13th Hot Cocoa Run & Dog Walk - 5k/10k/1mile - Benefits ALS and Alzheimer's Association

Sun December 5 - Sun December 26, 2021 New Rochelle, NY 10804 US
Alzheimer's Association- Dementia

Goal: $5,000

On June 12, 2014 I lost my mother after her 9 year battle with dementia.She suffered from numerous sometimes undetectable mini-strokes maybe the after effect of chemotherapy? I share here her eulogy in hopes of shedding light on not just who she was, but what it was for her and more so for my Dad who cared for her through her last breath. I hope you will donate to help fight dementia a form of Alzheimer's Disease

Veronica R. Luongo: 11/29/34- 6/12/14
Our mother was a very special and extraordinary person.  She wrote the book on unconditional love and giving. In turn she had a very special relationship with God. So much so, that when God was in trouble and in need of a good soul he came knocking on her door, over and over and OVER again. Each time she answered "No Lord, my work is not yet done".  
Perhaps His first visit was when she was a young woman and fell from a 30 foot gym rope breaking her back -"No Lord, my work is not yet done". 
When I was 6 yrs old, she nearly severed her leg off on a fence rushing to aid a neighborhood kid...an injury that made an experienced EMT ill from the amount blood loss and severed tissues -"No Lord, my work is not yet done". 
When she had her hip replaced, but after repeated falls, required multiple surgeries; one of which you might say required a skilled “Welder" --          "No Lord, my work is not yet done". 
When they found & removed a cancerous tumor the size of grapefruit in her colon, and complications led to infection and months of hospitalization………      " No Lord, my work is not yet done"
When 4 short years later the cancer metastasized,and she's admitted to Calvary-No Lord, my work is not yet done".
When she re-injured her hip & pelvis and her deteriorating health ended her up in hospice at Providence Rest " ....No Lord, my work is not yet done". 
My brother and sisters and I can't remember the last time we heard our mother say our names. For that matter we can't remember the last time we were able to speak with her. You could only wonder what she was thinking, or what she was feeling. But if you looked her in the eye and you smiled..... she smiled right back at you…. Names didn't matter… we are her children, now and forever; and she is our mom and she made sure you always knew that. Her life was all about caring for our Dad and raising her children. Our mom didn’t care about material things or wealth. Family is what mattered; and when the grandchildren came she made it all about them. Little Andrea was her shining star!  
Our mother saw the good and beauty in every living creature; there was no such thing as an ugly person.  She had a heart of gold and had such a passion for those in need. It's no wonder she was so successful teaching severe special needs children for over 20 years in the south Bronx. Giving and caring was what she did best. It came natural.  If you knew "Roni" you know she would give the shirt off her back, give her lunch to the homeless and go hungry.  She would give our toys to her kids at school because they needed them more than we did.  She would leave money with the deli by her school to be sure the dogs were fed and the homeless got egg sandwiches on her days off.  Every cent she had she gave to others.  She drove our Dad crazy with her Novena’s and donations to the church. At her retirement party it was commented by many that not only would the students and faculty miss her but so would the homeless and stray dogs.
I don't believe funerals are about mourning. We are here to celebrate her life, how she lived it and how she taught each of us to live. 
She taught us if you weren’t happy with the kind of life you had,you can find happiness by helping and caring for those around you.  Well the slow, agonizing progressive dementia took away the life my Dad and us expected to be sharing with our mom. But in turn, she was cared for by those around her.  Dad, thank you for allowing her to keep the grace and independence she had her whole life, through these difficult, yet joyful years....which 9 years ago we didn't expect to have with her. 
On Thursday morning God was in dire need of a wonderful soul.  He called, “Veronica, Ι'm serious, it’s time to go, I really need you". My mom, being who she is, waited for each of us to visit as well as each of her dear friends. She then waited for my Dad, her best friend of 52 years, to climb next to her in bed, hold her hand, and kiss her forehead.  She took her last breath; “Ok Lord, my family, my friends and all I've shared my life with, will carry on my job of teaching your love."   And she peacefully went to the Lord. 
After many unsuccessful attempts of writing this, we realized that there really are no words that can be said; there are only feelings, indescribable feelings that make our heart bleed and our whole body quiver because our mom was our hearts, our breath.  She was our confidence, our bravery and our strength.
We leave you with a poem Mom read to us when someone else  ahd passed from this earth:
Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there - I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow, I am what glistens in the snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain.
As you awake in the morning hush, I'll be the swift-up-lifting rush
Of quiet birds in gentle flight, I am the stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry,  I am not there - I cannot die.
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