In Loving Memory…

Nicolina “Nanny” Bonfiglio
January 28, 1929 – February 24, 2011
In loving memory, my eulogy for my Grandmother…
On behalf of the children and grandchildren of Nicolina Bonfiglio, I want to thank you all for joining us today in celebration of her life. We honor her in this bon-voyage gathering to wish her well in her journey to the ultimate reunion in the sky. Oh, what a reunion that will be!
Everyone in this room had a special relationship with Nanny. She used to call me her shining star. I know she had some nicknames of her own. Nanny, Nan, Nelle, Niki, Nicolina, Mrs. Bonfiglio, Nelly the Cat, Nelly the Original, Aunt Nelly, Mom… and now we can all be united in calling her our guardian angel.
She didn’t waste one minute in letting us know that she is up there watching over us. We all know how much she loved the lotto. She was notorious for playing numbers with special meanings. It was for this reason that we paid close attention to her time of passing: 8:35pm. Many of us played the number the next day, in her honor. Well, in true Nanny “style”, 8-3-5 came up in her beloved pick-3 lotto… not even 24 hours after her passing. I’d like to publicly apologize to Nanny for dropping the ball and not getting a ticket in NJ where the number came up. I know she rigged that one just for us. [Pause, smile]. In any event, I feel like we won anyway. She sent us a sign. It was her way of saying that she is going to take care of us. She’s up there, she’s ok… and she finally hit the jackpot.
Nanny got a ton of lotto tickets at her 80th Birthday party!
Today, I look at her penchant for the lotto with new eyes. The lottery is a symbol of hope. We hope for the best, but some of us get lucky in the draw and some don’t. By all accounts, you would say that Nanny had a tough life filled with many hardships. Her struggles made her an incredibly strong, resilient woman. These are the very qualities that many of us cherished in her. She was like the little engine that could. God help anyone that tried to get in her way! She defied doctors for years. She was a fighter. She was courageous. She was proud of her strength. I am in awe of her strength. We all are.
In one of our last conversations she whispered to me, “Andrea, I know I seem tough on the outside; but I’m really a softie on the inside.” She talked about how she felt she had to be strong to protect the family. It was her deep love and devotion to our family that kept her strong. It kept her going. She only wanted the best for us and she fought tooth and nail to make sure we had it. What she lacked in riches she made up for with passion. She once told me, “True wealth is what you are, not what you have. You can inherit money, but never wisdom or respect.” She held strong to her ideals, her opinions and her beliefs. Some would call it stubbornness. 🙂 I like to think of it as strong-willed.
If she was with us right now, I know she would want to pass on some words of wisdom. One last time. We all know that she ALWAYS had to have the last word. Even when I would call her on the phone, we would go back and forth with our goodbyes. She always had to be the last one to say goodbye. So, as one final goodbye I’d like to share her Christmas toast. I believe she knew, in her heart, that it would be her parting words to our family. 
On December 25th, 2010 she said:
“I want to thank you, God, for letting me share this day with these beautiful people. Each and every one of them has a special place in my heart, for things they’ve said and done through the years. And thank you for my two sons and my daughter; my daughter-in-law and my son-in-law; my seven grandchildren; and my new grandson (Nicole’s husband) Michael. And I want to thank you for all these blessings. Watch over them God, because I’ve been doing it all these years…and I’m getting a little tired now, and I know my days are numbered.“
Well Nan, it’s time for you to rest now. I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Thank you.” Thank you so very much. The lottery is a symbol of hope, and we got the luck of the draw. We hit the jackpot with you in our lives. You are one-of-a-kind. You light-up our lives, like you light-up a room. Now you’ll light-up the skies as you sparkle and shine, like you always have. I love you, my shining star.
Three generations: Nanny, Mom and me. 

Your Loving Granddaughter,
(Always and Forever)
Andrea