Eulogy by Gina Cimino
JEAN WARD: JULY 9, 1920 – JUNE 10, 2017
Just yesterday morning, June 10th, 2017, at 6:00 AM, My Family lost a Mother, a Grandmother, a Sister, a Sister-in law, an Aunt, a Godmother, and a Friend. I am honored to represent My Family, The Wards, and Trasatti’s, in paying tribute to my Aunt and Godmother, Jenny Ward.
For so many reasons, and in so many ways, Aunt Jenny left a permanent mark upon my life. I’m convinced that whatever I am, whatever I am to become, I owe it to all those who have left an imprint on my life: my parents, yes, who gave me life; my Aunt Rita, too, who enriched my life, and Aunt Jenny who refined, and one might even say, defined, my life.
I am not sure if I totally understood this as a child, but as an adult looking back, I realized that many of the values I hold for myself were shaped by watching my Aunt Jenny’s life, and benefitting from that life. She taught me to Love and Accept all people of every age, color, ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, status, ability, sexual identity, and/or country, no matter who they are, what they do, or who they Love!
She embodied the spirit of parenthood, as she raised and loved her three children, Mark, Dwight, and Tony, unconditionally. Everything she did was for her family. As a woman, she was a pillar of strength, courage, and determination. As a Mother, she dedicated her entire life to her family. She will always be remembered for her never tiring, and never-ending love, she so effortlessly gave to all of us!
She was a gracious host, she was a phenomenal cook, and she always made you feel welcomed in her beautiful, cozy home. I remember so many weekends, as we would pull up to her driveway, you could hear the sweet sound of the saxophone, as she played her jazz albums on the stereo, mixed with the scent of her delicious food, cooking on the stove. Aunt Jenny always understood what really mattered. It was being with her family that mattered! Now, she was not perfect. Was she stern? Yes! Could she speak her mind? Yes! Could she put you in your place without uttering a word—with just one look? Oh, Yes!
However, she also possessed something that is so unique—and sadly, it is growing increasingly unique: She had a servant’s heart. She spent her life taking care of her family, and therefore, “Her Life”, was a life of, “True Sacrifice”.
Too often, we measure success by how much money one makes, but the truth is we must measure our lives by God’s plan. Therefore, I define success as fulfilling the purpose for which God called us, and I believe with all my heart, that my Aunt Jenny fulfilled that purpose. I believe with all my heart, her life was an “epic success”. When you look at her Sons, you see her success; when you look at her Grand Children, you see her success; when you look at me, you see her success. Therefore, she still lives. She has left a legacy that will not die.
I spent a good bit of time with Aunt Jenny over the last few years, and as difficult as those times were, they were, oddly, some of the most precious times God allowed me to have. It was a time of personal healing, and bonding; it gave me a chance to talk with her, to laugh with her, to enjoy pictures of family with her, and very often, just to sit there quietly. It allowed me an opportunity to remind her of how much I Loved her, and I “Thank God”, for that opportunity. Some people do not get that opportunity. It is something I will always cherish, and I know God had a plan—and He worked it, as only He can. I cannot say I understand it all, because I do not, but I trust Him.
As I end, Aunt Jenny may have departed this life, but her legacy lives on. It lives on in the lives of so many; it lives on in me, and among the most prominent of those lives, is the life of my Aunt Jenny, for she is the one who “Shaped my Values”.