Where do I begin? It is only August 18, and I feel like I have lived several lifetimes during this month. It started on Monday, July 31st. I had one of those “a-ha” moments in which I knew I had to get Steve’s ashes to Boston ASAP. What was the rush? I don’t know. All I knew is that I had to take action. So, I chose departure date (August 8) and return date (August 13, arriving Nice on the 14th), got online to Air France and booked flights, looking for the cheaper “red-eye” flights. Nothing going, but a “red-eye” return flight to Paris. Booked!! Then, I got on Booking.com to find lodging in Malden MA, near Holy Cross Cemetery, Steve’s interment site. I found and booked a reasonable Bed n’ Breakfast named Albina House approximately a mile from the Cemetery. Then, I contacted Holy Cross Cemetery to arrange an approximate interment date and time. Then, I contacted Lutese International, the funeral home in Nice to see what paperwork I needed to get Steve “repatriated” in the U.S. to take his ashes out of France. Everything clicked.
Once my trip was planned and all paperwork accounted for, I contacted Steve’s family, mainly his sister Kris, and his cousins, Rose and Gloria and Carla and Paul, to notify them of the impending interment. Again, everything clicked. After that, I began notifying some of Steve’s close friends, and additional members of the family. Everything clicked. Kris booked a priest, and the date and time were set (1:00 p.m. on August 9, at the Orlandella Family Plot). I confirmed everything with the Cemetery. At that point, I started shaking inside and am still trying to get the shaking to stop. I knew this would be an emotional time for me.
The trip went as planned.
First night there, dinner with Liz MacGillycuddy Lucas, compliments of Liz and Tori Lucus in Somerville at Legal on the Mystic. A delicious seafood restaurant.
On August 9, 2018, at 1:00 p.m., approximately 25 members of the family and several of Steve’s close friends gathered at the Orlandella burial plot. Since the Cemetery does not provide chairs, we stood while the Priest delivered the committal prayers. Then, Carla (Cataldo, Steve’s cousin) sang a capella a beautiful hymn. Kris said a few words. And, so did I. It was a wonderful moment in time for Steve!! It was wonderful and sad, all at the same time. And, I could not stop shaking.
I know that Steve would be so happy to know that his sister Kris (Jones) and her friend Tere (Carruba) and his favorite (only) niece Katelyn (Ralston-Gerhardt) had flown cross-country from Washington state to be with him; his close friends Phil and Anne (Horn) and had driven up from Pennsylvania, accompanied by Phil’s brother Paul; and his close friend Dave Shotland had driven up from NYC. There were also other friends and aunts, and uncles and cousins from the Boston area in attendance. And, cousin and artist Paul Padulla had driven down from Maine. Liz MacGillicuddy Lucas came from Cambridge by Lyft with a broken leg. And the Cataldo boys – Chris and Mark – came with Gloria (Cataldo) from Cape Cod, along with Mark’s children (Gloria’s grandchildren). How wonderful!! Steve loved all of them very much.
I was the messenger that day. My turn lasted two years with his ashes on the shelf at home in Nice. Now, it was their turn. I regretted that I had not given more notice. Maybe then, Steve’s Aunt Rose and some of my children could have made plans to fly in from California. But, I didn’t. So, I take full responsibility for their absence.
After the Interment, several of us remained to watch the Cemetery helper close the grave. I put a yellow rose (his favorite) in the grave with his urn, compliments of Anne and Phil Horn.
Then, Kris and Gloria invited all the guests for a delicious Italian lunch at Anthony’s of Malden so that people could visit. Gloria had made lovely centerpieces for all the tables.
It couldn’t have been better. After people started to leave, Chris Cataldo gave me a ride back to my room and helped me up the stairs with flowers and food for dinner from the gathering. My head was reeling. I could not seem to “get a grip”. So, I went into the back yard of Abina House, and contemplated the trees, flowers, clouds and a yellow cat.
I sat outside for a long time. A beautiful cat sat beside me, knowing that I was hurting. Some of the others went for additional time together, but I was glad to be back in my room. Some of the others went for pizza at Regina’s in downtown Boston – Steve’s favorite and toasted him. I wasn’t invited. But, no matter. I was in not state to go anywhere. And, it was a important time for all of them. I was happy to see them together.
I stayed in the Boston area at Albina House until Monday before coming back to Nice. On Friday, I got my fingerprints taken for the California Bar requirement, and then Phil, Anne, and Paul Horn took me to lunch on the Boston Harbor. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was such a fun time. Phil is a teaser and full of fun. Anne was supportive throughout EVERYTHING, helping me through difficult moments. And, I enjoyed meeting Phil’s brother, Paul. His wife couldn’t join us because she was working, but we had fun!! Laughed a lot.
And on Saturday, I went walking to downtown Malden (in the rain), got a pedicure, bought some things I like at CVS, went to a beauty supply store in (I think I was in ) Everett, MA, got shampoo that I like, ate lunch at Panera Bread, spent the rest of the day at Abina House, contemplating “what’s next”??? and enjoying the cool rain out my window.
Sunday with Paul Pedulla at his Art Studio in Boston, homemade pizza with Lawrence and Paul in Cambridge, and my trip back home deserve posts all of their own. So, I will save them until another time, along with a post of movies I made during the trip.
This post honors STEVE ORLANDELLA and the celebration of his Interment alongside his mother, his father, his Orlandella grandparents, his step-father Ted, and other members of the Orlandella family – the place where he wanted to be buried when he died. Now, it is done.