Monthly Archives: August 2014


some astute observers may have noticed that there is a certain someone glaringly absent from my previous post. i’m sure it was obvious that my mom, Ellen (no middle name…i know, it’s weird) Capozzi, didn’t even receive an honorable mention in yesterday’s tribute. i’ve done this because i believe she deserves one all to herself.

to the uninformed onlooker my mother appears meek and mild (which she most certainly is), but to those who know her, Ellen is as strong and determined as they come. life has not been a tiptoe through the tulips for my mom; raising 4 boys, moving often and navigating tough times with my father gave her more than most could handle, yet she remained steadfast. her love stayed strong and her resolve grew with each triumph over life’s many obstacles. never was this resolve more apparent than during the final days of my father’s life.

mom had to watch the man with whom she had recently renewed her marriage vows deteriorate at a pace that was painfully shocking. she was there from the beginning and every single step of the way thereafter: feeding, reading, joking, laughing, praying, crying and singing to him as he lay on his final resting place. as i stated about mike during the final 12 hours, mom stayed by dad’s side until the very end, covering him with love. there isn’t a single human being who knows how to handle themselves amid the torrent of suffering of a loved one, but mom did what she does best, checking in on each one of us even as she sought to meet every one of dad’s comfort needs.

during my father’s memorial service, my mom found the courage and strength to speak in the face of what would appear to be crippling loss. during her short message of thanks to all those who came to show love and support for dad and our family, she spoke plainly and truthfully that folks need not pity her and that she would be fine. ever considering the well-being of those around her, my mom let the crowd of almost 600 know that they need not be concerned about her. she knows where her strength comes from, and that will never be shaken, no matter how painful the situation.

there is no amount of space i could fill up to express the gratitude i feel at this very moment for my amazing parents. they offered us a safe place to grow and covered us with love from the day each one of us was born. dad left 4 men behind (myself being the most manly, of course) to care for his beloved Ellen. it’s our turn to cover her, and we intend to do so.

i know what she said, and i believe without a doubt that she will be alright, but if you know her and have the opportunity, do yourself a favor and reach out. she will certainly appreciate it and you can count on being made to feel special even if you have called intending to offer comfort to her.


a tribute…part 2


a tribute


it has now been 24 days and 6 hours since my father, Joseph Charles Capozzi, passed away after suffering for 7 months from pancreatic cancer. i have no desire to recount the details of his agony, but i am compelled to honor my father, and to do so i can’t get around talking about the last night of his life.

what we, as a family, witnessed from 7 pm on july 11th until 7 am on july 12th was so excruciating that we may never fully realize how we have been affected by the pain. we all caught a glimpse of his suffering, and each did their part ease it. it was through this grief-stricken process that i learned things about my siblings that i had never previously known. consequently, i am forever grateful and honored to call each of them, brother.

that said, one of my brothers has forever changed the way i look at him.

my older brother mike has become my hero. he sat by my father’s side all night long, holding his hand, giving him swabs of water and morphine, playing music and speaking words of comfort until our pops took his final breath at around 7 am. while most of us slept, unable to stomach anymore, mike remained. his perseverance to withstand the pain of watching his own father slowly and painfully fade away, while also shielding each one of us from experiencing dad’s misery, displayed mike’s embrace of the greatest role he will ever play. he took all of the pain on himself because he considered dad and each one of us above his own needs. for this, i will never be able to adequately express my gratitude.

not only did i discover new, incredible traits buried beneath the surface of my 3 brothers, i learned the most important lesson of my life during dad’s final 12 hours. the pops, through his passing, presented his family with many priceless gifts, but the most significant of these is a love that will never die. the love that was put on display through countless friends expressing their admiration for dad, coupled with our collective care for him and each other throughout his journey to the end, is a love that lasts though he is no longer present. it is this same love that will go on long after this generation of capozzi’s occupy space on the earth. thank you pops for sharing this incomparable gift with us all.

we are a family forever changed.