all of God's children.

I have been on both sides of these issues...in seeking the justice that you were owed...and it's the policies and protocols that still need to be addressed...even after all these years...along with the vetting...proper training...transparency.. accountability...and consequences for wrongful deaths...if we are ever going to get along...in a civilized society.

Our country is being torn apart...and there are those... who just don’t care to save it. I pray that God is on our side...and that soon His peace will reign.

God bless you son...as you keep watching over our family.

Sal...you are loved...and missed each day...as I carry you close in my thoughts ...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
May 24, 2020
Dear Sal...Today it is a Sunday...that marks...this Fourteen Years and Four Months Remembrance Day...and it's also ushering in..another new normal...I hope will be...just a temporary one. This social-distancing...masks...not visiting family...etc...does get old.

When you were about 3 or so...you said that the two most dangerous things... were being a soldier in a war...and potty training. Those big eyes of yours...were so serious...as you made that declaration...after overhearing Dad tell me...that another of his WP classmates...had been killed in Vietnam. As for the second danger...I will keep that between us.

I mention this...because tomorrow is Memorial Day...when we honor all those military persons...who fought in every war...and made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure...the freedoms we know and enjoy...in our country...but right now...due to these strange times...it seems like a lot of them...are being infringed upon.

When the U.S. entered the Vietnam War in 1965...the year after Dad graduated from the USMA...we were very fortunate that he...wasn't sent to Vietnam...but that was because he took a commission in the Air Force...and his assignment was to attend grad school...where his abilities and expertise...became more suited...for providing the logistical support...needed by the services...and that was a stateside assignment.

Sadly...he lost quite a few of his classmates...who served in Vietnam... not too long after graduation.

When you were 19...an advocacy group called Rolling Thunder...was formed... and it sought to bring awareness of... and full accountability for prisoners of war...and missing in action service members of all U.S wars.

At that time...is was comprised of... 2500 motorcyclists...and the roar of their bikes were meant to simulate the 1965 bombings...in a military campaign against North Vietnam.

The group gained a large following... over its 32 years...but then it became too costly to continue...and coupled with a lack of cooperation...on the part of the Pentagon...and the metro police depts...according to one of the bikers...it wound up having to end... last year...but not before more than 500,000 bikers...rode into DC...from around the country...to be a part of.. that one last Rolling Thunder ride.

Over the years...it was always so very impressive...to see the many groups of bikers...with their small American flags...flying from the back of their bikes...as they traveled on all the different roads and highways...leading into DC...from all over the country.

Because of the pandemic...this year's Memorial Day...has AMVETS sponsoring.. virtual events...and they are asking local riders to participate...in a solo 22 mile Rolling Remembrance ride.

Once more...I'm off on a tangent...but I am very mindful of those...who gave their lives...for the sake of others.. and I pray they all are resting...in God's perpetual light...and eternal peace.

What I should be writing is...that your first niece has a birthday...on our coming Tuesday. She and her husband drove down from NY...to spend her birthday...with her Mom...Dad... and siblings. She is now a married woman...and no longer that 15 yr old you knew. Since we don't get to see her often...it was good to spend some time with her today...of course from a safe distance...with masks on...all because of this virus.

All of your nieces and nephews...are now young adults...and how I wish... you were here to know them...and for them to know you.

God bless you son...as you keep watch over our family.

I love you Sal...I miss you...and I pray for you always.
Mom
May 10, 2020
Dear Salvatore...One more bittersweet Mother's Day...which is now number fifteen...since the last one...in 2005...when we spent the better part.. of that Mother's Day...together as a family.

Just want you to know...that I did visit you today...but due to the rules re the pandemic...we can't be with your sisters...so phoning our wishes to each other...to mark this day...is what we did.

Our family's world was forever changed in 2006...with your loss. In 2001 it changed for everyone in our country... and now in 2020...it has changed once more...and this time for the entire world...and none of the changes...were for the better.

I can only pray...that if there are to be more changes...they may get us back to some kind of normalcy.

God Bless you son...as you keep close watch over our family.

I love you...and I carry you close in my thoughts...and in my heart.

You are missed...and in my prayers... always.
Mom
April 24, 2020
Dear Son...Today marks...the Fourteen Years and Three Months Remembrance Day...of your loss to our family...and I continue to miss you each day...as the pain and sadness...of not having you in our lives...remains.

As a result of this coronavirus pandemic...our churches and schools have been closed...for the last six weeks...as are some companies...whose employees are having to...work at home from their computers. Restaurants and fast food places...have resorted to just curbside pickups...for their customers...while other businesses... had to let all of their workers go.

Our economy which had been doing very well...up to now...also took a hit... in the midst of our being blindsided.. by this virus.

Many people are jobless...and without the resources and salaries...to make purchases...or to pay their bills. The government is allowing for the funding of monies...and letting companies apply for loans...so businesses will not be lost...and afterwards either paying the loans back...as they begin to open again...or as forgivable loans ...provided the monies received will be used...to keep those that were let go...on their payrolls...until such time...when those businesses will rehire them. There is also money for those who are unemployed...due to this virus.

Only supermarkets...and essential workers...related to the delivery and stocking of groceries and the like... in the food related industry...are permitted to be at work...and remain open. It is a sci-fi like existence at the moment.

Today I "watched" Fr. Fasano's...11 am streamed mass...as I have been doing during this Eastertide...and I offered my intentions...in memory of you.

While this is the second month...that I have been unable...to get what use to be...my usual floral arrangement on this date...that I would then bring... to your resting place...and the Saint Joseph statue...at least I will still be able to...make my visit to you.

Our country has lost many souls...to this coronavirus...and my heart goes out to their families...who weren't allowed to be with them...in their final moments...and now can't even have a proper wake...for their loved ones...due to the rules being followed re social distancing...and gatherings of no more than 10 people...in an effort...to contain the spreading of this virus...to others.

May those who have lost this battle... now find peace...as they rest in God's perpetual...and everlasting light.

Aunt C...too...although she seems to be asymptomatic...has recently tested positive for this disease. I pray it doesn't advance any further.

Our President and his administration.. I believe...are doing everything humanely possible...to support and meet the needs...of those on the front lines...who are risking their lives... as they tend to affected patients.

Whether there is a need for more ventilators...hospital beds...protective equipment...for doctors...nurses...and medical staff.. masks...gloves...testing swabs etc... the list is unending...and in record time...with an all hands on deck approach...the President's COVID-19 staff...and the medical scientists... are trying to come up with...accurate and effective tests and treatments..to hopefully be of some benefit...in fighting this virus...until a vaccine does become available...but it appears that won't happen...any time soon.

Every state is being affected differently...depending on the density of its population...and how fast the virus is spreading in each one...but all are being given what they need... in the way of tests...which will aid in getting needed information...to further understand how to combat...and flatten the curve of this awful virus. As we keep learning more and more...about COVID-19...the rules we are dealing with...will be adjusted accordingly...and hopefully we will begin...to go back to a more normal routine...while still practicing basic hygiene guidelines...wearing masks... and continue to social distance from one another...in order to get people safely back...into the workforce...so that our economy can get back on track too.

This is a much changed world...from the one you knew...but maybe some good may also come from this...as people are being tested now...and hopefully will recognize what matters most...as we go forward...ie our belief in a merciful God...the Power of Prayer... Family...the Sanctity of Life...and Keeping the Faith.

Your idol sibling...has a milestone birthday on Sunday...but we won't be able to celebrate it with her...as even our "new normal"...has been affected.

God bless you Sal...as you continue to keep watch over our family.

Know that you are loved...so very missed...and that you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
April 12, 2020
Dear Sal...Today is Easter Sunday...so I am wishing you a Very Blessed Day... hopefully in the company...of our dear family members...who have also been called back home...to God.

You...and they too...are very missed.. and held close in my thoughts...and in my heart.

When I visited you today...although I didn't stop to get an Easter Lily...to bring to your resting place...I did bring three stemmed decorative eggs... which I placed in your vase...as symbols of Christ's Resurrection...ie: life...renewal...and rebirth.

Although we are self-isolating...due to the pandemic...we were able to have a family gathering...thanks to your niece Jen's ability...to use a video conferencing app...called Zoom.

Since WE are not that tech savvy...Dad and I needed Chris' help...to connect us to it...and then we got to see your sister...and her family...even though we were..in three separate places...to include VA, NC, and NJ. So while it wasn't exactly a family dinner...we were at least able...to be in each other's company...as we wished one another...A Blessed Easter...and Buona Pasqua...as Nan and Gramps would say.

Hopefully with God's help...and medical interventions...we can sooner than too much later...get back to some kind of normal.

May those who have been taken...by the COVID-19 disease...rest in peace...and may their families...find the strength and graces needed...to cope with their grief.

God bless you Salvatore...as you keep watch over our family...near and far.

I miss you son...I love you...and I pray for you always.
Mom
April 7, 2020
Dear Sal...I didn't leave a reflection wishing you a Blessed Palm-less Sunday...two days ago...so I thought our Tuesday...which is now in Holy Week...and called Holy or Great Tuesday...would be an ok time to still do that...even though it's a bit belated...I do hope you had a Very Blessed Palm Sunday.

This past Sunday began Holy Week...and although it was Palm Sunday...there were no palms to be had...because of the church closings...as a result of this coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic...which has all of us...self-isolating...in an effort to contain... the spreading of this very contagious and deadly virus.

However...I was able to leave a small braided palm cross...at your resting place...when I visited you on Sunday.

Dad made extra ones last year...and because I had saved them...and knew where I put them...at least it wasn't palm-less for you.

This is also the time frame...when both your sisters...are the same age for seventeen days...which is just an aside that crossed my mind...and one of them...will also be celebrating an anniversary this month. Where did the time go?

NYC will reach its apex for this virus this week...and so far...thank God... your niece who is living in the city.. and continuing to go into work...has only had the mildest...of what may be symptoms. Because it's allergy and flu season too...it's hard to know for sure...without a definitive test for it. I'm praying for everyone...even those I don't know...and I can only hope that God is hearing me.

Dad hasn't been out since his last blood work...and the next is due in another week and a half. I on the other hand...have been...for necessary reasons. Chris says he's an expert at this...self-isolation-quarantining... and has it down to a science...since he's been practicing it for years. He is still such a character.

I used a scarf over my nose and mouth today...since it is now recommended that it can be beneficial to do so. I felt like a bandit/robber/thief...but fortunately I now have a real mask... and it's a patriotic one...that Con sent for...and it came in red, white and blue...with stars on it.

Well son...keep very close watch over our family...especially during this time in particular.

God bless you Salvatore..and know that you are loved...very missed...are in my thoughts each day...and prayed for always.
Mom
March 24, 2020
Dear Sal...Today, our Tuesday...is the 739th one...as this Fourteen Years and Two Months Remembrance Day is marked. I will not be able to make a visit to church today...or go to the florist... as I have done on the 24th of every month...since your loss to us...and the reason for this...is incredible.

We're currently living in very strange times. In early March...a novel coronavirus which is a new strain... that hadn't been previously identified in humans...began to spread quickly... and has infected people worldwide. It is believed to have been transmitted from bats...that may have been used... as a source of food...in China. So we now find ourselves...in the midst of a world pandemic...and it has caused a few of our largest states...to be hit very hard...while continuing to make its effects known...throughout the rest of our country.

COVID-19 as it's called...has caused many people...who have underlying health problems...or have compromised immune systems...to be at a serious risk when they get it...as it can cause them a type of pneumonia that is fatal...for most...and while patients need ventilators...to help them with breathing...if there is even to be a chance for their survival...we don't have enough of them...or even the other medical supplies...needed to safeguard the doctors and nurses...who are on the front line...in tending to these patients...and therefore even more at risk...for contracting this disease...as they continue to try and help...these very patients. It is a sad state of affairs.

In light of this...the "vulnerable" aged people...have been told to stay indoors...and only venture out for the necessary reasons...mainly...doctor's appts...and groceries. Protocols used for the flu...and the common cold... are the routine ones. Wash your hands, cough or sneeze into your arm...keep surfaces clean of germs etc. The new strategy when outside...since we were not prepared for this very contagious outbreak...is for all people to self-distance from one another...by keeping 6 feet apart...so as not to spread this virus.

To try and keep the number of cases down...non essential workers have been told to stay home...small businesses have been closed...some people who can...are working remotely from their homes...elementary...high school...and colleges are closed...and students are taking classes on line...sports events have been cancelled...and...even though it's the Lenten season...our church has cancelled public masses... and some priests are offering parking lot...curb to car confessions...all in an effort to slow the spread of this disease...or in the hope of at least containing it...until our scientists can come up with ways to combat it. Not sure when...we will get back...to some kind of normalcy. It is like we are living...in a bad sci-fi movie.

Unfortunately this younger generation is not taking this...as seriously as they should...even though they too... can get this virus...but seem to handle it better...with fewer serious complications. They don't seem to appreciate the fact...that they can actually have it...be asymptomatic but can still spread it to others...so many are still "spring breaking" it. Not a wise choice...to say the least.

Hopefully the power of prayer...will help to get us through all this...and God bless our president...and thanks to his amazing leadership...along with that of his cabinet...as all the stops are being pulled out...and with any luck...we may begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel...in the next several weeks...if not months...as they are tracking the data to plot the course...that will lend to the insight needed...in order to come up with the medical solutions...to combat this virus...during this period in time.

We are very concerned about Vic and Zach...who are now living and working in New York City...which has become the epicenter for this virus...due to the large concentration of people who are there...in close quarters as they travel by buses and trains...which is causing their number of cases to rise more quickly...than those in most other states...at the present time.

The NY governor seems to be doing his best to meet the needs head on...but the NYC mayor...is another story.

Sal...this world is not the one we all once knew. I can only pray that there will be some good...that comes out of this...and that priorities will shift to what is truly important in life.

God bless you son...and please keep an even closer watch over your sisters... their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you...and I miss you...and I pray for you always.
Mom
March 19, 2020
To My Dear Salvatore Joseph...Today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph...your namesake...and patron saint...and as you rest in God's peace...may this day...be an especially blessed one for you.

I hope you know...that as you watch over our family...I carry you close in my thoughts...each and every day...and that you are loved...and very missed.

God bless you son...

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
February 24, 2020
Dear Salvatore...On this "Fourteen Years & One Month" Remembrance Day... I went to the florist this morning... to pick up what has become...my "new normal" monthly order of flowers.

I left one arrangement at your resting place...when I visited you today...and placed the other one in your memory... at the St. Joseph statue.

FMP is getting reading for spring cleanup...so the flower will only be there...until the 28th...so this time I will make sure...I go and remove the vase flowers...before the grounds crew indiscriminately tosses them...like they did the angel that was there for so long. Families have complained to the office...that the grounds people even have tossed...the chimes on the tree branches. It's not as though they prune anything...so it's totally unnecessary to do that...and it is upsetting to those families...whose chimes in their loved ones' memory... get trashed. Not the brightest bunch of employees...since they claim to be just following the rules. Really?!! No executive decisions being made by any of them...to say the least.

This week begins the Lenten season... so I will be trying to get to church more often. Lord knows...even with my best intentions...things seem to go astray...but I am determined to do my utmost...to get to weekday mass...and perhaps even to the stations of the cross.

I am hoping to find a replacement..for our dining room chandelier...that fell in Oct...breaking many of its crystal prisms...but so far...I'm not making much progress. My tastes are no longer in fashion I guess...or what's out there...is a reflection of the weird and bizarre...like a lot of what is going on nowadays.

Gramps use to say...in a light-hearted tone...when things weren't going as one might have wanted...that no-thing lasts forever...and he was right in many cases. Whether the nothing had little to no significance...or was of some meaning at least at the time... most "nothings" do not last forever.

I can only speak to my own thoughts on that matter...and I know firsthand.... that there are "some-things"...that do last...and I am thankful for at least the memories...I have of the many...

Sal...God bless you as you keep watch over our family.

I love you son...I miss you so very much...and I carry you close in my heart...each and every day...and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
February 18, 2020
Dear Sal...I meant to write this last Tuesday...after we got back from NJ... but somehow the week got away from me. So it is now...this Tuesday...which is the 734th one.

We had gone up to NJ on the 8th...with your sister and brother-in-law...to attend Grandma M's 100th birthday.

Aunt J thought it would be nice...for us to get together...to mark this very special occasion...so she and Uncle K pulled it all together...ordering the food and cakes...and invited Grandma's only remaining, and younger brother... his daughter and son-in-law...Cousin Ro...and the four of us..to the celebration.

It was really good to see family...and I can only hope that somehow...Grandma knew we all were there for her.

Great-Grandma A...had both her first daughter...and fourth son...born on Feb. 7...although six years apart from one another...so we were also able... to celebrate Uncle Sal's 94th birthday along with Grandma's.

He was so sweet with her...as he held her hand and sat by her side...he began talking in her ear...relating times from their past...in the hope that she might remember...some of the things... he was saying to her.

Unfortunately, for some time now...and despite being well cared for...and looking relatively good...her reality is sad...and for those who love her... and remember how she was...it is even more sad for them...to see her as she is...and it tugged at my heart too.

Today is a rainy, dreary one...and while I didn't visit you today...I did bring flowers to you on Friday...which was Valentine's Day..and I hope it was a very blessed one for you.

God bless you my precious Salvatore... as you keep watch over your sisters... their families...your brother...Dad... and your friends too.

Know that you are loved...very missed, and held close in my heart...and in my thoughts...each and every day.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
January 24, 2020
Dear Son...The prior Sunday's church bulletin...always lists the masses and their time...for the upcoming week... along with the names of those...the particular mass...is being said in memory of...but it did not have your name listed...for this Friday's mass.. which marks...this 14th Yr Remembrance Day...and you know...how that sat with me.

I had scheduled...the yearly family masses for 2020...in 2019...so I don't know what caused this...but I will be at the noon mass anyway...and offer my own intentions for you.

I picked up the flower arrangement... and I will take it with me...when I visit your resting place...after the mass. I also placed a single rose...at the St. Joseph statue...in your memory.

I received an email from Mrs. C...and another from your classmate David... who both wanted me to know...that they are thinking of you...on this day... and that you are not forgotten. I so appreciate those...who never forget to remember you.

The Annual March for Life is also today...as well as it being the Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales...so it is a very special day...in many ways and for many reasons. President Trump will be the first sitting president... to appear in person at the march...and will deliver an address today..to the pro-life audience...and anti-abortion activists...proclaiming his support... as well as that of his administration re the "Sanctity of Life."

In my opinion...there are those in law enforcement...as well as some others.. who need to remember...that all lives matter...and should be respected.

It has been forty seven years...since abortion was made legal in the US... and with prayer and perseverance... hopefully roe vs wade...will soon be overturned.

God bless all those babies...known only to Him...who have been stolen from their right to life...and God bless too, our president...for taking a stance on this contentious issue.

Last night I was out at a friend's house...and a lady there...commented on the chain I was wearing...that has several...of what she thought were charms on it. She touched your school ring and asked about it. Of course... I told her that it was yours...and then the reasons for it being there... along with my brother's medal...and the mini replica of his shield...and before I knew it...I was telling her what happened...to you and to him... and how I had promised myself...if I had a son...I would name him after my state trooper brother...and then I went on...to tell her how your life was stolen from you...by a FCPD Swat officer...who was also sworn to serve and protect...but in my opinion didn't do either...where you...and our family were concerned.

She tried to be consoling...saying that she was so sorry for my losses.. and although "we" don't understand the whys now...everything does happen for a reason. Well meaning? but that does not make it ok.

What she didn't know...is that having a reason for something that happens... isn't good enough...and while I can think of my own reasons...none of them are worthy..of justifying the outcomes our family...has been made to know.

Reason one:
No good deed goes unpunished"...as in the case of your Uncle...who on his day off...did a favor...for a fellow trooper...who was not feeling all that "well"...and in covering...for this brother officer's tour of duty... your uncle had a car accident...that cost him his life.

Reason two:
There were a host of reasons for your loss...every one unjustifiable...and they all rest with the FCPD...who put you in harm's way...with no margin for error..and they as a department...that lacked in so many areas...re best police practices"...will remain at fault...and unforgiven by me...for what they caused...to happen to you... and our family.

Why God called both my Sal's back to Him...so soon and much too young...is a question that I hope someday to get answered.

I love you Salvatore...and this date.. always takes me back to square one... and that knock on the door. I miss you so...

Your siblings also feel this day too well. Your idol visited you today... and left a remembrance arrangement for you...and your other sister...was likely at church for you...and your brother told me...about a memory he had of the two of you...kidding about the lamps...in a store window...next door to a place...the two of you had often frequented. He told me because I had just told him...I had been to a lighting store...and when I told him where it was located...he began to laugh...and said he knew exactly which one it was...hence he shared the lamp memory with me.

Keep close watch over your sisters... their families...your brother...Dad... and the rest of our loved ones too.

God bless you son...and know that I love you...and carry you with me... each day...and I pray for you always.
Mom
January 14, 2020
Dear Son...I guess I was hoping for too much...as it was not a good ending to 2019...nor a better beginning to this New Year...2020.

On New Year's Eve...although we found out a bit later...a daughter of one of Dad's cousin's passed away. She was such a lovely young lady...and we were very saddened to hear this news.

We drove to New Jersey on Friday...to attend the evening viewing...with your sister and your brother-in-law...since Dad wasn't feeling up to the drive... and we returned home with them...very late that same night.

Then we got the news...that his Aunt G had passed away on Jan 2...so we went back to NJ on the Monday...for her wake. This time Con was the driver.

Dad as a boy...had sung the Ave Maria when this Aunt got married...and over the years...she had asked him...if he would sing it again for her...when someday...she would pass away. So at her Tuesday's mass...Dad sang it again and honored her request.

There had been a storm forecasted...so we left right after the mass...and sure enough we drove right into it. It was foggy...it rained...sleeted...and snowed...and the visibility was awful. I know it was taking its toll on your sister...who already had a sore right arm...and was getting a stiff neck... but she insisted that she do the driving. There was a lot of traffic and it was crawling. It was a very stressful drive..but she persevered... and we got home safely. Thanks to God, you and her.

Two more people we know from Church... also passed away...a few days ago...so we will probably be attending their wakes too. As if losing loved ones isn't bad enough...and then for these loses...to happen during the holiday season...that just adds to the grief.

Three of those who passed...were into their 90's...and at least had led long and full lives...but our cousin M... was only 47...and could have had so many more years ahead of her...which makes it all the more sad...and my heart breaks for her parents.

No one ever said life is fair...as we all know too well...so my prayer is... may their souls rest peacefully in His perpetual light...and may God bless their families...with the graces needed to comfort and console them... as they trust in His promise...that we will someday...all be reunited again.

It will be a slow getting back to some kind of normal...as we all are wiped out...due to the holidays...and the back to back trips to NJ.

Now if we can only get through...the other stresses...we also are facing at the moment...but I suppose that's just life...and no one gets through it... without their share of its trials.

May God bless you...as you watch over our immediate...and extended family.

I love you Salvatore...miss you each and every day...and I pray for you always.
Mom
January 1, 2020
Dear Salvatore...We're now...almost 90 minutes into Year "2020"...and are hoping...that this New Year...will be a better year than the last...and a Healthy...Safe...Peaceful...and Happy one...for all.

We spent midnight...with Con and her family...minus Vic...who is now both working and living in New York...with her husband.

Cyn was at home with her kids...who are still getting over the flu...that had them feeling miserable...one at a time...as they passed it forward...to each other. We did get to face time with them...so at least they were included...technologically.

Chris too stayed home...as his plan was to sleep through the New Year... which has now become his "new normal" plan...more often than not...for most of his holidays. Earlier today...he did make Dad's pizzas..and they came out really good...but his usual lack of sleep...coupled with his dough making etc...caught up with him...so he was in fact...super tired...but that didn't stop us...from face-timing him too...at midnight.

Steve L...got in touch with Chris...to say that he too...was making pizzas from Dad's recipe...with a bit of his own tweaking...and he was making it all from scratch. Chris put him on face time...and he looks good. We got to chat a bit...and when I asked about his family...he said his daughter will be going to college this year...and his son just turned 13. Doesn't seem so long ago...that you, he and Scott.. were all youngsters too...and remained friends over the years...until... Where does the time go?

Today we all will try to wind down... a little...and catch up on some rest. Both your sisters...have worked hard over this holiday season...one with preparing for all three family gatherings...Thanksgiving...Christmas..and New Year's Eve...after tripping over Milo just the other night...and hurting both her wrist and foot...and reinjuring her right arm...and your other sister...has been going back and forth...between the supermarket's pharmacy...and her sick kids...after also losing sleep...to give them their meds..at intervals all through the wee hours..in trying to keep up...with each one of their needs. Your sisters are both very good moms.

Dad and I went to yesterday's vigil mass...before going to Con's...so we too are lazing a bit this morning.

I will visit you in a little while... and when I get back home...I will have to start straightening up...starting with the messy kitchen I left...before going to Con's...and that I didn't feel like tending to last night...when we got home.

I remember from the past...it was said that what you are doing at midnight... sets the tone...for how you will spend the rest of your year. Being with family last night...was a blessing... but I wish...all of my other children could have been there in person...too.

God bless you son...and thank you for watching over your sisters...their families...Chris...and...Dad.

Sal...you are missed beyond words. I love you...and you're in my thoughts.. throughout my day...and that's each and every one of them...and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 25, 2019
Dear Son...I want to wish you a Very Blessed and Merry Christmas...before this day gets away from me.

We are getting ready to leave for Con's...but know that I will carry you with me in my soul.

God bless you son...I love you so...

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 24, 2019
Dear Son...It's Christmas Eve...and it is falling on another of our Tuesdays. The 726th one... to be exact...as I mark this "13 Years and 11 Months Remembrance Day".

I'll be at the 8:30 mass today...which is being said in your behalf...and then I will go to your resting place.

I lit the fourth candle in the Advent wreath...this past Sunday...so today I will remove it...and the arrangement from your birthday...and in their place...I will put the same decorated Christmas tree...that I have been bringing to you...every Christmas Eve since 2006.

I know this is the time of year...when people get the blues...for one reason or another...and I am certainly one of them. I know one shouldn't wish this season away...but I look forward to it being over...and then January...with its second blow...as I relive that knock on the door...that turned our lives inside out...and upside down. I miss you so much Sal.

This afternoon I made one of your Eve favorites...shrimp cakes...and I took them to Con for tonight...since you shouldn't eat meat on this day. I only made two kinds of cookies...and the traditional struffoli. Dad is about the only one who actually likes them. I guess it's a throwback..to our roots since they were always part of...this holiday's accompaniment to espresso. I may make the Egg Nog tonight...if I can find a place in the fridge to put it...otherwise it will have to wait for tomorrow.

We purposely went to the 5 pm kids mass tonight...so I should have plenty of time in the morning..to do any last minute whatevers.

I love you Son...and you know what is in my heart...and on my mind.

Keep close watch over our family...as some are traveling to get here to be with us.

God bless you Sal...as you rest in His perpetual light.

You are loved...very missed...and are in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 17, 2019
Dear Sal...It is a dreary...rainy and foggy Tuesday...but I'll be at today's noon mass...that I had scheduled...to be offered in memory of your Birthday.

I wish we could've had...a family celebration...but that and so many more occasions...where we would have and should have been together...were stolen from us...because of them.

I did visit your resting place...on this 725th Tuesday...and I left an arrangement of five blue tipped white roses...with a sixth center one tinted in gold...to mark your 51st year.

I just got a phone call from another friend...dear Lyd...who wanted to let me know...she was thinking of us...and what this day is. I also received an email from Mrs. C...who always manages to remember you...and us on this day. I responded with a thank you...and then told her that Fall...was the time of year that you loved best...and so enjoyed...but for the last fourteen years...it continues to be...the most difficult for me to get through.

Saturday while at a classmate's home.. to watch the Army/Navy Game...the conversation at the Ladies table... was about aging...illnesses...hospital experiences...family losses...and then some...so of course...a well-meaning friend...suggested to me...that you wouldn't want me to feel as I do...re the justice you never received. I told her that my son...wasn't a vindictive person...relating to her, your Dr. B experience...and how upset I was with him...and his botching your appendix surgery...which left you in pain...and in and out of the hospital...for the better part of a year. I felt you should have reported him...to the hospital board...but you made a case for him...being a new young doctor... and let it go. I told her you always felt for the underdog...but that you also valued justice...and the justice that was owed to you by them...and the promise made to you by me...was not realized...and for that reason...I will continue to feel as I do. I do not expect anyone...who isn't walking in my shoes...to ever understand why I feel as I do...about those in the FCPD who unnecessarily caused your loss. So we changed the subject.

This past weekend...we celebrated the third Sunday of Advent...known as Joyful Sunday or Gaudete...which is Latin for rejoice. Father said that although Advent is a penitential season...we might ask...where does joy fit in? He went on to say...that this is because we often confuse happiness and joy. He said happiness comes from without...and can be fleeting. Joy, however...is an inner experience which exists...despite ones sorrow and their suffering. He went on to say..that Joy consists primarily in knowing... that we are unconditionally loved by God who created us...and that nothing can take that love away. Thus with joy...we can experience sorrow...but not be overcome by sadness...we can grieve the loss of a loved one...but not be overcome by grief. It is Penitential yet joyful at the same time.

You were born during the Fall...which is the Advent season...and this is the homily given at this time of year... every year...and I've heard it many times in the past...but since 2006... this homily is the one...that speaks to me the most...and perhaps accounts for my trying...to deal with our new normal...with some seasons...being slightly better than other ones.

I love you Salvatore...and I hope you will have a Blessed Birthday...in the company of Nan, Gramps, Uncle Sal... and others in our extended family... including your friends...who have also been called back home...by God.

Continue to keep close watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

God bless you son...and know that you are loved...very missed...and thought about each and every day...and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
November 28, 2019
Dear Son...It's Thanksgiving Day...so there is only one mass at our parish. It is at 10 am...and I will be at it.. since I had previously scheduled it...to be offered in Nan's memory... because today is her birthday.

Yesterday Ali and Matt drove up and today we are expecting Cyn and her Chris. Jen is home from UVA...and Vic is finally moving to NY...to be with her husband. She starts her new job next week.

Keep watching over your sisters...and their families..your brother...and Dad.

I am grateful for the family God gave me...and for the dear friends I have in my life. I have to remember to count the blessings...and you are one of them.

Love you Sal...and so wish you could have been here with us.

You are in my prayers...always
Mom
November 24, 2019
Dear Salvatore...Today it's a Sunday.. that's marking this "Thirteen Years and Ten Months Remembrance Day"...and as usual...I will visit you...right after mass. I was hoping to have with me...as a replacement...the same kind of angel statue...that I have had at your resting place...over these many years...but I haven't been able to find one yet. I would always remove it for the one week...twice a year...when the FMP grounds crew...would do their Spring and Fall cleanup. I had seen the notice stating that...all floral pieces and personal items...must be removed by Nov. 15th...but somehow...I thought Saturday was the 15th...so when I got there on Friday...and saw everything gone...I realized that Friday was the 15th...and they had already discarded the angel. I can't believe I got it wrong. Hopefully...I will find the same kind of angel at a Garden store.

We had a nice visit from David H...who was your classmate both at St. Mike's and DJO. He is married and has been living in Portugal for some time. He got in touch with us...via email a couple of months ago...and said he was planning a trip to the US...to be in another friend's wedding...and asked if we could find time to see him. We met him at mass on All Souls Day...and went for breakfast afterwards. He is such a good soul...and has been that way since he was a boy. The rosary that is with you...he gave to me... even though an aunt of his...who was a nun...had gifted it to him...when he was a child. He said...it was very worn...as he prayed many rosaries on it...but now...he wanted you to have it...asking if it could at least...be put in your pocket...as a token from one friend to another. I was so very touched by his request...that I had it replace the new one...that had been originally placed in your hands. A well-worn rosary...has to be very very special to the Blessed Mother...and my hope was then...and continues to be...from one mother to another...that She keep close watch over you...for me.

A few nights ago...in the wee hours... we heard a very loud and startling noise...so Dad got up to check things out. He didn't see anything suspect... after looking around...so he came back to bed. I of course...called Chris... thinking the noise was made by...one of his save the world from aliens explosions on a video game. But he said he wasn't playing anything.

The next morning when Dad got up...he came back into the bedroom fast...and said, "remember that noise from last night...well you're not going to be happy. Evidently he hadn't gone past the kitchen...when he was checking on the noise...the previous night. So I got up...and as I walked into the kitchen...I glanced towards the dining room...and saw the crystal chandelier on top of the DR table. It had fallen from the ceiling connection...and onto the table...smashing a decorative Fall centerpiece...and breaking several of the crystal prisms...and chipping many of them too. The angled glass...also made a lot of dents and divots...in the table's pad...which fortunately... allowed the surface of the wood...to be protected. There were shards of glass everywhere. It was a mess to clean up...and may be an even costlier one...to remedy. Luckily the china... stemware...and the glass doors on the breakfront...were all spared. So it'll be a small thank you on Turkey Day for that.

We will be fifteen at Con's...on this Thanksgiving Day...and could have been a few more...if only. I miss you son.

I will make some requested "Italian" staples...the ones you also liked...to go along with this holiday meal...but no pasta dish...because as I've been told...then no one would have room for the Turkey. Con always out does herself...so I'm sure it will all be perfect.

God bless you...as you watch over our family...especially those who will be traveling...in order to join us. Also remember our extended family...my sister...Cousins Chris and Joan...and their families...and our dear friends.

I hope you too...will have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

I love you Sal...and you are in my thoughts each day...and in my prayers always.
Mom
October 24, 2019
Dear Son...Today marks another Month's Remembrance Day...13 Years and Nine Months to be exact...and I will be doing...what I do every 24th of the Month...ever since that first one... with one exception this time...as I was given a floral arrangement...from a childhood friend...who asked that I bring it to your resting place...and say a prayer for you...from her.

We were in Staten Island...this past weekend...celebrating S & G's...50th Wedding Anniversary. S was my Maid of Honor...when Dad and I married in '64. Then in '69...when you were 10 months old...she got married...and I was her Matron of Honor. We had grown up together...and as kids we always would say...someday we will "stand up" for each other...that was the expression used...and we did just that.

It was a lovely...and beautifully decorated affair...at an Italian restaurant...and of course...being in NY...the food was authentic and really delicious. S's mom had saved the cake topper...from her THEN Wedding cake... and here it was..half a century later, that same cake topper...atop their NOW "Golden Anniversary" cake.

We were seated with several childhood friends...from our old neighborhood... and the reminiscing and laughing we did...contributed to a wonderful time. They had a DJ playing 50's & 60's rock n roll...and those old songs...brought back some great teen memories...of fun times...and had all of us...up and out on the dance floor...even Dad and I got up to dance.

Their children and grandchildren did them very proud...as each shared their thoughts and feelings about...how much love they felt...and the life lessons they learned...by observing what went on around them...while being raised by their Italian/Irish...immediate and extended family.

Their role models...weren't just their Parents...as they had Grandparents... an old school immigrant GrtGrandmother and a Grand Aunt and a Grand Bachelor Uncle...who either lived with them... visited every Sunday or were at least in shouting distance.

Their three adult children...spoke of the importance of family, respect, traditional values, living the faith, being selfless, and sacrificing, while remembering to also serve the needs of others...in their community. It was what they saw...and related in very heartfelt words...as they gave credit to their roots...and all those who had shaped who they became and are. Their own Dad had been a NYC fireman...and when he retired...he went back to school...to become a nurse...and their Mom had worked in a NY public high school... before her own retirement. Their son.. who is my Godchild...is a NYC Transit Cop...and one of their daughter's was a Physicians' Assistant before she became a school nurse...and their son-in-law is an ICU Doctor.

Their words both thanked and honored their parents...and touched my heart.
They are truly a good family...and we were glad we could be there...to share in their celebration.

For me...not being able to live near family and friends...is a regret that I have...as I had always valued the importance of that interaction...but after marrying it just wasn't meant to be...as Dad's work brought us to VA... and then...to our greatest heartache.

I can only add...that the patients you served...as an Optometrist...in such a short period of time...and the lauding notes we received from them...after your loss...was a testament...not only to your ability...as an eye doctor... but also to you as a person...as they made mention of your caring ways...and your patience...in dealing with them and their families...especially with those of them...who had children with special needs.

If not for what happened to you...at the hands of the FCPD...you could have continued...to be an asset to your profession...and a blessing to your patients...if only...

Again...I'm at square one...of what could have been...if not for them.

Your brother's birthday last week... was one he didn't want to acknowledge. He wouldn't let us take him out for dinner...didn't want to blow out the candles on his cake...and said I couldn't take any pictures. It was a very tough birthday for him...and you and I know the reasons why.

J is doing well at UVA and has adapted to being there...I think...better than your sister has to being a semi-empty nester. I say semi because she still has V at home...but not for long...so thank goodness there is Milo...as a quiet house...is not necessarily what most Mom's really want.

Hopefully C is dealing with all of her challenges...and feels the support of my prayers for her...and her family.

God bless you Sal...as you keep close watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you son...and I miss you so very much. You are in my thoughts... each and every day...and you are in my prayers always.
Mom
September 24, 2019
Dear Salvatore...This "Thirteen Years and Eight Months Remembrance Day"...is once again marked...by another of our Tuesday's...the 713th one...and I will do today...exactly what I have always done...over these years...and will continue to do...in Remembrance of... and on the 24th of each month: go to the florist...make a visit at the St. Joseph statue...attend mass in your memory...and then go to your resting place...to pray...while still asking in disbelief...how could this have happened to you...and our family.

It is also the beginning of the fall season...that you so loved...and that you know...I dread...as it brings to mind...everything...they caused...and that led to what happened to you...and to our family...as we are left with forever changed lives...without you... and are so very brokenhearted.

Well-meaning people say...be grateful for having had him in your life...and that I should be celebrating your life...and while I am thankful to call you my son...and proud of you...and all you managed to accomplish...in so short a time...the fact remains...that you would be here with us...if not for what THEY set into motion...that unnecessarily cost you and us...your life.

You were in your prime...and looking forward to a lifetime of milestones... yet to be realized...and would have been...a part of all that was yet to unfold...for everyone in our family... if only...and then...our world was turned upside down.

Your nieces and nephews...were young children...back then...and now they are grown...teens and young adults... moving on with their lives...as it should be...and while I am happy for them...it also saddens me...that you are not here...to know them...and for them...to know their Uncle Sal.

A parent shouldn't outlive his child.. as that is not the natural order...and the pain of your loss...and what was taken from you...is what I mourn...as I love...and miss you...so very much.

I guess I once more...went where I never intend to...by sharing what is in my heart...and on my mind.

Sal...You know what my concerns are... for each member of our family...so keep a close watch over your sisters.. their families...your brother...and Dad.

May God bless you son...as you rest peacefully...in His perpetual light.

I carry you in my thoughts each day... and in my prayers...always.
Mom
August 24, 2019
Dear Son...On this 13 Years & 7 Months Remembrance Day...I thought I would be attending the noon mass...to offer my intentions for you...but there wasn't any 12 o'clock mass. I think it must be a summer scheduling change...so I just prayed for you...in the alcove that has the Sacred Heart statue...and the Divine Mercy Image. I had always prayed there...long before...what THEY caused to happen...and my prayer was always the same...as I placed my trust in Jesus...to meet my children's needs and...to keep them safe from harm.

I must admit...I now find that prayer harder to say...given these last thirteen plus years...but I still make myself...say that same prayer...for your siblings...and for your nieces and nephews...as I am trying hard...to keep the faith...and the trust.

Afterwards...I prayed at the Saint Joseph statue...leaving one floral arrangement there...and then I visited your resting place...where I left the second floral arrangement.

Recently...there has been a rehashing of...police use of excessive force issues...in the news...and you know how that ALWAYS gets my attention.

Another family...is seeking justice... for their son's 2014 wrongful death... at the hands of an officer...with 13 yrs. on the force...who said the man he was confronting...for selling loose cigarettes that were untaxed...was resisting arrest...so he brought him down...by using a choke hold on him... and even when the man was finally on the ground...and kept saying...I can't breathe...this officer still didn't attempt...to loosen his grip... and he even had his knee...on the man's chest. This was all recorded on a bystander's video...which thanks to technology...could then be viewed by anyone.

So while it was upsetting to watch... and hear the man pleading...about not being able to breathe...as the officer did nothing to release his hold...you would think...that having these scenes unfold...for everyone to view...there would be little...for the blue wagons to counter with...and circle around.

Yet nevertheless...and even though the choke hold is in violation of NYPD rules...because there is something called a seatbelt hold...the powers that be...were trying to CITE IT...in excusing what happened...that resulted in the man's death.

It was noted...that a Staten Island grand jury...after some deliberation.. declined to indict the officer...and the Justice Department said it would not bring...federal civil rights...or criminal charges...against him.

That was until this past week...five years after the incident...when an administrative judge recommended...the officer be terminated...and the NYPD Commissioner said...he would enforce that recommendation...and the officer was fired.

Being an officer for that many years.. one would hope...in all that time... that his training would have better prepared him...for dealing with this type of situation...and perhaps this loss of life...might have been avoided.

It looks like they will never learn... to appreciate how fragile and sacred.. a human life is.

Of course the officer plans to fight his termination...under some civil code article...that allows a challenge to rulings by a government agency.

The officer wants...and would like his job back...but I'm sure...his want and like...pales in comparison...to the family of the man who was killed...as they also...want and would like...to have their son back too.

Only God and the officer know...what really happened...that caused this man's death...and the statement...by the NYPD Commissioner...that there were no victors in this case...is quite shortsighted...as the one man... does get to fight another day...win or lose...and then he can walk away...but it's not so...for the other man...who has been taken from his life...and his family.

Sal...each time an incident resulting in a wrongful death occurs...and they happen more than they should...I am back to square one.

Whether the common denominators are... Unnecessary Force...Lack of Adequate Training...Consequences Not Equal to the Actions Taken...and Justice?... well at least this officer is fired... perhaps only temporarily...pending his appeal of that decision...and its outcome...but I hope in the meantime.. the family of the man...who was wrongfully killed...takes some comfort in the fact...that the officer was... at least fired.

I on the other hand...will wait for that someday...when the final judge... will hold responsible...all those who unnecessarily caused the wrong...that was done to you...and our family.

I'm apologizing to you again...as I never mean to digress...so forgive me for doing so.

What I should have been writing is... today is Dad's birthday...and I know it being on the 24th...will always be a bittersweet date...for all of us.

Thursday your niece J...left for UVA's Engineering School...and I know that her being the last...to leave the nest will be hard for your sister...and brother-in-law. She and Steve have raised three nice girls...and now... it's empty nest time. Maybe Stef's Milo...will be a welcomed distraction or...the many UVA Football Games... that I'm sure they will be attending.

Our family has seen many changes...and I hope you are aware of them too.

I love you Sal...and I miss you so much.

God bless you son...as you rest in His Light...while keep watching over our family too.

You are always in my thoughts...and in my prayers.
Mom
July 24, 2019
Dear Sal...To mark this 13 Yrs. & 6 Months Remembrance Day...I had today's noon mass...which I attended...offered in your memory. After I left church... I went to pick up...my usual monthly floral arrangements...to bring to your resting place...and to the St. Joseph statue.

By coincidence...two days ago...I had come across a photo of you...where you were sitting in the back seat...of your sister's car...and looking down at your newborn niece...who was seated in an infant car seat...and yesterday, that same niece...celebrated her 19th birthday. You had just graduated from SCO...in May of that same year...and happened to be home...when her parents pulled in our driveway...on their way home...from the hospital. It seems like yesterday...and yet so much has happened...since then.

Last night...we spent the evening with Jen...and since she is your brother's Godchild...he joined us too. He made us laugh...as he walked in...playing the theme from the Godfather...as the background...to underscore his wishes for her...in his most impressive impersonation of MB...who played the title role in that movie. Of course she had no idea...what was so funny... because she had never seen...that movie...but I know...you would have thought it quite funny...as you did find most of his antics...more than amusing.

Right now your own Godchild...is on a cruise..celebrating with her husband.. their upcoming one year anniversary... and your eldest G niece...just got back from her honeymoon in Greece. I so wish you could have been here with us...to be a part of all these Life milestones...that continue to unfold. All I can say is...YOU are so very missed.

I pray you are resting peacefully... but somehow still know...what is going on in our family...as you keep watch over each of us.

God bless you son...and know that you are loved...missed beyond words...and in my thoughts...each and every day.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
July 10, 2019
Dear Son..One week ago today...we were packing...to leave for NJ...and Vic's Thursday night rehearsal dinner...and Friday wedding.

We got back from the wedding...late Saturday afternoon...so I was able to attend...the 5 pm mass...that I had previously scheduled...in memory of... the 58th Year...of your Uncle Sal's loss...to our family.

You...Chris...my two nephews...and even your own three nephews...would have benefitted so much from knowing him...if only you could have had him.. in each of your lives. Fortunately...I did see some of his traits...in you... and for that I was grateful. He was an Uncle...to be very proud of...for so many reasons.

Vic was a beautiful bride...and she and her husband...were just beaming with happiness and joy. The entire bridal party...all sixteen of them... was made up of relatives...and very close friends of theirs...from grade school...camp...a blog...college...and work.

Glitter...GOLD...and Sparkles...which Vic can't get enough of... became her wedding "theme" so...the bridesmaids wore gold sequin gowns...while the groomsmen...were in black tuxedos... with I think...gold colored socks.

They were married in a Catholic/Jewish ceremony...by the priest from her parish church in VA...who drove up to NJ...to officiate. A Rabbi gave them a blessing too...and then Zach did their traditional...Breaking of the Glass... symbolizing the absolute finality of the marital covenant...just as our taking of vows do...as we express our intent...our promises...and commitment before God.

It was the first time I witnessed...an interfaith marriage...and the ceremony blended nicely.

The day was sunny...hot...and humid... but at least it didn't rain. Her sisters were her Matron and Maid of Honor...and Your sister...a stunning mother of the bride. She has planned two back to back weddings now...and did an impressive job with both of them. Last year's was more rustic... and delightfully intimate...while this one...was black tie...NY style. The venue...cocktail hour...dinner...and music...was all top notch...and the guests...were ready to party...and they did. Everyone had a great time... and all danced the night away.

Vic had asked me earlier...providing I wouldn't get upset...if it would be ok with me...if she had the band...play through their sound system...an MP3 file of the song...Can't Help Falling In Love...that you had sung...a long time ago...when Dad and I...asked you one night..to come with us to karaoke. Unbeknownst to any of us at the time.. our friend BD...had decided to record you...and afterwards...gave us the CD. It is now...very cherished by me.

Dad provided her with the file...and she had it announced by the band...and it was played...while she and Zach cut into their wedding cake...as I did my best...to hold back the tears.

I love you Sal...and I hope you know.. how very much...you are...and were missed...by all of us.

Con is still on the go...because Jen had to be at UVA...early on Mon...for a two day orientation. She leaves for UVA's Engineering school...sometime in August...and after that...your sister and brother-in-law...will be empty-nesters. I hope then...she will get... some much needed rest.

God bless you son...as you watch over each of us.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
June 24, 2019
Dear Salvatore...As I continue my counting of time...since last having you physically here with us...and no matter how I mark it...whether it is in increments of hours, days, weeks, months, or years...since our world was turned upside down...this "Remembrance Day' marks the...117,600 Hours...or 4900 Days...or 700 Weeks...or 161 Months...or 13 Years & 5 Months...of your loss to us...and I am acutely aware...of how very much I miss you... in any of those moments...that I use...in my marking of "time."

Truth be told...from one day to the next...there are the minutes...and even the seconds...when thoughts of you...and what happened to you...come flooding back to me...sparked by any number of random things...some from out of nowhere...and as it all wells-up inside of me...it makes me want to scream...as loud as I can...until I can't scream anymore...and cry my heart out...with a mother's rage...for what they caused to happen to you.

Because of them...there are no new memories...to be made of you...nor to be a part of...as your life was only just beginning...to unfold...and then...they happened...and caused our greatest grief.

Every Sunday...at Mass...during the Intercessory Prayers...we pray for life...from conception to natural death...and those words...are not wasted on me. Our society has no regard for the sanctity of life. I think of you...and those babies...who never get...or got a chance at life. Then I think of Grandma...who is now 99...and her brother and sister...who are also in their nineties...as longevity...is not foreign to our family...but for those...who stole from you...the many years ahead of you...and for those who disregard the rights of the unborn...I just wonder.. how any of them...in either case..can live with themselves. And yes...I do know...how my thoughts run the gamut.

In your memory...as I have continued to do...I made a visit to Church this morning...and I left flowers...at the Statue...and afterwards...at your resting place.

At the end of this week...we are going to NY...to attend a memorial service.. for my cousin's son...who was also called back home...much too soon...and much too young. I am heartbroken for his parents...and his sister...since I also know...losing a child...is a parent's worst nightmare...and too... what the loss of a brother...also means for a sister. Your own siblings know that grief too. It is all so untimely and unfair...to all concerned.

As soon as we get back...it will only be a few days...before we will be heading up again...this time to NJ... for your niece's wedding. Not looking forward to the July 4th traffic...but that's the way it is. I pray...that you will be watching over all of us... and that somehow you will know...just how much you are loved...being thought about...and missed.

God Bless you Sal...as you rest in His perpetual light...and thank you for watching over our family...and again for that "sign"...that touched my soul...this evening.

I hold you close in my thoughts...and in my heart.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
June 16, 2019
Dear Son...Today is Father's Day...and because we also celebrate GODfathers too...I pray that you're having A Very Blessed GODfather's Day.

In addition to keeping watch over your sisters and their families..I ask that you also keep a special watch...over the two...who made you a GODparent... Chris and Stef.

We no longer spend this Day the way we once did...because over the years...as our family has grown up... different priorities...are having to be considered...as there are now other Dad's too...who need to spend time... with their own immediate families. So much has changed...and it all started with our New Normal.

This past Sunday...when I was visiting you...a young man came over to me... flowers in hand...and asked me if I remembered him. I hadn't yet seen... the lady with two small children...who was also coming around...the other side of the path. When I said No," he said "I'm Jen T's husband"...and when I looked up...and finally saw her...I knew exactly who they were. They said that whenever...they visit their baby daughter...who is resting...in the Garden of Angels...or their Granddad.. they also come by...to leave flowers for Doc.

She was a sweet asset to you...as your receptionist...and she told me how much...she owed to you...as you taught her...what she needed to know...about running an office and practice...and that she was...and will always be very grateful to you...because she is still these many years later...working in that same capacity...thanks to what she learned from you.

I remember...how caring and kind...she and her Mom were...in accommodating us...when we were in shock...and didn't have a clue about what should be done...re the closing of your two offices..or with your patients' charts and records...or where we should store them...and other things...until we could gather ourselves...and try to think clearly...after what had just happened to you...and our family. Without missing a beat...she and her Mom...kindly offered to store everything...in a spare room they had in their home...and we were very thankful...for the compassion they showed us...as well as the assistance.

One never knows...what life has in store for any of us...or why one life crosses another's path...nor the impact it will have on us. What I do know...is...I was saddened to learn... that now...Jen too...knows firsthand.. the grief of a mom...who has lost a child. I will keep her baby...her family...and her mother...in my daily prayers.

Thanks for the sign today...

I love you Sal...and I miss you beyond words.

God bless you...and know that you are in my daily thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
May 24, 2019
Dear Sal...Dad and I were at 8:30 mass this morning...on this Thirteen Years and Four Months Remembrance Day.

I had lots to do today...so I left mass...a wee bit early...and went to the florist...for my usual 2 floral arrangements...and because the St. Joseph statue has been returned...I will leave one of them...at its base.

Not too pleased with the restoration that was done...because they changed the finish...from its original smooth bronzed look...to a muddy shade...of I don't know what...and to boot...it has some type of sandy finish. It looks like what happens to you...when you come out of the ocean...and the sand sticks to you. Not a fan...although I am trying...to get a hold of the man who did the repairs...because I want to ask him...if this finish was chosen because it may weather the outdoors...better than the original finish did...but who knows...and so far...I haven't been able to reach him by phone. For some reason...they also sanded...the smooth finish on the plaque...which was fine as it was. I guess someone decided..it should match this new sandy look...and now it looks like...it was marred by a sandstorm... which left a lot of tiny white pitted marks...on its surface.

The plan was to restore it...like it originally was...and if they weren't able to...it would then be replaced... with a newly cast statue. I am hoping this is not...the newly cast one... because...I'm not liking it...and it also would have been nice...to be informed...before someone else...gave it the ok.

Dad's adage of...turn the page and press on...isn't mine. You know me... I want to find out...what happened and why.

We were at Dad's 55th West Point reunion...this past weekend...and returned home Wednesday night. On the way up...we stopped to visit with Aunt Cookie...and Grandma Marie. It's sad to see the toll...that growing old has taken...on some of our family members.

On Sunday...they had the sign in...and on Monday we all visited the WP cemetery...to remember...to pray for.. and to pay our respect...to those in the Class of '64...who are at rest there...after either losing their lives in Viet Nam...or to the effects of Agent Orange related illnesses.

Since this is also the Memorial Day Weekend...I pray that...God will bless all those who have served...and made the ultimate sacrifice...in the name of protecting our country...and its freedoms.

We spent the weekend...doing a lot of caravan bus riding...because the Classes of '44...'49...'59...'64... and '69...were also having their own milestone reunions...so we had to stay 35 mins from the Academy. There was only one former cadet..in attendance and representing the Class of '44's... 75th Year reunion...and it also was his 98th Birthday.

There was a beautifully touching memorial service...held in the very impressive Cadet Chapel...for all of the fallen Class of '64 classmates. It was a very touching and heartfelt service...and the singing of their Alma Mata aka the "Corps"...by the Old Grads Choir was very moving...to tears for most.

On a more pleasant note...it was good to see Dad's former classmates...and their wives. We had a great time and a lot of laughs. Dad was in his zone.. as he got to entertain with his list of Sinatra songs...on Sun...Mon...and Tuesday night...and it was by request. He got a lot of compliments too.

You and Chris...and for that matter Cyn...and Con too...can credit him for your singing talents too. A few of Cyn's children are also musically talented...playing instruments and even composing...in addition to also having nice voices too. Vic did a duet with Dad a while back...and she too has a powerful voice and can hit those notes.

We just got back from your sister's house...where we were helping to put the personalized labels...on some of the items that will be going into the gift boxes...for the hotel guests at Vic's wedding. Dad and Chris got measured for their tuxes and it went well...so they said. The fitting for your niece's gown also turned out fine. So things are falling into place...and I.. so wish you were here with us...to be a part of it.

God bless you Salvatore...and rest easy...as you keep watch over our family.

You are loved...very missed...thought about...not forgotten...and you are in my prayers...always.

.
Mom
May 12, 2019
Dear Son...It's another bittersweet Mother's Day...the fourteenth...since our entire family was last together on this day...and that's because of them...and what they caused to happen.

When I visited you today...I saw a young man...placing flowers at his mother's resting place...and he was visibly upset...so I said..."I'm sorry for your loss...and I know...it's not the place you want to be at...on this day...and he nodded in agreement. It's hard to lose your Mom...and harder still...for a Mom...to have to visit her child...in this place...and on this day. There are no easy answers to anyone's...why.

Your sister and her family...had a wedding to attend yesterday...and she wasn't sure...what time they'd be back today...so I won't get to see them either. Your brother prefers staying home...so Dad and I...will drive down to Winchester...to meet your other sister...and take her and her children out to dinner.

Although there is beautiful scenery on the drive down...the low ceiling of clouds and rainy weather today...isn't going to lend to an otherwise lovely view of the valley. So it will be a triple whammy...dreary weather...a quiet ride...and that "new normal"... that has been foisted on us.

I so wish things were different...but wishing doesn't change what is.

Almost forgot to mention...how lovely Vic's Bridal Shower was...thanks to all the preparation...and care to detail...that her Mom expended...along with Stef and Jen...and some visiting relatives...who all joined in making it...a very wonderful day for her. Of course she looked stunning...and was beyond happy...even the weather was beautiful. Now the question is...will she have room...for all the gifts she received? Her parents...are certainly hoping so!

Keep watching over our family...and know that...you are loved...and very missed...by each of us.

God bless you Sal..as I hold you close in my thoughts..in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
April 24, 2019
Dear Salvatore...I thought I was going to noon mass today...in your memory... and then to the florist...before driving to FMP...on this "Thirteen Years and Three Months Remembrance Day"...but instead...I sat in the church...along with many others...for over twenty minutes...praying...while while waiting for mass to begin...but the priest who was to offer the mass.. evidently didn't get the memo...that it was his to say...and so...after placing one of the flowers...at the feet of the inside St. Joseph statue...I left along with some other parishioners.

The grounds at FMP...are very lovely.. especially on a bright and beautiful, weather-wise...day like this one is... so much so...that it's looks like one should be having a picnic...on their lawn...and because I know...how much you enjoyed fall weather and early spring...since neither of these seasons are hot or humid...I am very aware of the changes...these two times of the year bring to this setting...as everything is now blooming...or as in the Fall...when the changing colors are spectacular...and so it makes... that walk up the path...and the reason why...all the more upsetting.

You had so many more days...ahead of you...yet...because of them...and what they caused...time was taken away from you...and I will never forgive any of them...for what they caused you...and our family to suffer. I know...I shouldn't go there...so...

We had a pleasant Easter Day...and Con and Steve worked very hard...to make it comfortable for everyone. Your sister set a beautiful table...and again outdid herself with the food she served. They are quite the host and hostess. I got to see Vic's formal engagement photos...and met Milo...who is so cute...that he looks fake.

Cyn's three children...drove up and then spent the night...at our house.

The evening ended a bit earlier than usual...which was fine with me...as I prefer these holidays...to be over as quickly as possible...and your sister also needed to relax. Your brother also arrived a little late...and left early...as he is still a bit under the weather...as the pollen is continuing to be the culprit.

Now the focus is on the last minute details...as Vic's bridal shower...is this Saturday. Con has been working very hard...to make it memorable for her...in every way.

There is something going on almost every weekend...for them...from now until the July wedding.

I hope you are aware of all that is... and will be...taking place...but more importantly...just know how much you are missed...thought about...and loved.

Keep watching over our immediate family...extended family...and dear friends.

God bless you Sal...as you rest in His perpetual light.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
April 21, 2019
Dear Son...Today is Easter Sunday... and it's the fourteenth one...without you... which causes me...like all the holidays do...to want it to be over... as quickly as possible. I know that may sound objectively selfish...but this "new normal" hurts...and it's how I feel.

We went to the 10:30 mass...which I had scheduled to be said...for this day...in memory of both sides of our family...when I couldn't get the specific dates...that I wanted...as they had already been taken. No matter how early in the year...I get to the rectory...it's always an uncertainty...re the scheduling of masses.

We visited your resting place...and I left a Lily plant...with Easter egg decorations...but again...not how I ever expected it to be.

We're going to have dinner with Con... and her family...and two of Cyn's sons...may drive up to join us. You would be amazed at how tall they are.

Dad and Chris have both been on meds.. and are now feeling better...so thankfully...they won't be the cause.. for anyone else...to catch what they may have had.

This season's pollen...has been really awful...causing all kinds of breathing related issues...and that's thanks to Virginia...being the allergy mecca.

I pray that your Easter is a blessed one...and I thank you...for watching over our family.

I love you Sal...and I miss you so very much.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
April 14, 2019
Dear Sal...Today is Palm Sunday...and Dad as usual...made his braided crosses...to give to family members... so when we visited your resting place this morning...I taped the one he made on your nameplate...and placed another plain piece of palm...from me...in your flower arrangement.

While we were at FMP...we also visited a classmate of Dad's...Frank Knight... who is interred there too. This is the weekend...that the Class of '64... is visiting all their classmates...who have passed on...and while many are at rest in Arlington National Cemetery... the class also reaches out to resident classmates...from other states...and asks that they make a visit...to whichever classmates...may be buried in close proximity...to where those surviving classmates live. When we go up to West Point in May...for the 55th Year Class Reunion...there will be visits made...to those classmates who are buried at the Academy. None of them is forgotten...as they rest in God's eternal peace.

The burial site we were going to visit...is still unmarked at this time...so we had to search for it. A man who was visiting his 26 yr. old son's resting place...offered to help us. We did eventually find it...said some prayers...and left a braided palm cross on the grass. The man who helped us...had been placing balloons on his son's marble marker...since today was his birthday. He said his son was killed...in a 2014 Florida car accident...when another driver hit his son's car. Coincidentally, like your sister Cyn...he was also a graduate of JMU...but in 2009. I told him we too had lost a young son...and know and understand his grief. To lose a child no matter the circumstances...or age...is the most unbearable loss. There is no mending of a parent's broken heart...ever.

Last Wednesday...Sacred Spaces sent one of their staff...to St. Michael's in order to remove...the Saint Joseph statue...which has been peeling and cracking...in several places...over the last year or so. It was shipped to NY where the restoring will take place...and if it's beyond repair... they said they will cast...and replace it with a new one. Now we wait.

Today the Bethlehem Carving Group was outside of church...selling their hand carved olive wood statues, crosses and rosary beads. This Christian olive wood carving market...is a major source of income...with more than 80% of the community dependent on it...and it's sad to know...that the Christian population in the Holy Land...has dropped from 37% to less than 1% within the last 60 years. So of course I made my share of purchases...and bought a small boy-looking praying angel...for Grady's upcoming First Communion and Confirmation...a small wooden cross...for your Godchild to put above the door of her apartment... and a carving of the Holy Family... that is also destined to be a gift. So let's just say...that my Lenten alms-giving...has been satisfied...although Dad did attempt the..."didn't you buy enough stuff last year." Knowing me...you know the answer to that.

God Bless You Son...as you keep watching over...your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you...and I miss you...as I pray that you have...A Very Blessed and Happy Palm Sunday.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
March 24, 2019
My Dear Son...Today marks the..."13 Years and 2 Months Remembrance Day"... as I keep counting...how long it has been...since I last saw you...or heard your voice.

I think of your last words to me... which were of concern...for my well-being...but who would have thought... that they would become...the last from you...for me to remember. I miss you so much...

I offered my mass intentions for you this morning...and afterwards I prayed for you...at the St. Joseph statue... before visiting your resting place.

Sal...that walk up the path...breaks my heart each time...and with every step I take...I know it always will... for as long as I am here.

I keep asking the powers that be...why and how did this happen...when you had a lifetime ahead of you...in which you may have married...and had a family... but that too was stolen from you...and from us. I have many questions...that I hope will be answered...someday.

I feel both proud of you...for what you were able to accomplish...in so short a time...but also sad...that you weren't allowed to have more time... for yourself...and to be with us too.. on this side of heaven.

I was told...that I shouldn't still be grieving...as though it's a process subject to a time constraint...or that you wouldn't want me to feel as I do.. and instead I should be celebrating your life...but none of that advice came from a parent...who knows the loss of a child. Those of us who walk this path...understand one another. While life does go on...it can never be the same as it once was...so we all learn to take...one day at a time...as best as we can...but I guess this day...for a host of reasons...was a particularly sad one for me...because this "new normal" is anything but..and never will be.

I love you son...and I hope that you are resting in peace...as God blesses you...for who you are...and were...to so many of us...who were blessed to have had you...in our lives.

Please keep watching over your sisters and their families...your brother... and...Dad.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
March 19, 2019
Dear Salvatore Joseph...First, I pray that you will have a blessed Saint Joseph's Day/Name Day...since Joseph is the middle name you chose...at your Confirmation.

Looking back...on both sides of our families...Joseph is the middle name.. for so many of our male relatives...so I think it was...the expected name to choose...at Confirmation...and because of that...will forever link each of you...who carried or will continue to carry...what has apparently become... our family's traditional middle name.. in honor of St. Joseph.

I remember my maternal...and paternal Grandmothers...and Dad's too...praying to San Giuseppe...to watch over their families...and it was funny... because they considered him Italian. They also thought every singer and entertainer they heard...was Italian too...and even when they weren't...my Grandmother Olimpia...would pronounce their names as though they were...by either adding a vowel...to the end of the name...or completely changing the surname...to an Italian one...and then in her best broken English...Jackie Gleason...became Jacka Scalise...and Milton Berle...Mitza Boo. I don't remember the other names...but they were all gems...and said sincerely... which made them even funnier.

The groundskeepers were doing spring cleanup...at FMP from March 1 to the 15th...so on St. Patrick's Day...I was able to return to your resting place.. all that I had to remove...prior to that time frame.

Your sister and your niece...have been very busy...so the list of still to do"...is getting smaller...as they prepare for the upcoming wedding. So much has changed and happened over these past years...but the constant is...I miss you so much...and wish you could be here with us.

God bless you son...as you continue to watch over...your sisters and their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you Sal...and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
February 24, 2019
Dear Son...At mass this morning...I offered my intentions for you...on this Thirteen Years and One Month Remembrance Day.

While I was visiting you today...I ran into Ryan's mom...and she reminded me that March 1...is the day...that all the flowers...at FMP have to be removed...so that the grounds crew... can begin the spring cleanup. It is amazing how quickly time passes...from one season to another for some things...and as I've said before... while still seeming to stand still for other reasons.

One of your brother's grade school friends...was married yesterday...and I believe he is the first from that immediate group to settle down...so it was nice that all those who are still single...could get together to share in this milestone celebration. Of course...your brother said he is staying single...and he is grateful that a few of his buds are of that mind set too...because as he likes to think...he will still have them to hang around with...but if Ms. Right comes along for any of them...little does he realize...how quickly his thinking will have to change.

Your sister said it's been an awful week for her...starting with the snow...then school closing due to a potential threat by a disgruntled student...her daughter getting sick...a ceiling leak down at the beach house...and ending with her having a freaky kind of accident. Hopefully, this next week will be better.

Please continue to keep a close watch over our family...near and far.

I love you son...and you're always in my thoughts.

God bless you Salvatore...as you rest peacefully in His perpetual light.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
January 24, 2019
Dear Salvatore...It's a rainy and very dreary Thursday...that marks this 13th Year Remembrance Day.

I will be attending...today's noon mass...which is being offered in your memory...and afterwards...I will drive to the florist...to pick up the two arrangements...I ordered. I will take one to you...and the other...I will leave at the St. Joseph statue.

Last weekend's snow...coupled with the recent freezing temperatures...left the vase area..at your resting place.. very hard to shovel...and clear...so while I was there again...on our Tuesday...I did try once more...to remove whatever I could.

A man I had seen a couple of times before...but hadn't run into in a long while...was there visiting his wife. As I kept chipping away at the ice... he said hello...and added that...he thought he had remembered meeting me before...so he asked me if I was your mother. When I said yes...he told me that he thought so...and that every time he visits his wife...he always stops to say a prayer for "Doctor Sal." He said he had read about what happened at the time...and that it still made him both sad...and angry... because it was a senseless and avoidable loss...of such a young and promising life. He said he had often thought about us...and wondered...how we may have been...not having seen us in some time...since his visits...were not as frequent as ours...and that... he was very happy to finally see me again. He offered to help me shovel... but it was just too frozen. We spoke for a bit...and then he left. I continued to try...to clear a spot... so that the flowers...I had ordered for today...would have a flat surface to rest on...but I had to give up... and I left hoping...that the predicted 50 degree temperature...that was forecasted for today...would help me.. in my next attempt.

I did have to delay today's visit...a couple of hours...because it was pouring...and since the weatherman had said...it would start to clear by mid-afternoon...that's when I left. As soon as I got to FMP...the rain had stopped...the sun was shining...and the snow and ice...that I had been so concerned about...had thankfully melted. Although the temp had already started to drop...from the morning high of 58 degrees...when we had the rainstorm...the winds started to pick up...but I was grateful...to have the space needed...in which to leave the flowers.

Thank you for the visit...the other night...even if it was only in a dream. This is just the third time... that has happened...in all these years. I think of you all the time... but for some reason...even though so many other people I know...say they dream of their lost loved ones quite often...I haven't had that happen to me...even though...I wish it would.

I received a book of poems...as a Christmas gift...from a very dear and thoughtful cousin. It was written by a young father..in the form of forty letters...writing one each week...of his wife's pregnancy...but meant for...his unborn child.

The poems are described as gifts... lessons...slices of joy...maps for how we build a life...for how we work and learn...how we love...and how we remember. The poet is the son of Sofia Loren and Carlo Ponti.

He also recounts...a few of his childhood interactions...that became a part...of his most cherished memories.

And for reasons...known only to him... he was evidently, and indelibly impacted...by the thought provoking... answers to his questions...as well as that of his brother's question...and they prompted reflection...in those moments...and I would say beyond...as his poetry shows a keen awareness...of what it means..to embrace with love...and appreciation...the greatest journey of all: parenthood...which changes Everything...as Fear and Love live side by side...and becoming responsible for another's life...for whom you want...happiness and safety.. from beginning to end...then requires you...to totally trust your instincts...as you learn to truly love unconditionally...in the undertaking of a never ending responsibility.

I wanted...for you...that very same happiness and safety...but wanting... doesn't always mean getting.

I continue to pray...and ask that your siblings...nieces and nephews...will be blessed with happiness and safety. I just hope that He hears...and will listen to my prayers.

Back to the memories...

His first alluded to memory occurred.. while he was walking through an old orchard...and met an old man...tending to the ripening of his peaches...and as he turned each peach towards the sun...for its warmth to perfect it... the boy couldn't resist asking the man...Does God exist...and the old man...stopped what he was doing...and said...Listen...To say that God exists might be a lie...But to say He doesn't is an even bigger one...and just like that...the man returned to his task... where he was depending on the sun...to fulfill another of its purposes. (My thought...The SON...is really the One in charge...of perfecting everything.. if only we all would recognize that... and turn to Him...the sooner...the better.)

A second memory stored by him...was when he asked his father...why he didn't have any hair on his head...and his father said...Would you rather have a full head of hair...Or a full head of dreams. This redirect of his son's question...was evidently a perfect one...since the son remembered it...and it appears to have lent...to his thoughts processing...all the possibilities that having dreams...and then pursuing them...makes them attainable...and to some degree...this boy has fulfilled many of his...and they are now his reality. You did much the same...until your dreams were taken from you.

The third memory he noted...was when his brother...asked their mother...Why do people have to die...and she said.. There are questions that only exist... To be asked...Never answered. That's not so...as I know many parents...and that includes me...who expect to ask and receive...that answer...to that very question...some day...when we are reunited...with those we have loved... and lost...all too soon...too young... and in tragic circumstances.

I don't take issue with the old man's reasoning...as our family has been blessed...with the gift of faith...and because we have always believed in God...that question...that is only meant...To be asked...Never answered.. is already addressed..as it too...is based in our faith...but will be even more specifically answered...in His time...and when it finally...becomes our time too.

I did like the head full of dreams response...and it saddens me to know...that You were just beginning... to realize some of your dreams...and you had so many more...you could have accomplished...if given the time. I am so sorry...that your dreams...were all stolen from you...by them.

There was one more lesson in this book...that spoke to me.

It said...You will fail...Life will go on. Your heart will break...Life will go on. You will lose...Life will go on.

But it didn't say...You will mourn and grieve...Life will go on. That is because...the Life that goes on...will not be the same as it was before...no, instead...it will be forever changed.. as we parents who have lost children.. now know.

It continued saying...Wear these moments with dignity...the way one wears an impossible medal. Because the taller the hurdle...The deeper Life's belief...You can clear it. So when Pain overwhelms you...Be flattered. When Injustice befalls you...Be flattered. When Life seems to turn against you...Be flattered. It's Her way of showing...How much faith She has (in the individual). I just wish that everyone in our family...wouldn't have had to identify...with that kind of flattery.

My heart aches for you...and for my other children too...but I must stop dwelling...so...

Your sister is still healing...and is now trying...to tie up some loose ends re your niece's upcoming July wedding.
They are also anxious to hear...from the college of choice...for your niece J. She has received a scholarship from one of her choices...an acceptance to the out of state one...also JMU...and hopefully she will soon get...good news...re her first choice.

Here's to hoping...and praying...but then again...what will be...will be.

Your other sister...is very busy on so many fronts...that I don't know how she manages all of it...but with the help of God...she seems to smile through it all.

Your brother is wanting...to get in shape...but I'm not quite sure how much effort...will go into that want. He has an end of February wedding to attend...and time is getting close... so we shall see how it goes.

I love you son...and you know...how very much...you are missed...by all of us.

God bless you Sal...as you keep watch over both...our immediate...and extended family...as well as your friends...and...ours.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
January 8, 2019
Dear Salvatore...Today is our 676th Tuesday...as I continue to mark them. I know it may seem strange to do that, but it's who I am...and how I cope.

The memory of that night and all its aftermath...will stay with me...until the day when I will see you again... what else can I say.

Dad received an email from the DCP today...and forwarded it to me. It said...

Hello Mr. C...I hope this email finds you well. It has been a while since I saw you but I was thinking of you and Mrs. Culosi over the holidays and again today and wanted to write and say hello and let you know that you are in my thoughts. I pray your holiday was blessed and that all is going well with you both. I hope that one day our paths will cross again. Take care.
LtCol.TR

These are Dad words in response to his...

Col. R...Thank you for thinking of us during this special time of the holiday season, which is especially difficult for us as we continue to try to do our best to live in the world we have and not the one we wish we had.

Again I thank you for all your efforts to improve the FCPD. I take some comfort in knowing that the passing of my son has helped to create improved policies in the FCPD.

I also look forward to our paths crossing again. I just could not bring myself to accept SBs invitations to several events that were scheduled during this time of the year.

Thanks again for thinking of us and may you have a happy and productive year.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you make FCPD the best it can be!

SC

You know me...so you know what I was thinking as I read this response...and now I must also say...I wish I had known about this before...rather than after that exchange.

Although I found Lt.Col. T.R. to have a warm demeanor back then...and his current email caring and thoughtful... it also gave me pause.

I wondered if he also sent an email... to the UCDet D.B...or the SWAT/Det. D.V.B....reaching out to them too...as they were...the very ones...thanks to those horrendous 2006 FCPD policies... protocols...and training...then able to implement that unnecessary...over excessive show of force operation... with no margin for error...while putting you in harm's way...and at risk...which then led to your life being stolen from you...and to our family's grief...at your loss to us.

I did back then...at his deposition... get an attempted "I'm sorry about Sal"...from D.B...but couldn't bring myself to accept his offered hand... since he was the very one...who had been deceptive...and entrapped you... but DVB never even looked at me...when he was being deposed...which I felt then...and now too...was the sign of a guilty conscience.

When you can't look someone in the eye...it is usually because a lie is being told. My opinion remains...that he didn't speak the truth...about how it happened...and therefore...he couldn't look at me...but he did know just what needed to be said...on that night...for him to get a pass.

I am also thinking about the Master's family...as well as J. Geer's...after all...we all have been victims of a tragic loss...that took place at their hands...and were avoidable too. Has anyone reached out to them...these many years later?

Meaning well...has come too late...for me. I broke my promise to you...for lack of Dad's support...and his "we lose even if we win"...because you weren't coming back...and his stress level having run its course...left me questioning myself...about how much longer...our journey for justice would take...after the five years...it had then taken...to finally get a court date.

I must be a very different kind of creature...as I so wanted to keep my promise to you...of seeing DVB in court...giving an unbelievable account of what took place...the justice owed you served...and my promise to you kept...regardless of what a jury would choose to believe...or not. But that didn't happen.

I am and will be forever sorry...that I didn't stand my ground..and I regret it...every day.

I didn't know I would be writing on this page today...but since there are no coincidences...I guess that email as well intentioned as it may have been...was by design...and it tapped into the fact...that my gut still has spilling to do.

I remember Chief R back then...saying to us...it was a "zero sum" for everyone...but he was so wrong... as all of those who cost you and us...your life...are still here...living their lives...while we are left...to grieve and mourn...the most unbearable loss...that only parents...who have also buried a child...can understand.

I love you son...and I miss you each and every day.

God bless you Sal...as you keep close watch over everyone in our family...and thank you for hearing my concerns...as she heals.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
January 2, 2019
David Hoang
January 1, 2019
Dear Sal...This New Year's Eve...was suppose to be a very quiet one...as both your sisters...are dealing with serious responsibilities...that warranted their complete attention... and that was most understandable... reasonable...and very necessary...as one is heading again to Chicago...this week...and you know what that means... and the other...is also coping with... serious family health issues too. So we were all going to stay home...to regroup...and hope for the best.

As it turned out...since both your nieces...had previously made other plans anyway...it was a good decision.

Then I got a text...from your two younger nephews...who wanted to know.. if it was ok...for them to drive up... to spend the eve with us. Of course, as long as it was fine...with their Mom...I said sure. So we had a nice dinner with them...and they were happy to take the ride...and see the New Year in with us.

I did text the girls...and wished both your sisters...a Happy New Year...by phone. Unfortunately...your brother managed to sleep through this one... since he had stayed up...most of the night before. To say we have learned to go with the flow...is exactly what has happened...ever since we had that first "new normal"...which changed not only our holiday get togethers...but our family...forever.

Your nephew Michael...who was given your name as his middle name...and then took your Confirmation name...as his too...told me...that because there are two other Michael's besides him... where he works...the name being called in triplicate...was causing too much confusion...so he volunteered to be called Sal...and his name tag says just that. I thought that was a good solution...and it made me smile.

I hope you have a very blessed year son...and know that I was thinking of you...at midnight too.

God bless you...as you keep watch over your sisters...your brother...your four nieces...three nephews...and Dad.

I need a special intercession...from you...especially on Thursday.

I love you Salvatore...and I miss you. You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 25, 2018
Dear Son...First let me say...I hope you had a Very Blessed Christmas Day.

Your sister outdid herself once more.. and prepared and served an excellent dinner...which was also prefaced by an over the top brunch...so we weren't sure...if anyone would even be hungry by dinner time. As always there was way too much food...and as Jen calls them..."food comas"...were had by at least a couple...of the overeaters.

We played several board games...and a couple of card games...in addition to opening gifts...in order to pass the time...between the courses...and it would have been an even nicer time... if I didn't contribute to a few of the oops.

I did manage to...although I didn't mean to...offend your niece...with my Grandmotherly...observations and commentary. Maybe someday...I will learn...that my genuine concerns for each of their well beings...should be kept to myself...or at least my words should be chosen more carefully...and tempered better. Fortunately we did get past the hurt feelings.

Before we left...I was wanting to help clear up...and I somehow managed to drop a bowl...that I was taking out of the dishwasher...which then caused a chip in the black granite countertop. So tomorrow...I will be looking for a repair person...who hopefully has the ability to fix it.

I feel terrible that it happened...but it was an accident...and I will try to remedy it.

To say I was in a distracted and sad mood today...is an understatement...so perhaps...that is why I wasn't the best...that I might have been.

Anyway...I love you...and all of my family...and I can only hope that when there is a next time...I will do a better job...of...let's say...going with the flow...and blending.

Sal...keep watching over our family... and all of their needs and concerns.

You are very missed...and I pray for you...always.
Mom
December 24, 2018
Dear Salvatore...It's Christmas Eve... and today also marks...this 12 Years and 11 Months Remembrance Day...of a loss...that no parent should ever have to know.

Four Sunday's ago...I brought an Advent wreath to your resting place... fully intending, to light one of its four candles...while offering the prayers...that symbolize the meaning of each candle being lit...during this penitential season...and the remaining weeks...leading up to Christmas Day.

I lit the first one...and said the prayers...but on the second Sunday visit...the candle I was expecting to light...as I would be offering that prayer...was missing...along with the other three. So I removed the wreath, and chose not to replace any of the candles...not wanting to have that happen again...in the remaining two weeks that were left. I don't know what prompts anyone...to be so disrespectful...of others' religious practices...and it is both aggravating and disheartening...but indicative of the world we now know.

When we visit you tomorrow...I will bring the decorated tree...that will begin the 12 days of Christmas...and hopefully it will remain there...in tact...at least through the Octave... which ends on January 1...and better still if it goes undisturbed...until January 6th...which is the Feast of the Epiphany...when the 12 Days of Christmas...are actually over...then that might be considered...a minor victory...given the past history.

One of your sisters is preparing for this holiday dinner...while the other will be staying home...tending to her family's needs...which makes for one more of our new normal gatherings... as we keep adjusting to get through... what is.

The wood carvers of Bethlehem were selling their religious articles... outside the church yesterday...so I bought a beautifully hand-carved statue of St. Joseph holding Jesus. The statue is made of olive wood... from Bethlehem...and has very detailed and intricate markings. The money raised by these purchases...helps to support the carvers...who now make.up the less than...one percent of the Christians who live in the Holy Land. It is a true piece of art...and in addition bears a name...that is a very meaningful one to me. The name Joseph is dear to me...because not only is it your Confirmation name...but you have Great-Grandparents on both sides of our family...along with both of your own Grandfathers...your Uncle... and your brother...who also took that name...for their Confirmations...as well.

We were at Con's this evening...and will be there tomorrow too.

I ask again...that you keep very close watch...over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

God bless you son...and know that you are loved...and missed...by each of us.

You are in my thoughts and...in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 17, 2018
My Precious Sal...Today would have marked your 50th Birthday...and we would have had a family celebration... but because of them...that joy was stolen from us.

I attended the noon mass...that I had scheduled for you...and afterwards...I visited your resting place. It's not how I would have wanted...to celebrate you...and this day.

When I got to FMP...I was surprised to see that Dad had made a visit...as he usually...doesn't even get out of the car...when I visit you on Sundays. He had left a poem for you...in which he expressed..how he copes...with the grief of your loss...and his hopes of seeing you again.

There was also a floral arrangement... for your "milestone" birthday...left for you by your big sister...or should I say...left for you by your "idol." Cyn was likely at mass...praying for you...and your brother...thinking of you...and missing "his best friend."

My thoughts are running the gamut... from all that could have been by now.. and what actually is. I'm heartbroken.

At today's mass...which was offered by Fr. B...the pastor's rule about NOT announcing the name...of the person for whom the mass is being said...was again carried out. So to hear the Gospel of Matthew...listing all the names in Christ's genealogy...read aloud...one by one...well...I guess some of my thoughts...should be left unsaid.

Yesterday at mass...Fr. D's homily was about the third Sunday of Advent... Gaudete Sunday as it is called...and while the liturgical color...for Advent is purple or violet...on this Sunday...pink or rose may be used... which are both more uplifting colors.

The reason is...that even in the midst of this penitential season...we are able to find joy...at the coming of the Lord.

He then went on to say...that Joy is often confused with happiness...but there is a big difference between the two.

Happiness is something that comes from without...from external conditions... and because of this...can be fleeting.

Joy, however, is an internal condition that radiates from within...knowing that one is unconditionally loved... and that nothing else...can take such love away. He said that even in the midst of sorrow...one can still be joyful.

Blessed are they who mourn, our Lord tells us...in the Beatitudes, and what that means...he said...is that "we mourn only because we love."...and how empty and cold would our lives be...if we never knew mourning...because we had never loved. He continued to say.. even in the midst of mourning...there is the joy of knowing love. He said.. people of great Faith...are better able...to weather the tragedies of life...exactly because they have that joy...that comes from within...rather than the happiness from without.

He said at this time of year...there is an increase in the amount of people suffering from depression...and it is because of all the focus...on the exterior...and superficial ways of celebrating Christmas...while forgetting Christ...and when we take our eyes off of Christ...like Peter on the waves...we begin to sink. But when focusing our hearts on Christ... we begin to experience this joy... which will see us through every adversity.

He ended by saying...in the midst of the hustle and bustle of preparing...for the celebration of Christmas...we should now pause...and instead of thinking of all that we have yet to do...we should instead... reflect on all that Christ has already done for us.

I listened to his words...and I while I do appreciate the message...and I am grateful to God...for blessing me with your sisters, you, and your brother... I wish YOU could have still been here...with all of us...and that our family...didn't have to be among the Blessed who mourn...despite the joy...he spoke of...just because we have loved so deeply...and which is now...in direct proportion to how much we mourn...your loss to us.

I saw a birthday card that said...To My Son...From the time you were born.. I worried and wondered...about whether or not...I was being the best parent I could be. Did I make you feel special, or important? Your sisters and brother might have an opinion about that. Did I make enough time...for the little things..like laughter and hugs...and simple everyday moments.

And even when we disagreed...and we did on some matters...did you always know I loved you?

Sal...of all the things I've done in my life...one thing I would never change...is having you for a son...and if I didn't always say it...I hope I always showed it. I am proud to be your mom...and I love you so very much.

I pray...that you are having...A Very Peaceful and Blessed Birthday...in the company of Nan...Gramps...my brother.. and your friends.

May God bless you abundantly...my dear son...on this very special day.

Please keep a very close watch...over your siblings...and Dad.

Con...and Cyn...are both going through a particularly stressful time....and you know my concerns...and all that is in my heart.

I miss you Salvatore...and I carry you close in my heart...in my thoughts... and in my prayers...always.
Mom
November 24, 2018
Dear Salvatore...Today is the 12 years and 10 Months Remembrance Day...and it is a gray, rainy, gloomy, and dreary one...lending itself...to how I feel.. not just on remembrance dates...but every time I visit your resting place.

Never did I imagine...that I would have to be making weekly visits...over these past twelve plus years...to FMP for any reasons...let alone for the loss of one of my children.

I thought I had made enough trips to St. John's...in the past...to visit loved ones resting there...to last for more than a lifetime...of having to make those kind of visits...but no, that was not to be.

I know the stronger the love...the deeper the grief...but I had hoped... after my brother's tragic and untimely loss...at such a young age...that it would have been...enough heartbreak and sadness...for anyone in my family to endure...but how wrong I was.

We are taught to believe...that life goes on...it's just that I expected... that life...yours...would have been continuing on here...with all of us... being a part of it. I still find it so unbelievable...that knock on the door..and all that followed.

This morning...Dad had to meet with a painter...at the St. Joseph statue... to discuss what can be done...about the cracks...that are appearing on the statue.

We had been assured by Sacred Spaces, where it was purchased...that this material was guaranteed...to hold up well...even in very extreme outdoor conditions...but that doesn't seem to be the case...so Dad has been in touch with them too...to try to resolve the problem.

We were back at your sister's again... last night...to try and put a dent in all of the leftovers...from Thursday. We also got to spend time with V and Z...who were in NJ on Thurs...and then drove back to VA...to spend time with our side of the family...yesterday. At V's asking...if I was making gravy and meatballs with macaroni...and my "NO," she added that...she had not had that in awhile...so I caved...especially since pasta...was always the second course for Italian Thanksgiving...and in our family...it more specifically was...lasagna.

Your sister...had vetoed that course several Thanksgivings ago...saying it never left room...for the rest of the meal. So the regular antipasto we use to serve too...became an even more ginormous antipasto...but of course there's never been a veto...on the 16 stuffed artichokes...that take forever to prepare...and that you loved...and always looked forward to eating. One saving grace...I only made macaroni... not nearly as filling as a lasagna would be...which I will likely make for Christmas.

I did manage to get an approval...for the crisp pieces of cannoli shells... that get dipped into the cannoli cream filling. Your niece S...said it was a great idea...and so much better than biting into...a regular cannoli...only to have it crumble all over you. Who knew...that some of us...prefer being neater eaters. Yes...Dad still is the exception to that preference..

You know what is in my heart...and how much I wish you were with us. I also want you to know...that I love you beyond words...and I miss you so very very much.

It also touches me to know...that you are not forgotten...by others...who knew you. I will assume...and I could be wrong...that the Dr. who has left a few posts for you...on this site...may have been an SCO classmate of yours... and even if that's not the case...I thank her nonetheless...for thinking of you.

Keep watching over our family...and may God bless you son...as you rest... in His perpetual light.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
November 24, 2018
Plants Galore
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Jessica Claudio
November 22, 2018
Dear Son...Today is Thanksgiving Day.. which is considered by many...to be the best holiday of the year...as families come together...to celebrate the day...and give thanks to God...for all that He has given them.

While I am thankful to Him...for the gift of family...and although I'll be spending the day...with your siblings and your nieces and nephews...there is that part of me...that is always with you.

I love you Salvatore...and I wish you could have been here with us...to see how our family has grown...over these many years...and I often wonder...that maybe by now...you too...could have had a family of your own.

It breaks my heart...that all that might have been...was stolen from you because of them.

God bless you...my precious son...and know that you are loved...and very missed.

Keep close watch over our family...as I carry you in my heart...and pray for you...always.
November 2, 2018
Dear Sal...I had a noon mass scheduled for Uncle A on Mon...which marked the Two Year Remembrance Day...of his loss to Aunt C...and because I couldn't get a mass for yesterday...which was All Saint's Day...and Gramp's Birthday... I had to have one scheduled for him... at that same time on the 31st. I had planned to attend both...and because this is a first for me...I feel very badly...that I managed to miss both of them.

Since scheduled masses have to be made so far in advance...the only way to be reminded of what time they are...is to look in the church bulletin...one week in advance of the particular date one has requested. Unfortunately we went to a different church on the previous Sunday...and I didn't get to pick up our parish bulletin...until later in the week...so I think that's what made me miss...both the dates and times.

To make up for it...I went to the noon mass yesterday anyway...because it was a Holy Day...and I went to today's noon mass too...since it's also All Souls Day...and hopefully it will make up for...my "forgetting."

Your niece J did herself...and her HS proud this past weekend. She won both her singles and doubles...in the tennis tournament...being held by the (WCAC) Washington Catholic Athletic Conference...and was instrumental in helping her team...get to second place and...then into the finals on Monday.. where she repeated the same...which contributed to her team...winning the first place trophy. The last time DJO won this title...was about 19 years ago...so it was quite exciting.

Your other niece was in Nashville last weekend...for a volleyball tournament. I don't know how they placed...as your middle sister didn't get back to me yet...but It seems that both girls are quite competitive...and really enjoy being part of a team.

I remember that you too...enjoyed playing sports. You were an amazing left-footed soccer player...when you were in grade school...and then went on to play in high school too. You didn't go out for baseball...although you did try out for football...but got injured early on and had to quit. You then made the varsity basketball team and did well. You were a very bright student too Sal...and we were very proud of all your achievements.

Dad especially beamed when you got the HS Math medal...as he missed getting his own in HS...and again by a mere decimal point...at the Academy. You had so much natural talent...and ability...and would have been such an asset...to the profession you chose... but for them.

God bless you son...as you keep watch over your sisters...your brother...and your nieces...and nephews.

I love you Salvatore and I miss you.

You are in my thoughts each day...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
October 24, 2018
Dear Son...I will be going to the Noon mass today...as I mark this 12 Years and 9 Months Remembrance Day...as part of my monthly ritual...and afterwards I will visit your resting place...and the St. Joseph statue.

Your brother once again...did not want to make note of his birthday...last week...and it has been that way...ever since your loss to us. Your niece had asked...if we were going to have a family dinner for him...but he said he doesn't like family anything anymore.. because it makes him sad...but most especially...when it's relates to his birthday. I guess he thinks about the times...when he'd go out with you...to meet up with your mutual friends...for his birthday...after what use to be... our usual family celebration...and the blowing out of the candles...on his special day birthday cake. But that was before our new normal...which has left us where we are now.

Of course...I insisted that at least Dad and I...would take him out to dinner...and then have his favorite cake at home. He did indulge me...and even blew out the candles at my request. He is now one year younger than you were...at your last birthday with us...before our world changed and turned upside down.

He told me a few weeks ago...that he was thinking...that he really only had the five years and a few months...from your 2000 SCO graduation...when he was just seventeen and a half...to the very beginning of 2006...when he was just a bit over twenty three...in which he was really able...to spend time with you...getting to know and bond with you...on a slightly more even...age wise...playing field. He said in hindsight...he can't believe that he spent less "brother time" with you...than he has now spent...being without you...and he feels cheated.

But in that short span of time...where the age difference became less of a gap...he so looked up to...and loved you..."his big brother." He is a sensitive young man...and he misses you so very much. He doesn't seem to feel as close to his sisters...as he would like to be...and I suppose that may be expected...since they both have their own families...responsibilities and obligations...as he is still trying to find his way. I know both of your sisters..also feel your loss.. and my heart breaks..for each of you.. as you have been stolen...from your life...as well as from theirs.

I wish it was different on so many levels...but...because of them and what they caused...each of us...are now...forever changed.

It touches my heart..to know that you are remembered by other's...and I'm grateful to have read...a thoughtful reflection...left on this page...by one of your grade school classmates. I remember him as a very polite young boy...and he evidently has become a caring and kind...young man. Thank you Van...for thinking of Sal and our family.

God bless you Sal...as you keep close watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and all of their needs.

Salvatore, you are loved...so very missed...and know that I hold you close...in my thoughts...and in my heart...each and every day.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
October 18, 2018
Mrs Culosi,
I read your latest post and it was so sweet. Fall is always my favorite time of year too. Remember the beauty of fall festival at St Michaels? I'm glad you two still live in the same area and hope that brings you some peace being close to places that remind you of Sal. I think of Richard Livingston too and the tragedy that both young guys left us too soon. Know Sal is in heaven and he's at peace. Van
Van Strength
September 24, 2018
Dear Salvatore...Today marks the 12 Years and 8 Months Remembrance Day... of your loss to our family. I did go to the noon mass...so that I could offer my intentions for you...and when mass was ended...I drove to the florist to pick up my monthly order.

When I got to your resting place...I had to take a "walking" detour...since the regular path...was flooded and muddy. I was going to make a complaint at the office...about the drainage in that spot...every time it rains...but decided not to...since I doubted that the grounds crew...would be inclined to regrade...and repave that area. Thankfully, at least the cobblestoned part was fine...so I just left the flowers near the praying angel...and brought the other arrangement...to the St. Joseph statue...at our church.

I know this is the yearly season that you enjoyed the most...but it's the one...that causes me the most soul searching...and sadness...because I know how much...you always looked forward to everything it included... from all of Fall's activities...to the upcoming holidays...including your birthday...which this year...would have seen us celebrating YOU turning 50...but these years...the ones since 2006 to now...and all the family milestones..our family has seen during this time...by way of your nieces and nephews..and will hopefully continue to see...were sadly stolen from you... because of them...and what they caused to happen to you...and for that...I will never forgive any of them.

Today is not one of those crisp and colorful autumn days...instead it is a dreary, gray and rainy one...just like I feel...as I reflect back...and miss you so very much.

God Bless You Son...as you keep close watch over your siblings...and most especially your nieces and nephews... who have their whole lives ahead of them. I wish they could have had...the opportunity to know you.

I love you Sal...and I carry you close in my thoughts...each and every day... and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
August 24, 2018
Dear Sal...On this 12 Years and 7 months Remembrance Day...I attended the Noon mass in your behalf...and afterwards...I went to pick up the flowers...that I always leave at the St Joseph statue...and at your resting place...when I visit you.

Since today is also your father's birthday...we will be going out to dinner...with your sisters...their families...and your brother. We will go back to your sister's house...for cake...in fact...two of them. One is for Dad...and the other one...is for your youngest nephew...who will be 15 on Sunday. So many years have come and gone...but these family occasions are the most heartbreaking for me... and will always remain bittersweet... because you should have been a part of our growing family...and could and would have been joining us...if not for them.

The news is never good...and once again...this past week has underscored that...as two more parents...will be living...their worst nightmare.

One of our neighbors...also passed away... on Aug 15...after being ill for a few years...and we will also be going to a memorial service...on Monday...for another man we knew...who passed away on the 16th.

While a loss of a loved one is always sad...it is quite understandable especially...when one has been ill for a long time...or is on in years.

The most difficult losses to bear... considering that both these men...had led full lives...are the those that take young people...far too soon..like the story that was on the news...about the young girl from Iowa...who was going to enter her second year of college...but was abducted by someone...while she was out jogging... and was missing for almost a month... as her parents held onto their hopes; that she would be found safe and alive...and returned to their family. Sadly that did not happen...as the someone who abducted her...turned out to be an illegal immigrant...and while he confessed to murdering her...he claims he blacked out...and can't remember exactly how it happened.

My heart goes out to her parents, family and friends. They will now be living with unbearable grief...and forever changed lives...in their "new normal"...which will be anything but. Their story is a tragic one...that breaks hearts...and is a direct result of the evil that exists in certain individuals. I will keep these parents and their beautiful daughter...in my prayers.

Yesterday was a busy day...as I went bridal gown shopping...with your sister...and your oldest niece...who will be getting married next summer. She is a beautiful young lady...and everything looked amazing on her. She has narrowed down her choices...we hope...but has to make a decision post haste...since ordering a gown...can take from 4 to 6 months...before it is delivered...and in some cases...even a bit longer than that. It is going to be...another hectic year of planning by her family...as your sister and brother-in-law...just got through with your Godchild's wedding...which was only three weeks ago. But these are meant to be a family's joyous and happy events...and that is what we will have to remember to focus on.

I ask that you keep close watch over your sisters...and their families...as well as your brother...and Dad. Aunts C...J...and their families...and many of your friends...are also in need of remembrance by you.

I love you son...and you know how very much I miss you.

God bless you Salvatore...as you rest in His perpetual light...and eternal peace

I carry you close in my thoughts...in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
July 30, 2018
Dear Son...Thank you for hearing my requests...and giving me the signs... that you were with us...this weekend.. as we began the celebration...of your Godchild's BIG day.

Everything was lovely...from beginning to end.

The weather...chapel...venue...food... and music...all were wonderful...and along with the company of our family and friends...it all served...to make for a very memorable...and joyous day.

Your sister and brother-in-law...did themselves proud...and not a detail was missed.

Dad sang the Ave Maria flawlessly at the mass...and at the reception...our usually quiet...and reserved Stef... applauded enthusiastically...his personalized version of the lyrics... to the Sinatra song...The Way You Look Tonight.

The Bride was in...what we refer to as her "cruise" mode...looking radiant and absolutely beautiful...and her groom was beaming with happiness too.

Everyone had a great time...and I can only describe the feeling...in the room...as one of...pure love.

I love you Sal...I miss you...and I ask God to bless you...for being a very caring uncle.

You are in my thoughts...and remain in my prayers...always.
Mom
July 24, 2018
Dear Salvatore...I went to the 8:30 mass this morning...that I had previously scheduled...to be offered in your behalf...on this Twelve Years and Six Months Remembrance Day. Fr. D had said the next time...he saw me at a mass...that I was having said for you...he would announce it. So much for his memory...because it didn't happen. Once again...par for the course.

Yesterday...I picked up the flowers... that I will leave at your resting place...when I visit you...on this... another of our Tuesdays...and I will leave the other flower...at the Saint Joseph statue. I was lucky that I got to the florist...in between let-ups... in the heavy rain that we've been having...and which is forecast for the rest of the week as well.

Dad has an appointment with the Sacred Spaces people this morning...because it appears...that the statue is in need of repair. Mr. B told us...there is a crack on the surface of Saint Joseph's knee...and the finish seems to be corroding and fading in several places...as well. I'm surprised that I hadn't noticed it myself...because I am usually very observant...but somehow it got by me. Of course, I will be there with Dad... at the appt...and we will address what needs to be done...to get it fixed. Between the intense heat we've had... and now the heavy rains...I wonder... if the weather could have contributed to this problem...although I doubt it.

A pretty young woman...from Sacred Spaces...met us there...and said...she believes the statue...would need to be removed...sanded...and then the bronze color reapplied again...in order to match the original color. She also suggested that...perhaps we should consider putting a marble like finish on it...instead of the bronze...but in either case...allow whichever finish chosen..to dry and cure...for about 6 months...before returning the statue to its pedestal. She said she would get back to us with more information.. and the costs involved...and we will also...include Mrs. L and Mrs. P...in the decision making...re the finish selection. Bottom line...it's like Gramps always said..."nothing lasts forever."

Your Godchild will be getting married on Saturday...and rain is forecasted for Charlottesville too. The saying is...Happy the bride that the sun shines on...but there is another one that states..."Lucky the bride that the rain falls upon"...since a wet knot"...as in the expression...tying the knot...when referring to marrying, is more difficult to undo...and so it foretells of a strong and unbreakable marriage bond...at least according to Hindu culture...so...I guess rain or shine...whichever way Mother Nature shows herself on that day...will be fine...and who knows...maybe the rain, if it happens...could even bring her a rainbow.

It poured on the day...that Dad and I said I do...and on your idols wedding day too...and as we're marking 54 and 29 years respectively...maybe that's the explanation. As for either of us...and the lucky part...that is more than debatable...and perhaps only applies to Hindus...and not our heritage...but I like thinking...that rain on a wedding day...is a blessing from above...which is a nice way...for a bride to rationalize...the lousy weather...on one of the most important days of her life.

We are now counting down...and as for stress...all I can hope for...is that everything goes as planned...and that S & A...will have a Very Blessed... Healthy...and Happy Life Together.

Yesterday was also your niece Jen's 18th birthday. I have the photo of you...taken in the back seat of her parents car...as you were looking down at her in her car seat...on the day she was taken home from the hospital. She was sleeping...and you are smiling and looking very happy. It was taken two months after you graduated from SCO...in 2000...and now...she and her older sister...will both serve...as maids of honor...at Stef's wedding. Where did the time go...

Sal...you know all the mixed emotions I will be feeling on her day...as I pray that you will be with us in spirit...and somehow...maybe you will know...how beautiful a bride your niece will be...as you keep watch over her...and the rest of our family.

God bless you Son...and I hope you know...just how much you are loved... missed...thought about...and prayed for...always.
Mom
June 24, 2018
Dear Son...Today...is Sunday...and it marks...this Twelve Years...and Five Months...Day of Remembrance. Needless to say...but I'll say it anyway...that because of them...and what they caused to happen to you...I will continue to mark the days...and not just...on the 24th.

I am saddened to say...that our new normal...and forever changed way of living...is not exclusive to us...as there are other parents...who also have been made...to know what it means to walk this path.

Over these many years...and it is continuing to happen...as there are still news stories...about leo's...who shoot and kill...unarmed and non-threatening people.

Sadly...I don't believe...there is an end in sight...because they know the buzz words..."I did feel my life was in danger." or "it was an accident." And even if that isn't the truth...the benefit of doubt is given to them. I have such mixed feelings on this subject...because your uncle was also sworn to protect and serve...so I know there are good and caring leo's...but because you have to take the good with the bad...and that is a given in all walks of life...oftentimes the poorly trained or bad ones...cause justice to go unserved...in so many cases.

On my drive home...there was a report on the radio...about a 17 yr old boy...from Pittsburgh, PA...who was a passenger in a car...that was being stopped...by the police...because it fitted the description of the car... being sought by them...in a drive by shooting. It was reported...that the driver of this car...got out of it... and was handcuffed...but the young man in the passenger seat...bolted out of the car...and began to run away. It was then that the officer...fired three shots at him...killing him.

The deceased man was unarmed...and there have been protests...so it remains to be seen...how it will turn out.

All I know is we tried...to be a part of the solution...as Dad and I sat through many...Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission meetings re Communication...Recruitment, Diversity & Vetting...Mental Health and CIT... Independent Oversight & Investigations and Use of Force. Dad was appointed to serve...on the Use of Force committee since its focus was on FCPD policies...protocols...procedures... training...and best police practices... in regard to excessive use of force issues...with a crossover on...how an officer should interact...when dealing with a person who is mentally ill. Best practices led to our understanding that...as long as an officer's life...is not being threatened...he does not have the right...to shoot at the person...who is fleeing...whether he is on foot... or in a car...that is being driven away.

Life is precious...and while all lives matter...there are still those...who don't appear to think so.

My thoughts go every which way...as I relive all the circumstances...that stole you from your life...and ours...and I find that each time...I hear about another someone else...being shot and killed by a leo...and that the person was not only unarmed...as in the above case...but was fleeing as well...you know...my sympathies...are with the victim...and his family.

You also know...how these accounts...always take me back.. to that knock on the door...and those five words.

Each time I hear about...or see...a classmate of yours...who is now settled...married...and raising a family...or excelling in their career or profession...while I am happy for them...my heart also breaks...because you were not afforded those same opportunities...and all that life may have held for you.

I cannot and will not...ever forget... or forgive...any of those...who played a part...in putting you at risk...by placing into motion...a plan designed for failure...and that stole your life...nor can I forgive myself...for breaking my promise to you.

Our world...continues to change Sal... and none for the better.

I love you son...and I miss you.

God bless you...as you keep watching over our family,

You are in my thoughts each day...as I carry you close in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
June 17, 2018
Dear Sal...Today, Father's Day...is when we honor all fathers...living and deceased...from first time Dad's...to Grandfathers...and Great Grandfathers too...if one is lucky enough...to still have them...in their lives...and because...you were a Baptismal God-father...to both your brother...and your niece...I pray that it will be... a very blessed God-father's Day"... for you too.

Before I left your resting place...I managed to step on a rusty hook...that probably fell off...a floral piece... belonging to someone else...and it must have landed...point side up...in the crevice of a cobblestone...on the path...and as I began to walk away...I felt a sharp thing...going into the bottom of my left foot. The hook was lodged in my shoe...and had gone right though it. So I pulled it out of my foot...and with it in my hand...off I went to the ER...where they gave me a booster tetanus shot. Not exactly how I was expecting to spend this day... but par for the course. Anyway, I was out of the ER in less than 3 hours... so I guess that was a positive.

Please continue to watch over your sisters...and your brother...as well as your nieces and nephews...and Dad too. Our extended family...can also use some watching over too.

I keep thinking how much happier...all these upcoming family milestones... could have been...at least from my perspective...if only you could be here with us...and knowing me...even though I will try...to do my very best to enjoy their moments...I will still be thinking...if only.

I carry you in my thoughts...and in my heart...each and every day.

I love you son...and I miss you so much.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
June 3, 2018
Dear Son...While your Godchild...niece number two...got engaged last Fall... and will be married this year..in late July...niece number one got engaged yesterday. It looks like your sister and brother-in-law...soon will be... almost...empty nesters...by next year...since their youngest daughter.. will also be graduating HS then...and likely getting ready for...or off to college...around the time of her oldest sister's wedding. Happy and exciting times...for these family milestones...that you would have been here to see...if not for them.

There was a surprise party after the proposal...and we all got to meet... her future in-laws...who are a very down to earth...close knit...and likable family. Each of your nieces.. and their future grooms..are very well suited for one another...and I pray that...God blesses them with healthy and happy futures.

Yesterday was a busy day for us...as we had already accepted a couple of invites...that we didn't think we would be able to attend now...as a result of the unexpected engagement party...that was arranged for...by your niece's future in-laws.

Twice a year...one of Dad's West Point classmates and his wife...have a get together at their home...for all of the other classmates in the area...as well as for those who feel like traveling to attend. It's usually around the time...of the Army/Navy game...and the Belmont Stakes. It was from 3 to 7...which now conflicted with the DC party...and also a former neighbor's Birthday party...for that same time too. Additionally, the unexpected passing of a classmate during this past week...with a wake on Saturday at one...also needed to be attended by us.

We were able to get to the wake...to offer out condolences to the family... but we had to leave quickly. Then with your brother's help...in getting the app...we took our first Uber ride into DC...hoping to make it there...before the happy couple's arrival. We did... and had a very nice time. It was a very lovely setting...the company was enjoyable...the food and drinks were good...and your sister took a lot of pictures.

We did get home in time...to make a quick visit...to Bo's 80th Birthday celebration...just before it was winding down. He and Mrs. L. looked good...just a bit older...as we all look. My highlight...was hugging Scott...and Steve. It was almost like my being able to hug you. It was good to see them...and Scott told me that he thinks of you every day...as he too misses you. He just started a new venture...so keep him safe. Another friend of yours...was also there...I think his name is Gordon...and he was happy to see us too. Mrs. L. said Bo is slipping a bit...but when I went over to him...to say good bye...he looked right at the ring on my chain.. and without missing a beat...he asked me..."how long has it been"...as he recognized the ring as yours...from UVA...and when I said...twelve years and four months...his face saddened... as he looked down and shook his head.. from side to side...in what I saw as heartfelt disgust...for how you were taken from all of us...because of what they caused...to happen to you...and for no good reason.

Once again...these were bittersweet occasions...as today gave us a look into...life coming full circle.

We didn't get to the Class of '64 WP gathering...but hopefully we will get another opportunity...to join them in December.

When I visited you today...I saw that someone had left a long stemmed red rose...at your resting place. I don't know who it was from...but it let me know...I am not the only one...who thinks of you...and misses you.

God bless you Sal...as you keep watch over our family...and all that is going on. How I wish you were here.

I love you son...and I carry you in my thoughts...each and every day...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
May 24, 2018
Dear Son...Today marks Remembrance Month...Number 148...as I keep counting the days...that brought us to this point...and as I've said before...I will continue to count. It's not that I do it deliberately... it's just that I miss you...and I think about you...each and every day...and I am very aware...of how these days keep adding up. Some might think it's an obsession...but I believe only another parent...who has walked this path...can understand and relate to...how it just happens...as we try to live...our new normal lives.

Actually to be fair...as I think about it...loss and grief...affects people on different levels...so for those who have also loved very deeply...someone one who has passed...they likely also know...too well...what it means...to feel their absence...each day...and are perhaps...counting days too.

On a different yet bittersweet note... your Godchild's bridal shower...was celebrated this past Sunday. Your sister went above and beyond...in making it a very special day for her. So much mother love went into every detail...and I know she has exhausted herself...in the process. She baked cookies...and monogrammed them...with Stef's "soon to be" initials. She also decorated the cake to perfection... with the aid of your Exacto knife...as she cut out of fondant..a white bridal gown...which she then placed...on the cake's lavender buttercream surface... along with fondant butterflies...and flowers...which, to say the least... also made for a tedious process...and then she made the time...to wrap the many presents that came to the house. Needless to say...but I will anyway... they were all beautifully wrapped... and it was all done...in an effort to make it a momentous day...for her daughter...and IT WAS!

Stef's two sisters...were more than helpful too...as each rose to the occasion of greeting guests...emceeing and organizing shower games...and assembly-lining all the gifts...of which there were many...and all had to be opened and acknowledged. Her two siblings...have really earned their roles...as Maids of Honor." Her bridesmaids...were also very helpful and attentive...to all the necessary trappings...of the traditional goings on...that showers entail. The gift bows bridal bouquet..turned out quite lovely...and we have the pictures and videos...that captured...most all of the moments...of a wonderful day.

In addition...family from both sides.. came from out of town to join us...for which we were very grateful...and along with good friends...of Stef's and your sister...they were able to spend time...at an afternoon shower brunch...eating, drinking, talking, and laughing...and truly having a good time...and it was all in Stef's honor.

Of course...there was the clean up crew...who showed up at the end...and consisted of your Brother-in-law... Dad...your Uncle/Godfather...and the future Groom...who were told they'd better...get all the gifts to the cars in one piece"...and fortunately they did.

Now begins the lead up to the wedding, and all that I wish...you could have been here for...if not for them.

I will be at noon mass today...and afterwards I will visit the St. Joseph statue...and then I will go to your resting place.

Keep watching over our family...and as I carry you close in my heart...I hope you are able to know...what is going on...with all of us.

God bless you son...as you rest peacefully...in His perpetual light... and promise of eternal life...knowing that you are loved...very missed...and are in my prayers...always.
Mom
April 27, 2018
Dear Son...Yesterday was your "idol's" birthday...and she was gracious enough to share it with me...since she wasn't going to be available on mine...which is today...and a milestone one at that.

I got in the car with Dad and Chris... and we took a very winding...and hilly road...that led to a restaurant in Clifton...where we were to meet them. It was a scenic...but heart in my throat...ride. I told Dad we would be going home...a different way because that road was treacherous enough in daylight...and I refused to brave it at night.

When we got to the restaurant...the first one I saw seated...was Chris' girlfriend...and then everyone yelled surprise...as it turned out to be a birthday party for me...and I was very surprised...to see Cyn and her family there too. I had no idea...and then felt badly...that Con not only gave up her day...but she also made all the plans...for the Mom only celebration. She even decorated her house...where we all went afterwards...to have a huge...and very delicious cake.

Since we are three April ladies...I along with Con and Cyn...blew out candles and made our wishes...over tiramisu. You know...I was wishing... that you could have been there too.

You are always in my heart...but if you could have been present with all of us...as you should have been...if not for them...that would have made it all the more perfect.

Your nieces and nephews...are all grown now...and I am so very proud of them...and you would have been too.

Please keep watching over our family.

God Bless you Sal...I love and miss you...more than I can say.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
April 24, 2018
Dear Sal...Another 24th...falling on our Tuesday...as Remembrance Month Number 147 is marked.

I went to the florist yesterday...and this morning after attending the 8:30 mass...I decided to stop at the St. Joseph statue...before my visit to your resting place. I usually visit you first...and then on the way home.. I pass by the statue...but something made me change my routine...and I don't think what happened next...was a coincidence.

I parked my car at the curb...and I hesitated in getting out...because there was a woman at the statue...and I didn't want to disturb her. I waited a bit...and when I saw that she was beginning to leave...I got out of the car...and as I did...she came over to me. She said she wanted me to know... that she had just been praying...to St. Joseph...and for you too...as she was asking you...if you could...to intercede in her son's behalf...since he was a classmate of yours...at St. Mike's and DJO...and now he was going through a very rough time.

We wound up having a very lengthy conversation...she about him...and you. He is a very bright and educated young man...well-travelled...and was quite successful in his career. She said his name is HS...and to be quite honest...I don't remember ever hearing it before...but I will never forget it now.

She said at the time of our tragedy... her younger son...who is a criminal lawyer...had discussed with his brother; your classmate...how what happened to you...should have never happened...was blatantly wrong...and poorly handled by the FCPD. She then hugged me...and told me how sorry she was for our loss.

She said she prays for you...and when she saw my car pull up...she felt it was by design...and she wanted me to know...that she had just been praying for you...and asking you too...to watch over her son. I thanked her... and after telling her some of my own views...about what they caused to happen to you...and our family...I said I would also keep her son...in my prayers as well...and I will.

All moms want their children to be healthy...happy...and enjoying their lives...but if and when...anything goes wrong...we feel responsible...and question...whether we did enough...to protect them...and keep them out of harm's way...or if we missed something..that we should have seen... and that unresolved question..."tugs at your heart"...and causes the suffering...so many of us moms know.

I didn't know...this day was going to turn out as it has...but I guess it was meant for me...to meet another heartbroken mom.

God bless you Sal...as you continue to watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad. Our extended family...friends...and now HS...can also use some...watching over.

I love you son...I miss you...and I think of you...throughout my day.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
April 1, 2018
Dear Salvatore...I pray you will have a Blessed Easter Day...along with my parents...brother...and other extended family members...and friends...who also have been called back home to God. As each of you rest peacefully in His perpetual light...know that you all are loved...are thought about..and are very missed.

It's Easter season...and yet...the tragedies continue...to fly in the face...of what should not be taking place...both worldwide...and even closer to home...as it appears that the training of leo's...is still lacking...as young lives continue to be unnecessarily taken...at the hands of those...who are sworn to protect and serve.

Once again...another family has been destroyed...and whether or not...the victim was actually the one...that the police were seeking...in the breaking of a car window...these two Sacramento officers used excessive force...and took the life...of a young unarmed man... who was commanded by them to show his hands...and when he did... although he was holding nothing more than a cell phone...he was shot multiple times by them...and killed. The story...these officers are telling ...doesn't appear to be supported by.. what was actually captured on an overhead copter's camera. "All lives matter"...but it seems that there are still those badge wearers...who neglect to remember that.

It's been many years...but it still sickens me every time...I read about or see the coverage of such tragedies ...in the paper or on TV. The upset and protests always follow...and I think...if they were just done in a more productive way...then maybe they'd be more effective. Perhaps I'm naïve...because we didn't take to the streets...or create a scene in our case...and maybe that's why not much was done...re consequences for officer misdeeds...let alone justice...and even though...the officer who caused our hearts to break...also gave an unbelievable account of what took place...none of the other officers present at that time...were wearing body cams...so we didn't have the benefit of a video. Maybe with the plus of a video...these other families have the right idea. Squeak and squeak...and do it loudly...but hopefully in a non-riotous way...and just maybe...the justice being sought by them...can be won. I will remember this young man and his family...in my Easter prayers...and they have my deepest sympathy.

Thursday night...Dad did a showcase at P's...and invited Stef and Alec. They were gracious enough to show up...and they said they had a good time...even though everyone there...had 40 to 50 years on them. I know it made his day...or should I say night...and he was happy to have them indulge him.

Last night we went to Holy Saturday mass...as your Godchild's fiancé...was receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. The service started at eight and ended at midnight...but the mass did count for today...so that was good. Her wedding plans are moving along...but it continues to pain me... that you are not here with us...to be a part of all that is going on...in the lives of your nieces and nephews. I can only imagine...what would have been...and could have been...in your future too...if only...

I love you son...and ask that you keep close watch over your siblings...your nieces and nephews...and Dad. There's also extended family...and a couple of your friends...that could use some watching over too.

Cyn will be at home today with her family...so we will be going to Con's. Of course the family gatherings...are not the same...but we try to get through them as best we can...as I carry you close...always in my heart.. and in my thoughts. God bless you.

I miss you Sal...each and every day... and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
March 24, 2018
Dear Salvatore...Although I didn't have it said in your name...I went to the noon mass today...and offered up my intentions...in your behalf...for the repose of your soul...on one more ...24th of the month...which is now marking this...146th Remembrance Month.

I walked into church a bit early...and was surprised to see it pretty full. There was a service going on...as I counted 14 banners...lining some of the pews. A lady came over to me... and gave me a red covered booklet... that read...The Legion of Mary... Arlington Regia...Spouse of the Holy Spirit...56th Annual Acies.

The last time I remember anything about a Sodality for Mary...was way back when I was in the 8th grade...and both S and I decided to join...but it was short lived. The president of this Children of Mary group...was another student...who was beginning the meeting...and because S and I were talking softly...prior to its start... she told us to "get up and leave"... and recognizing that she was a "pill" ...we did just that...and never went back. I can only hope Mary understood our decision back then...and that it wouldn't be held against us...so maybe the lady giving me the booklet...was an all is forgiven sign of sorts. It's funny...what will spark a memory from the past.

Yesterday another unarmed young man... was shot and killed by a leo...who thought he was holding a weapon...but it was only a cell phone. Each time I hear or read something like this...I relate all too well...and the sympathy I feel...for his family's loss...is really defined now...as empathy. I will remember him...and his family... in my prayers.

Well Spring has arrived...with snow and terribly cold weather...par for the course...for this in like a lion.. and out like a lamb...I hope...month of March.

God bless you son...as you watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you son...I miss you...I think of you throughout my day...and you are in my prayers...always.
Mom
March 20, 2018
Blessed be the light that guides us, and the spark within Dr. Culosi that friends, family and patients knew and loved.

Ecclesiastes 7:1
Dr. Jessica Claudio
March 19, 2018
Dear Son...Today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph...whose name you took at Confirmation...so I am wishing you...a Very Blessed..."Middle Name" Day...as well.

God bless you...my Salvatore Joseph... for being a loving son...brother... uncle...and Godfather...and know that I hold you in my heart...as I miss you ...so very much...each and every day.

Please keep watch over your sisters... their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you Sal...and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
February 23, 2018
Dear Salvatore...This Twelve Years and One Month Remembrance Day...is marked in this 630th week...of missing you... as I do...each and every day.

I had to visit you yesterday...because I will be going with your sister and her family today...to a food tasting.. in Charlottesville...where your niece (Godchild)...will be getting married this summer.

She was only eleven...when you were stolen from us...and I was reminded recently...that it took quite some time...for her parents...to reassure her...night after night...after what happened to you...that the police wouldn't be coming to their house...to do to her...what they did to her uncle.

Those who caused our grief...by putting into motion...what happened to you...at their hands...are also responsible for destroying...the peace and trust...that your young niece had known...up until that time...and it was shattered...by...and because of those...sworn to protect and serve... and who did neither in our case...but instead...in my opinion...entrapped and executed. Reprehensible and unforgivable!

There was another terrible tragedy... last week in FL...when several high school personnel...and fourteen students...were shot and killed...and others wounded...by an expelled former student...who appears to have mental problems. The saddest part is...this shooting could have been thwarted... because the local police...and even the FBI...had been told about this young man...and his threats to be a school shooter. They even went to his home a number of times...but no in depth follow ups were done...and the warnings went unheeded...and the results were...the loss of these 17 lives. Both sad...and sickening.

It was also learned...that an armed school resource officer...was outside of the school for several minutes... while the shooter was inside...killing people...and the officer...did not enter the school...to help. Shameful!

It's another..."protect and serve"... non sequitur...with major fails once again...(like the ones...we learned about...in our depositions of FCPD officers)...and it's at the expense of the families...who lost their loved ones...and are now among the heartbroken...and forever changed. My heart goes out to them...as I pray for their children...and their families.

We are living in a changed...and different time...from the one in which you were raised...and it's not for the better.

God bless you Sal...as you keep close watch over our family.

I love you son...and you are in my thoughts...each day...and in prayers always.
Mom
January 26, 2018
Thinking of you and your family. Know that you have not been forgotten by those that love you. Keep a special watch over your Mom. I know as a parent who has lost a child the stress that is brought on us. People say we have to go on with our lives. We have, we wake every morning and continue with our lives. They have no idea what it is like to lose a child and I would not wish it on my worse enemy. Protect your family
Bob Gordon
January 24, 2018
Dear Son...To mark this Twelfth Year Remembrance Day...I attended this morning's 8:30 mass...which I had previously scheduled...to be offered in your memory...and again...par for the course...the pastor's policy of refraining...from announcing the name of the person...that the mass is being said for...is still the rule...and..."I still view this Rule...as sad... alienating...and offensive."

On the way back from visiting your resting place...I heard a news report...that broadcast as follows: Fairfax Police Chief releases the video of the fatal killing of Bijan Ghaisar, even as the FBI remains silent on its investigation into the shooting by Park Police officers.

Of course...I wanted to know what it was about...so when I got home...I went to my computer...and I found a post by TJ... dated today...recounting what took place...and very sad to say...it is another tragedy...that could have been avoided.

My heart goes out to this young man's family...and I can only hope...that the FBI doesn't give them...the same type of response they gave to us...in citing a bar that is too high...to prove intent. I will never understand...how pointing a loaded weapon...at someone...does not show...one's intent to use it. I side with the rules of gun safety...which counters the FBI's reasoning...but at least this time...there is a video.

God rest this young man's soul...and as his loved ones...are now a forever changed family...who will be living their new normal...may God give them...the graces needed...to cope with their loss.

It's a dozen years later Sal...and I can still picture...the faces of the two men...who banged on our door...the night of Jan. 24, 2006...and hear the words spoken by them...to me...because it is all indelibly ingrained in my mind. There are many other images and dialogues...I also recall...that took place in the five years following that night...as we sought the justice owed to you...and it is all very vivid...and likely will remain that way.

I don't dwell on these memories...they just surface...as prompts from daily life activities...cause them to. The emotions are many...and on the special days...or any day...for that matter... one never knows...how it will go...so that is why...it is always...one day at a time.

I dare say...all parents who have lost children...no matter the age...or circumstance...all share in and understand...what it means to be truly broken-hearted...as a result of our common bond...which is the grief we know...at having to bury a child. We all are forever changed...as we live with a parent's worst nightmare.

Once again...Mrs.C sent me an email..in remembrance of this day...along with her prayers for you...which are very much appreciated.

I neglected to mention...that another dear friend...who always remembers your birthday...had sent me a lovely note...last month...and on the outside of the card...there was a quote...that was attributed to..St. John Chrysostom ...Bishop of Constantinople...who was called "golden mouth"...because of his eloquent speaking.

It read:
They whom we love and lose...are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are.

I find St. John's words insightful... and I choose to believe them...as I carry you close in my heart.

God bless you...as you keep watch over your siblings...and your nieces...and nephews.

You are very loved...by each of us...and missed beyond words.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
January 1, 2018
Dear Sal...Once again...I find myself wishing you...for the twelfth time...A Very Blessed New Year...in His Light.. where I pray you are happy...and are resting peacefully...as He promised.

I've been very busy...and tired...as last night was the eve...and I had made a number of different things to eat...and then we didn't get to sleep ...until well into New Year's Day morning.

Your sister came up yesterday...with her three sons...but her daughter wasn't feeling well...so she stayed home. There was plenty of noise...at midnight...and a couple of phone calls made...to wish your other sister...and her family...a very healthy...blessed ...and peaceful 2018...too.

I hope you know...that my midnight thought...was of you...as I told you.. how much I love you...miss you...and wish things...were as they use to be.

God bless you son...as you keep close watch...over our family.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 28, 2017
Take Comfort In Knowing That You Continue To See His Smile In His Brother, His Laugh In His Sister, And feeling the warmth of His Guardian Angel and Archangel Gabriel Protecting Us.
Jessica Claudio
December 28, 2017
Jessica Claudio
December 25, 2017
Dear Son...We just got back from spending a very nice day...with both your sisters and their families. Your brother wasn't feeling well...so he stayed home.

As always...there was too much food... so after we had the antipasto...the lasagna...the macaroni...and the gravy meat...we voted against the third course...that was going to be made. Instead...we opted to play some games ...while trying to digest...and then moved on to the desserts.

We got home a bit later that I planned on...so before the day is over...I hope you had a Blessed Christmas Day.

You were and are missed.

Keep close watch over your sisters... their families...your brother...and Dad.

I love you Sal...and I pray for you... always.
Mom
December 24, 2017
Dear Salvatore...Today's 10:30 mass is being offered in your memory...and marks this...Eleven Years and Eleven Months Remembrance Day...of your devastating loss...to our family.

After mass...I visited your resting place...and brought the monthly rose ...which when added...to the Advent Wreath...the decorated Christmas Tree...and last week's Birthday arrangement...has me thinking ...you would find it all too much...and an excessive display...but considering the dates...and proximity...of all these occasions...you'll have to forgive my wanting you to know...that you are a part...of all that is going on...and will not be forgotten...or left out of anything...ever. I love you son...and I miss you.

I came home afterwards...to begin preparing for this holiday's menu. I even tried getting a head start...by baking on Thursday...and that was a total disaster...as I managed to...or my oven did...over-bake 144 butterball cookies...along with the chocolate delight cookies...that your brother-in-law...always looked forward to at Christmas...but after this...he may be looking a different way. I was going to re-make them...but then decided against that...since there is next week...and I can make them again... then.

I might be going over to your sister's ...because one of your nieces...wants to play some family games...so that she and her sisters...can all have a good laugh...at the expense of your ever growing old parents...and the Gap...that causes our answers and views...to questions asked...to so differ from theirs...that they find them to be...a great source of amusement.

If I do go...I won't stay too long... because I still have some more things to make...and I am also expecting your country sister...with her family... after midnight mass...so I need to get ready for them too...so they can grab a quick bite...and then go straight to sleep.

Sal...I wish things were the way they use to be...but...just know that I carry you in my heart...so wherever I am...you are too.

Keep watching over our family...God bless you son.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
December 17, 2017
Dear Son...It is now twelve years... since we've spent your birthday with you...and it remains as it was...in that first year without you...and every year since...a very sad day to get through.

I did schedule a mass today...in your memory...to mark what would have been ...your 49th Birthday...but I wish instead of that...I could have been making a family dinner...and a cake for you...with candles on it...for you to blow out and wish upon.

Yesterday...I picked up the floral arrangement I ordered...for this very special day...and I will be taking it to your resting place...right after mass is over. The new priest to our parish...said the mass...and while he is a breath of fresh air...I will assume...that the policy...of not announcing the name of the person... for whom the mass is being offered... is still being enforced. That's right ...and I was hoping for a little sign ...like maybe your name would be said ...but NO...it wasn't. Not a good policy...as I have said before...and it does offend...at least me.

Almost forgot...my Chicago Asst. Police Chief friend...who is now retired...sent me an email today... saying that last week...in your memory ...he lit a candle for you...and said your name aloud...when your picture was shown...at the Bereaved Parent's Annual Candle lighting Ceremony. He attends yearly since 2004...because that is when he lost his son....who was also a police officer..and he learned about our tragedy...when he went to the ODMP site...and saw the reflection...I had left on your Uncle Sal's page. He got in touch with me ...and was a great source of comfort then...as well as now...and he has stayed in touch. He and his wife are very kind and thoughtful people. Just thinking...maybe the email was a sign ...since I received it today...on your birthday.

Dad is a little under the weather at the moment...so I'm hoping he doesn't share whatever he has...with any of us...because there is much to be done ...as Christmas approaches. As I begin to make a plan...for what I can make in advance...I am also waiting to hear...if your sister has made up her mind...about coming with her children ...on the eve or the day. She did text me today...saying that she was going to mass at her parish...to pray for you...in memory of this day...and when I visited you today...there was a floral piece...that your oldest sister left...with a message that said..."I miss you Sal." She must have brought it to you yesterday...when it was a cold and sleeting day...one on which.. she shouldn't have been out...as she is still recovering...from her own ordeal. It breaks my heart...that because of "them"...your siblings have to know the grief and sadness...of being without you...in their lives.

Before I go off on a rant...I need to change direction.

Dad will be making his homemade pizzas ...the ones that you always called about...wanting to know when they would be ready...and how many he would be making. You would come from work.. just as they would be coming out of the oven...and your timing was always spot on. I miss those phone calls... and the other ones too...asking me if I knew...what was on the kids' lists for Christmas. Back then...they were 14, 11, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 2. They are all grown now. Twelve years is a long time.

I can't say..that I have any Christmas spirit...as I have done the bare minimum...but most everyone I know... who has either lost a loved one...or has gone through trying circumstances this year...feels that same lack of spirit. It's not how I envisioned things would be...but then again...no one ever said that life would be fair ...and it certainly wasn't...to YOU.

You had just begun to live...and had a lifetime ahead of you...with so much yet to offer...and to experience. I think it...and God knows it...so I will say it. I will never forgive any of those...who had any part in setting into motion...what happened to you... and our family.

I love you son...and I miss you all the time...and so does your brother. While the girls also miss you...they have their families...and all the responsibilities and distractions...of being parents...so he is the one... that 2006 may have impacted the most.. as he not only lost his big brother... he also lost his best friend.

I hope this birthday was a very blessed one...and that you are in the company of our family...and your friends...who have also been called back home to God.

Sal...keep watch over your sisters...their families...Dad...and most especially...your brother.

You are in my thoughts and in my prayers...always.
Mom
November 24, 2017
Dear Son...I am on my way...to pick up the flowers...that will mark...this Eleven Years and 10 Months Remembrance Day. I intended to get them...the day before Thanksgiving...but then things became hectic...so it was good...that the florist was open today.

On Thursday...although most everything was served...with just a few forget it dishes...since there was already too much food...and too many cooks in the kitchen...it also became a bit trying...as your sister...still wanted to be of help...by bending to get pots...and lifting up serving bowls... and straightening up and clearing off counters...all in the midst of our still preparing things...and all we wanted...was for her to sit down and rest...but I guess hearing that from a trio...as we all kept insisting she sit...caused her to become offended... so she went upstairs...as she put it.. to spend the day alone. It was not our intention...to hurt her feelings.. so we backed off. Fortunately...one of your nieces...was able to coax her into rejoining us...and from there it went ok.

The only other setback was...the need for a plumber...to unclog the kitchen sink...and they're hard to come by on any holiday...let alone Thanksgiving Day. He got scheduled for today...and we did fine with paper plates...and plastic cups. In the end...all the courses were great...and the desserts plentiful.

After dinner...we sat down to play a drawing game...as a family...minus Dad...who was resting and watching TV. It proved that none of us were budding artists. Needless to say... most of us can't draw...although you did...and I have saved every drawing of yours...from the cartoons and super heroes...to the sports figures and ball parks...and the portraits you drew of...Dad...Me...Con...Steve...and the one you had started to sketch...of your brother. God blessed you...with so many talents.

The game did give us a lot of laughs. We each had a wipe off book...and individual cards...with 6 words on it ...and one die. The die was rolled... and each player...then had to look at his card...and draw the word...that was next to that number...on their card. Then you had to pass your book.. to the next person...and he had to look at the picture you drew...and write down what he thought it was... pass it again to his left...and then that player...would have to draw a picture...of what was written down. It went around the table...until you got your own book back. Then each player took turns..reading and showing the added drawings...on and on. It was a takeoff on...the old telephone game...with a twist. Of course I took a ribbing...because my drawings were pitiful...and my guesses ...as to what the other's drew...were out in left field...but we did have some fun.

Anyway...you are never far from my thoughts...and I hope you know that I love you...and I miss you...each and every day.

God bless you Sal...as you continue to watch...over your sisters and their families...your brother...and...Dad.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
November 23, 2017
Dear Salvatore...Thank you for hearing my prayers.

Your sister still needs to do a lot of healing...but at least she is home... tired and a little sore...but in good spirits...and considering all that she went through...I never cease to be in awe...and impressed by her courage... and amazed at her attitude. I don't know how she does it...but she still manages to keep her sense of humor... despite the challenges...of going through...all that she has...for so long. Your brother-in-law is also...a great source of comfort and strength for her. He is truly her rock. Bless them both.

Today will be spent differently than our last Thanksgiving Day...as I asked Cyn not to come...so that the noise and confusion...created by having more members...of our not so quiet family.. would be kept to a minimum. Of course she understood...but I know there was disappointment...all around...as her children...at least some of them..look forward to seeing...their cousins. It really has been a while...since we've been in each others' company. I am always amazed...at seeing how tall... her children continue to grow...from one visit to the next. I know she wanted to see Con...and will...but it may have to wait...just a bit.

I pray that you are...in the company of our family...and your friends...and that you all will have...A Very Joyful and Blessed Thanksgiving Day.

I love and miss you son...and I am thankful to God...for blessing me... with your sisters...you...your brother ...and your nieces and nephews.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
November 8, 2017
Dear Son...Well it was a very quiet Halloween. Of course I bought way too much candy...and now it's all left... since none of the kids...who live on our street...ever knocked on our door ...and there were only...three little stranger Trick or Treater's...but they did come back twice.

There are now...a number of young families...who have bought homes on our street...as the original owners have retired...and moved away. I think one of the families...may have had a party...for the neighborhood kids...at their house...hence no doorbell rang...which may have been just as well...since going up and down the stairs...to answer the door...is a bit slow...as both Dad and I...are still healing.

The first was Gramps birthday...but I had to miss the mass I had offered for him...because Dad had a doctor's appt. ...that I needed to drive him to.

I also had masses on All Souls Day... and in addition to our immediate family...I also included our extended family members...on both the C/Q and E/C sides of the family.

The weather yesterday was terrible... so after PT...and then voting...I came home...instead of doing the errands... I had hoped to get done. Since it was an already lazy day...I sat at the computer...and went on FB...and no...I don't use it personally...but I saw that this was...the 30 Yr. DJO Alumni Reunion...for the Class of 87.' I didn't realize...it had already taken place in Sept.

So I went to the DJO Alumni page...and saw links and photos...posted by many of your classmates...who had attended ...or helped to organize it. There was an In Memoriam page...with pictures of you...and three female classmates...who were also called back home...much too soon...and much too young. God bless each of you...as you rest in His perpetual light.

I recognized some of your male classmates...as well as a couple of the females...and I must say...the ladies are aging better...than the men...but they have an edge...since the men don't get to wear makeup. Most are married now...and have families... and look to be enjoying their lives. How I wish...you could have had that same opportunity.

Sad to say...that it doesn't seem to end...as another senseless loss of lives...took place in a Baptist Church in Texas...by a deranged person...who personified evil. My heart goes out to all those families...who lost loved ones...in one more terribly tragic way. God help them cope with their grief...and bless those they have lost...as they rest in Your eternal peace.

You are in my thoughts Sal...each and every day...and I miss you so very much.

Keep watching over your siblings... your nieces and nephews...and Dad.

God bless you Salvatore...as I hold you close in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
October 24, 2017
Dear Sal...I went to the florist yesterday...to pick up my monthly order...since today would be marking...the Eleven Years and Nine Months Remembrance Day. It's falling once more on a Tuesday...and is the 613th week...since our hearts were broken...and our family...forever changed.

Dad came home from the hospital on Thursday...and has been in a lot of pain...even though he is taking the meds...to minimize his discomfort. The PT person will come to the house...three times a week for the next two...and then I will be driving him...to all of his outpatient therapy sessions. We are quite the pair at the moment...as I go to PT on Tues and Thurs...and he is scheduled for M/W/F into December. Your sister...is also scheduled for another surgery in Nov. ...so please hear me...as I continue to pray...that You will...along with my Brother...Nan and Gramps...watch over her.

The season of year...that you so loved and enjoyed...is here again...and it is the one that causes me...the most upset...because you are not here...to enjoy it...and all of the upcoming holidays...that you always looked forward to.

Today I ran into the wife...of one of your friends...and as we started to talk...she asked about your brother... so I showed her a picture of him...and she said he looked so much like you. So I found myself talking about you... and telling her...bits and pieces...of what that took place...from Jan. 2006 through early 2011...and then some. She told me she could remember...when she heard...the shocking account of what happened to you...as your name was broadcast...over the local 11 pm news...that night...which was 90 minutes after what took place...and yet...it took them...five and a half hours...to notify us...by knocking on our door...at 3 am. It all remains with me...just as though it happened moments ago.

Your brother had a birthday last week ...but it was a very quiet one...and I had to insist...that he at least... blow out the candles on his cake...and let me take a picture. He doesn't look forward to birthday's anymore. He misses you too.

God bless you Sal...as you keep watch over our family.

May you rest peacefully...in His perpetual light...knowing you are so very loved...thought about...and remain in my heart...and in my prayers ...always.
Mom
September 24, 2017
Dear Salvatore...I didn't know if I'd be able...to make it to mass this morning...or visit you afterwards...on this 11 Years and 8 Months Remembrance Day...because I am still recuperating from last week's knee surgery.

Hopefully I am able to do both...at least that is what I am expecting to do.

This past week has been a very hectic one. Your brother-in-law had a bad fall...and may require surgery...to repair damage done to his arm. Your father's limping...is getting worse... and his hip surgery date...is still a few weeks away. The "happy" plans... are also up in the air...as things still need some resolutions. I guess this is called Life...and the zigs and zags that it takes. I suppose since things could always be worse...we should try to count the blessings... wherever we may find them.

These past weeks have brought us...awful devastation...in the forms of...hurricanes...floods...earthquakes and forest fires...with terrible losses...of both lives and property... and added to the threats...of the crazies in our world...it does seem that somebody up there...is trying to get our attention.

It's just too bad for us...that we keep ignoring the signs...but alas...that's human nature...and its flaw of..."free will"...that keeps all of us...off the same page. I do hope...we all get it right...before it becomes...too late to matter.

God bless you son...as you keep watch over our family.

You...my precious boy...are very loved ...very missed...and in my thoughts... and in my prayers...always.
Mom
August 24, 2017
Dear Son...In your behalf...on this 11 Years and 7 Months Remembrance Day...I will be attending the noon mass...and offering my prayers for you...as I have been doing on the 24th of every month...ever since 2006. The one change is...I no longer have a monthly mass offered...in your name...on that date. Ever since February of this year...and you know the reason why...I decided to only have masses offered for you...on your Birthday and Yearly Remembrance Day...as opposed to the monthly remembrance day...even though as I've said...I continue to attend a mass on that date.

If our pastor ever decides to change his thinking...on the subject of announcing the name of the person... that the mass intention is offered for ...then perhaps I may reconsider my decision. I guess I'm being somewhat of a stickler...and I pray...that you are ok...with my thoughts on this matter.

I went to the florist yesterday...to pick up the flowers...that I will leave at the St. Joseph statue...and at your resting place...when I visit you after today's mass.

I actually scheduled today's mass for Dad...several months ago...when I was at the rectory...reserving masses for the birthdays...and remembrance days.. of all of our loved ones...who are in that better place...and knowing...that this date...would also mark a very special "Milestone" birthday for Dad.. I went with my inclination...thinking that he too...could benefit from a spiritual gift.

On another topic...my upset always manages to be tapped into...and today was no exception...as by chance...I came across an article...on a new type of device...that police in Missouri are testing...that is called The Alternative."

It is described as...a metal alloy ball...that fits over the muzzle of a handgun...is propelled by a bullet... and hits with enough force...to knock down and stop...but not kill a person.

It went on to say...that in split second encounters...it may give ample time for police...to consider ways to protect themselves...and the public... while still keeping their suspect alive. Now there's a thought!

It appears that the recent criticism.. protests..and community demonstrations ...against leo's...over these last years...re questionable shootings..and killings of unarmed persons...by police officers...has led police depts ...to examine this new technology... that makes bullets...less deadly.

In light of what took place with you.. I want to scream...why wasn't this type of technology...available then.

As I read the words...they took me back to square one...and all that is stored in my memory...of your tragic loss to us...at their hands...and everything that took place in the aftermath.

I remember being advised...that in a case like ours...you don't try it...in the court of...public opinion...their outrage...or in the newspapers...but rather...you seek justice and win it...if at all...since at the time...it was near impossible...even when right...to prevail against the police...in a court of law...and there...you cite civil liberties violations...and prove that it didn't happen...the way the FCPD wanted us to believe...that it did.

So...we listened...and kept a civil... and I hope...dignified demeanor..while trusting that the justice...you were owed and deserved...would be rightfully served in court.

In hindsight...judging from the attention...the more recent behaviors received...in pointing out injustices ...perhaps we should have been...more vocal too...out in the open...and being that squeaky wheel...that might have raised the public's awareness... on just how stacked the system is... and was then...in the belief that leo's...could do no wrong...but since that time...that is no longer a given ...in light of particular incidences ...that have transpired since ours... and have changed...the public's point of view.

Who knows...and I go back to it...that maybe David Masters in '09...or John Geer in '13...both of them...unarmed...and non-threatening...might have benefited from our shedding light... more blatantly...on FCPD practices...which most citizens in our county...were not aware of...and could have...also fallen victim to...if not for the grace of God...just as in the cases of...the two men I named. God rest their souls.

So Sal...as I see how things have changed...as a result of public outcry ...and the tables have turned a bit... although in fairness...not all for the better...but as people can only tolerate so much...before going off the rails...at least now...courts and police departments...are finally willing to recognize that...officers should be held accountable...in obvious situations...of apparent wrongdoings...and justice does demand consequences...for such acts...and that is...regardless of a badge.

As I see it...their own assessment of you...which they disregarded...listed you as an optometrist...low risk...non-threatening...non-violent...unarmed... never having owned a weapon...and compliant...didn't seem to register with them...so despite that information...they continued along with their senseless plan...to use unnecessary overkill tactics...and the unjustifiable use of excessive force.. in their attempt to serve you...with a document search warrant...for sports wagering...which evidently...never equated for them...as being an unreasonable over the top plan...in this circumstance...and so they proceeded...with their reckless operation...which to my reasoning... bordered on insanity and stupidity... on their part.

The policies...procedures...protocols...inadequate officer training...and tactics...of the FCPD...were all wanton...and not best practices...as we came to learn...but as such...allowed for their SWAT team to be used...on what should have been...nothing more than a routine call...that only would have required...if even that...for a couple of officers...to show up at your office and handle. Knowing you...a phone call for you to come and meet them...would have also sufficed. You weren't after all...public enemy number one.

You were a nice guy...a gentleman... and that UC knew that...and maybe that's why...when he saw me at his deposition...he attempted to offer me his hand...and say how sorry he was for what happened to you. He was the only one to attempt an apology...but I drew my hand back from his...and told him I couldn't take his hand. He walked away from me...with his head down.

The images of days in that room...and looking at those officers...who were there on that night...and the two... who in their testimony...said they tried to assist you...telling you to "hold on"...all of it...remains with me. Time plays no role in healing...the kind of wound...my heart knows...and it never will.

There was never a need...for the use of a SWAT team...to be sent...nor was there any consideration given to its mantra of...Speed...Surprise...and Violence of Action...which is a concept...at the heart of "dynamic entries"...that are typically used with..."no knock" search warrants...on locations known to house...extremely dangerous offenders...who are dealing ...and associated with narcotics and weapons...which most certainly...was not a concept...they should have ever ...applied to you...or in your case.

Also...there was SWAT's SOP "ready gun"...any time they are sent out...and that translates to...the pointing of the officer's weapon...at center mass...and that weapon is loaded with...and designed to be lethal...hollow point bullets...which cause catastrophic injury. So putting you at unnecessary risk...and in harm's way...with no margin for error...is exactly what they did...and without a second thought. How very unconscionable of them!

Of course the known...and usual go to buzz words or phrases...in my opinion ...if all goes bad...get cited by them...such as..."I felt my life was being threatened or in danger"...most especially if there's no video record to note otherwise...and then there's the "It was an accident." The..."I didn't know that it was my gun that went off...until my hand kicked back."...is pretty unbelievable...and from a veteran SWAT police officer no less...Really?!!

I find it hard to swallow Sal...that with seventeen years on the force... seven of which...he spent as a member of the SWAT team...and he didn't know until?...and I also recall hearing... that he was some sort of weapons instructor too...so just "how out of it was he?!"...to not know until his hand kicked back...that his finger was on the trigger...and he fired his gun.

That's a question that I've asked... but par for the course...did not get an answer to...since his word was taken as "gospel"...and no substance abuse tests...were done on him. So...I made my assumptions...and live with my own answers.

I'll say it again...when he was questioned that night by IA...he said..."I squeezed one off." To me...that sounds like normal routine wording...police jargon if you will... for a deliberate and intentional act. He also had marked...with an x...on a diagram...where he was standing that night...and it was where the shell casing had rolled from...which was on a neighbor's inclined driveway... a garage door or so...away from your driveway.

In our expert's testimony...that driveway location was substantiated...as having to be the place...from which the bullet casing rolled...in order for it to be found where it was...ie near the curb.

That story changed...however...as the wagons circled...so a couple of days later...after initially having said... upon exiting his vehicle...he cleared the door...shouted "Police"...and was steady on his feet...didn't rush... stumble or trip...as he took his position...it then evolved and became ...he was at the passenger door of his vehicle...and as he opened it...it recoiled on him...and may have caused him to lose his footing...and then it caused his left hand...to hit him in his chest...causing his right hand...as he was taking his weapon up...from him thigh holster...while his finger was straight on the frame of his gun...to then cause an involuntary sympathetic reflex...of his right hand...and his finger went ...from the frame of his gun...to the trigger...and in an unaimed shot...he hit center mass...causing your life to be stolen from you...and our hearts to be forever broken.

Our experts' testimonies and their re- enactments...which the judge had viewed...were approved by her to be admissible in court...and they did not support his evolved story.

For whatever reasons...she determined...that the opinion...of the county's expert...was not admissible in court...just sayin'...

During the taking of our own...deposing of officers...which was close to two years after what happened...and went on for a few weeks...the stories muddied again...and changed a few more times...as his fellow officers' gave accounts...that led to facts...that we hadn't known previously...and they were not consistent with "his" account ...of what took place.

As we all listened...we came away with more questions...as many of the officers...appeared as not having...a full understanding...of what roll they were assigned to play...in this botched operation...and there were more than a few contradictions...among them.

As his was the last face you saw...I remember feeling compelled...to look at Him during his deposition...and I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I guess I was looking for a sign of remorse...but he avoided looking at me...or even in my direction...which I took to be...the sign of a guilty conscience.

I also recognized early on...that their agenda...in dealing with us... was not going to be sincere..re issues of transparency...accountability... and consequences for actions. They were unwilling to be forthcoming with us...and often stalled in getting back to our attorneys...with paperwork that was asked for...and along with the unprofessional behavior of the county attorneys...who would snicker among themselves...and make snide faces... during our depositions of their officers...and in pre-trial court appearances too...is what led to my opinion of them...as very detestable people...and that is still my opinion of them.

Even my brief encounter with Chief R...around the time of the Ad Hoc Committee meetings...when I told him exactly how I felt...about what happened to you...and how it should have been handled...on his watch... there was only the slightest expression on his face...that appeared to acknowledge a..."you're right"... but there was no admission of complicity by him...for his police dept's chain of command decisions... that led to our unnecessary loss...of a wonderful son...and brother.

In my eyes then...as well as now...their actions will always remain...reprehensible...inexcusable...unjustifiable...and most unforgivable.

There will never be for me...any coming to terms...with what is...and that they caused...to happen to you...and our family.

There is still more in my heart...and you know what that is...and neither will I ever forgive myself...for having to break my promise to you.

Sal...the emotions run deep...and it doesn't take much...as you know...from all that I have written...to surface and open the floodgates...that bring me back in time...to that knock on the door...and then some.

So those words..."Ample time to consider ways to protect"...and "less deadly bullets"...yeah...if only... that thought process and technology...was their goal...back then.

So...I find that I relate to all those parents...that I read about or see on TV...who have also had their unarmed children...taken from them...by those who are sworn to protect and serve...in what also appears to be...for no justifiable reason...and in very questionable circumstances.

I am also saddened...when officers are targeted...because I know...my own brother...your uncle...was a good...fair...and honorable leo...like the many there are...but with the few bad apples...that are the exception...there are those...who forget...that every life is precious...and each one matters.

We are a world gone mad...and are at odds...on both sides of these issues...and many other ones too.

I pray that we will get back to being respectful of one another...and return to what we were meant to be...which is...caring and compassionate human beings.

Today will be acknowledged quietly...as it is a bittersweet one...but we will have a dinner celebration for Dad...with your sisters...their families...and your brother...this weekend. It's also your youngest nephew's...fourteenth birthday.

Again...it's a family gathering...that you would and should have been at... but all we can do...is miss you so very much...while wishing that you could have been here...with us...if not for them...and that we didn't have to be...a forever changed family...and I'll say it again...because of them.

God bless you Sal...as you keep watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and...Dad.

And being a pest...but knowing that you were always an accommodating son...if you can broaden your watch...to include our extended family...and dear friends...as well...that would be good too.

I love you Sal...and you are in my thoughts...all the time...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
July 24, 2017
Dear Salvatore...Today marks the 11 Years and 6 Months Remembrance Day... of your heartbreaking loss to our family...and although I have given up ...on the 24th of the month masses... after 10+ years of scheduling them...I thought this half year mark...should be acknowledged...and so this morning ...Dad and I attended the mass...that I had previously scheduled...in your memory...for this day.

True to form...as in the past...your name wasn't announced this morning either.

I know I gave you my reasons...for limiting the scheduling of masses...to Birthdays..and Yearly Remembrance Days ...so now I sound indecisive. I guess I was trying to give it another go... but it looks like nothing has changed ...and since I am still finding it... irritating...I am back to square one.. plain and simple.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason.. in the announcing of a name...rather it just seems to depend...on which of the priest's...is saying the mass..and whether or not he decides...to make the name known...by announcing it.

That inconsistency annoys me...and as Dad has been known to say.."it doesn't take much to annoy her"...but that is only a half truth...because I only get annoyed...when it comes to...what I view...as any slighting of my children ...and of course...when it has to do with you...well, that's a very sore spot.

Your idol needs some extra special watching over...so do what you can... to make that happen. She's been more than courageous Sal...but all that she has gone through...over the many years ...is certainly wearing thin...and she needs a break...because as they say... "Enough is Enough!"

Dad got a call from Mr.D'M...who will be at a venue we frequent...asking if we would be there tonight...since he would like to see us. We were going to celebrate...your niece's 17th Birthday tonight...but being the sweet and understanding young lady...that she is...she was gracious enough...to postpone the celebration until tomorrow. She is easygoing and very agreeable...not a trait that she got from me...(but at least I'm honest)... so I'm glad...that she takes after her Dad...in that department.

God bless you son...as you continue to watch over...each of your siblings... your nieces and nephews...Dad...all of our extended family...and dear friends ...who haven't forgotten you.

You are in my daily thoughts...as I carry you close in my heart...and you are loved...very missed...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
June 24, 2017
Dear Son...Yesterday...when I went to the florist...to pick up the flowers that will mark...this 137th Month Remembrance Day...as I bring one to your resting place...and the other to the St. Joseph statue...the thoughtful girl who always waits on me...insisted on giving me a third flower...as she put it..."this is just for you"...and since I wasn't expecting her to do that...I mentioned my non-green thumb to her...and said I felt this flower's beauty....might be better served...if I brought it...to the statue of Our Blessed Mother.

So...I thanked her...and told her that I would do that...and offer a prayer in her behalf...and another for a very special concern...I haveand hopefully the prayers will be heard. She laughed about my thumb remark...and said my feeling was a good one.

We've had more than a few curves... thrown our way...these past few weeks ...some more serious than others...and I keep wondering...does it ever end. I'm sure I am not alone in that thinking...but lately...all I keep hearing ...is either very sad...and/or bad news...and it's not only on a personal level...but in our world as well.

I've been praying for the Warmbier family too...as their loss of their young, wonderful son Otto...was also an avoidable tragedy...and because I know their pain and grief...they will remain in my prayers. God help them.

Sal...you are so missed...and I wish you could be here...to lend your thoughts...in calming all that is in my heart. I pray that you do know what that is...and that...you will keep a close watch over your sister.

I also ask that you watch over your other siblings...your nieces and your nephews...Dad...and so many others... in our extended family...who are also hurting.

God bless you...my precious boy.

I love you..and you are in my daily thoughts...as I hold you close in my heart...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
June 18, 2017
Dear Sal...When I visited you today after mass...I ran into Julie. She goes to her daughter Ryan's resting place...every single day...but I don't usually get to see her...as my visits to you...are usually earlier than her's are...to her daughter.

I was happy to see her...if you can even use the word happy...when two Mothers...run into each other... because they are having to visit their children..at each one's resting place. This July 1...will mark her little girl's...Ten Year Remembrance Day. J is a very devoted Mom...and one very amazing lady. God bless her...her family...and Ryan.

I want to wish you...a very blessed "God-father's Day"...as I pray that you are happy and at peace. Please continue to keep close watch...over both your Godchildren.

Today...Cyn and her four...wanted to meet us...for an early dinner...at the same Italian restaurant...that we had been to...for the first time with you ...many, many years ago. We met them ...but I must say...the food wasn't as good as I remembered it being...when we were there the first time. I do try ...to make the best of it...but family dinners...are not, nor have they been ...what they once were.

I guess since I am still the outspoken me...which seems to annoy...those that would have me be otherwise...you might say...that doesn't lend to the mood either...and so it goes.

C is at the beach with her family... and your brother...did what he has done...pretty much for the last 11+ years...with few exceptions...as he usually sleeps through...these "occasion" days. This is our new normal...thanks to them.

Make sure you watch over your sisters ...their families...your brother...and Dad. God bless you Salvatore!

Well son...to say you are missed...is an understatement. You know what is in my heart.

I love you...and you are in my thoughts...and in my prayers always.
Mom
May 24, 2017
Dear Salvatore...It's after midnight ...so it is the 24th...and it marks the Eleven Years and Four Months Remembrance Day...of your loss to us.

Yesterday...I picked up the flowers... that I will leave at the statue...and at your resting place...when I visit you...after going to church this morning...where I will be praying for you...and a cousin...who was just called back home...by God. May she rest in His peace.

I just saw the news...that in England ...there was another senseless terrorist attack...that took the lives of innocent children...young teens... and some of their parents. They had been at a concert...of a popular singer...and as it ended...and they were leaving...a bomb was detonated.

Our world has gone mad...and how God could have watched all the evil...this sick person inflicted...on these young souls...whose families are now forever destroyed...because of his evil action ...and not intercede...because men have "free will"...is beyond my...of course...finite comprehension.

This free will choice that one has... coupled with such distorted beliefs... held by these fanatical types...that are bent on killing...needs rethinking ...so I will be praying too... and since that won't be happening..for all of the many victims...the injured... and their families.

I have also been praying...for our president...as so much rests on his decisions...and they best be very wise ones...since the course he will take.. in trying to keep us safe...from such evil...will determine what kind of future...our world will have. God help us.

The weather held out on graduation day ...no rain...but cool and overcast... so that was better than...the heat and sun bearing down all day. Your Godchild graduated with both of her diplomas...plus Distinction...and a terrific grade point average...and has a job waiting for her. After the photo frenzy..we had a great dinner... at a lovely country club...not far from her parents' lake house. Her boyfriend's family joined us...so it made for a nice gathering...and after that...we went back to their house... for more desserts...and even a game of Taboo...which is a favorite of Stef's ...and of course...she is usually the winner.

We drove back home...with Vic and her boyfriend Zach...as passengers...and they were both sick. They had been at a Washington state wedding...the day before...and then with little sleep... they took an early flight...making connections along the way...and flew back to VA...just in time to make... the graduation dinner celebration. Your brother is also sick...between respiratory issues...and sore throats ...these hot and then colder temps... are doing everyone in.

Tomorrow I am expecting company...your Aunt and cousin...will be spending the night...on their way down to FL...and Friday is V's...and as she called it..."golden" birthday...so it's been a busy week.

All the goings on...that you would have been...so very proud of...and happy to be at...but because of them ...all we can do...is miss you...and miss you...and miss you so much.

I love you son...and I ask you to keep watching over our family.

God bless you Sal.

You are in my thoughts...and in my prayers...always.
Mom
May 14, 2017
Dear Sal...The Palm Sunday cross...Dad made for you..is still attached to the marble front...that holds your name plate...at your resting place...and it's a small miracle...that it's still there...since things left...often seem to vanish.

Today is one more Mother's Day...the twelfth one to be exact...that will have me coming to visit you...and all because of them. I can't turn the page...on your not being here...and the pain of your loss...is with me each and every day...because my heart is so very broken.

Your nieces and nephews...over these many years...have experienced so many milestones...and next week...your Godchild...will graduate from UVA... which is yours...her sister's...and her Mom and Dad's...alma mater too. Her undergrad degree was completed last year...but she was in the Curry School of Education...doing a fifth year...to complete their Master's program...so now she will receive both her diplomas...and officially graduate with...and I hope I have it right... otherwise I'll hear about it...her BA/MT...while wearing the Phi Beta Kappa stole/cords/tassels...as she walks onto the lawn. She has truly excelled in all of her studies...our Ms. DJO 2012 Valedictorian. She will be a high school Math teacher...and has been hired to teach...at her Dad's former high school...not far from their home. She is so very smart... and ambitious...and has that same Math gene...that Dad...you...and her Mom... have each inherited. You would be very proud of her...and all of her achievements.

Each of your sisters' have children... who are talented and gifted...in many areas...just like you were. They are very fortunate...to also have...such amazing...dedicated...and nurturing Mom's. Dad and I...are blessed to call them our daughters. You and your brother...also have given us much joy ...and while he is still finding his way...we are very aware...that we will never know...what still might have been in your future...to enjoy...and share in...having been robbed by them ...of you...and your presence...in all of our lives...but for that..if only.

I love you Salvatore...and I will be visiting you...right after this morning's mass.

You are always in my thoughts...and in my heart...and how much I miss you... is beyond belief. I think I now know ...what my Mom felt and went through ...after losing my brother...and I can only hope...that I have her kind of strength...as I try to cope...with my own unbearable loss.

I do want you to know though...that I did go through the motions...and although some of your siblings...could not join us today...we did have a pleasant brunch...for the most part... with your idol...your brother-in-law ...and two of your nieces. The other one...had to work today.

Thank you for that sign today...and God bless you son...as you continue to watch over your sisters...their families...your brother...and Dad.

You are in my prayers...always.
Mom
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