It’s 20 years out, and the first two weeks of August are still a giant emotional roller coaster. Mom and Dad’s Anniversary. Papa Visco’s birthday. Mom’s birthday. Dad’s birthday. Dad’s death and then mom’s 2 weeks later. It’s always a wild ride – of reflection, growth, happiness, tears, anger, and sadness. Below is the joint eulogy I did for my mom and dad back in late August 2002.
From Moulin Rouge:
MY GIFT IS MY SONG…AND THIS ONE’S FOR YOU.
If you could choose the perfect life, would you choose the life you have?
My parents never had the perfect life. They never had all that they wanted, never did all that they dreamed. Never really sought their deepest desires.
But they lived in their own unique ways, bickering through the bustling of a morning was just one of their ways of saying “I love you.” But there was also plenty of laughter, mixed tapes/cds, lots of movies, countless concerts, crazy collections and trips together to Maine.
My parents did not choose the perfect life – but they did make their choices – a life filled with the love of music, the celebration of words, busting with color. It was a life filled with comfort, with art.
And they were alive and in love in ways I am only beginning to understand.
My parents were certainly opinionated, and, sometimes, not so quiet about it. I will always treasure the image of my father at a Sinead O’Connor concert fighting for her right not to have the national anthem played…followed by the image of Sinead thanking the man who defended her from up on the stage — she had been in the crowd wearing a wig and hat!
They never had the perfect life — suffering with diabetes, with high blood pressure, with weight. They never had the perfect life – sometimes tempers flared and words became weapons. But they lived and they loved.
They loved their concerts, getting out to a good restaurant, goofing with the local DJs. I count it as a testament to them that there are DJs from Champ, KOOL, WIZN and the Point here. They were suppliers of trivia for contests, morning jokes, and moral support to all of these people. It takes a rare bird to appreciate all of these.
They loved singing. Rides in the car were more like an audition for a local stage show or American Idol. Someone was always belting it out – whether it was doo-wop, folk, or AC/DC. There was always a song to express whatever feeling was going on. It was a passion we all shared – the Visco family sing-a-long.
They loved the comforts of dining – over Frutti di Mare at Loretta’s, a Latte from the Expresso Drive Thru, tea from the Duchess Tea Room, prime rib on Friday’s from JP’s. It didn’t have to be as grand as all that though – it could have been and joke and a smile over a sundae at Friendly’s.
They never lived the perfect life, but they lived a life of rarity. They chose to find and see laughter in the small things, the quirky, the odd, sometimes the just plain strange. I will always hold dear the obit for a man that mom carried for years about the man walking through the world saying “Jello” to everyone he met. I hope she’s met him up there in heaven and that he knows how much joy he brought to our life. I hope that she has found Freddie Mercury and had one helluva a party! I hope she found Dad in that 57 Olds and that they are tooling around together singing.
They chose a life of giving, of supporting – supporting me through college, supporting the Flynn, the Baird Center, the Lincoln Library, Saratoga Performing Arts Center and countless other people, friends and groups.
They lived an inner life that many did not get to see or know – but every person in t
his room knows of what I speak – there was a frustrating, loving, gentle, maddening quality about them. They were who they were – and either you accepted that or you didn’t. All of you did. And for that I am grateful. I see the color, the richness, the diversity, the passion, the connections that they so treasured here together in one room.
The Visco family sing-alongs in the car may be over. But the song remains…