The Lives We Remember

Dad at Stillmeadow, his favorite spot in the background.
Dad at Stillmeadow, his favorite spot in the background.

Thomas A. Paternostro  (1939 – 2014)

This is the picture we will always associate with our Dad.  Standing in the field next to the trees; the cabin he built with my brothers with his own hands, on his own land, stands quietly in the background.  The cabin was the site of many amazing and joyous family gatherings complete with a fire pit, wine, cigars and stories that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

We hope the community will remember our Dad as a man who believed in children, and dedicated his life to encouraging others to make children our highest priority.  He kept people accountable and reminded us to live each day with passion, purpose, and in the pursuit of excellence.

But, we lovingly remember him as our Dad.  He was energy in our lives, teaching us about life, nature, the power of faith, and the strength of family.

Every time you spoke to our Dad, you came away with a lesson. He was a brilliant man. He did not just have an intelligent mind, but it was the light in his spirit that defined his brilliance. People naturally gravitated toward him. His smile was infectious and when you were around him, you somehow felt more honest, more accountable, and more forthright.

Our Dad was, above all else, a teacher. The lessons he taught will live on in the hearts and minds of those lives he touched, most especially, his devoted family whom adored him. We feel blessed that we had the privilege to be his kids. What a life he lived!

They called Monday, September 8, 2014 the Grand Finale, as the third of three super moons for the year lit up the night sky. We cannot help but think how fitting it was for our Dad to make his way into Heaven’s light; to reunite with our baby sister, Kathleen; as the harvest moon rose over the mountain.

Dad’s bright light will continue to shine in our daily lives, for a light so radiant can never be extinguished.  We will love him and miss him for the rest of our days.

Dad’s full obituary is available here.

Always a teacher...
Always a teacher…

Kathleen Paternostro Morgan (1972 – 2012)

Kass was most proud of being Josie's Momma, 2010.
Kass was most proud of being Josie’s Mommy, 2010.

Kass’s life was the inspiration to start the Team Kass Foundation in January 2013. Our beloved baby sister and daughter, Kathleen, was called home to Heaven on July 2, 2012, almost one year to the day following her cancer diagnosis.

This picture shows Kass planting flowers with the love and joy of her life, her baby girl, Josie.  Josie was only 4-years old when her Mommy went to Heaven. As every mother does, Kass held precious hopes and dreams for Josephine’s life close in her heart.

Every waking moment of the first three years of their life together they spent hand-in-hand, side-by-side, sharing giggles, practicing words and the letters of the alphabet, and singing happily in the car on the way to and from day care. Watching the two of them together, you would have believed that they shared the same heart. You would have known that there had never existed, in the whole wide world, a love more genuine, beautiful, and unconditional than the love they shared.

But in July 2011, we watched our 39 year-old sister begin a journey that no one saw coming. Despite having lived a happy, healthy, and successful life up to that point, she heard those words that change your life forever…..”You have cancer”.

It was in this moment that our sister became our everlasting example of courage, hope, faith, and love. But, it was not just her diagnosis that changed our perceptions. It was truly the way she lived her life while she was sick that taught us everything we ever wanted to know about how to live.

What must the world have looked like through her hopeful eyes? I am sure her mind was filled with fear, sadness, anger, and a sense of “why me?” But, we never saw that side of her nor did we ever hear those sentiments. We only saw her hope and her steadfast belief that she would win this brawl and survive the potent waters. Her heart was filled with this strength and grace that to this day we have no words to describe.

Although our hearts still feel grief and anguish every day, we feel blessed to know that Kass is no longer in pain and that in Heaven she continues as the beautiful spirit that we were blessed to love for 40 years. She did not lose her fight against cancer. She lived every moment of her life with grace, dignity, and honor and she fought until her very last breath. She never lost hope. She reminded us time and again that “everything will be okay.”

Kathleen’s full obituary is available here.

Summer 2011 112
Kass & Josie, 2011.
Kass and Dad, 2007
Sharing a moment, Kass and Dad, 2007

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