Sunday, February 4, 2007

A celebration of a Magnificent Life, Ernestine Perrie

My beautiful Nonnie, Ernestine Minciotti Perrie, left her body on Friday, November 24th at 3:00pm.

Nonnie has been one of the biggest sources of inspiration in my life and to be her grand daughter has been an immense honor.

Nonnie was born into a troupe of actors, Italian immigrants who produced and performed plays for the Italian community. It was here that she learned every aspect of the theater. From her training in this lineage, she went on to become an actor, stage manager, Shakespearean scholar, producer, and renowned director of theater productions all over the world. In the 50's, as her career was thriving, her parents, Silvio and Esther Minciotti landed roles in film, including the 1956 Accademy award winner, "Marty".

Nonnie lived at a time when women had to fight for their freedom to live according to their passions, and she succeeded. She enjoyed a full life as a wonderful mother, wife, sister, grandmother, friend and director. An avid reader, scholar, and listener, Nonnie always showed more interest in others than in needing to tell her own story (as magnificent as it was!). Everyone felt important and special after being around her.

In her last days, her bedside was flooded with visitors. Even though her body was weak and her mind fading, she was always there with wide eyes to greet them and offered a compliment to share.

It was a privilege to be with her at the moment she took her last breaths, and to share the final two weeks of her life sitting by her side, soaking in her essence, and sharing sweet goodbyes. She was so full of love.

One of Nonnie's many gifts was her hugs, which she was doling out liberally until the point where her arms were too weak to lift anymore. Even then, she continued to hug using her shoulders to squeeze instead. Though we will never feel her hugs in that form again, I can feel her embrace on an infinite scale already, and her hugs will live on through everyone she has touched during her extraordinary life.

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