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Farewell to my Kitchen Sister

Farewell to my Kitchen Sister

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”—Julia Childs

Lana Lee Jones D’Agostino, July 18, 1955 – April 25, 2018

Friday, April 27, 2018. Lana, you’re missing the conversation about your life that’s happening as we listen to your brother Michael and wife Megan read your obituary we are crafting. Although you made your presence known when you knocked over the framed tribute President O’Bama signed to our father-in-law Vic thanking him for his military service. That passage you approved was about being a strong [and independent] woman—Steve’s addition.

Strong and independent. Yes indeed. But also tender and loving.

We knew you as our sister. Had conversations over the years about your work as a journalist. But as we sister-in-laws shared last night at your viewing, we really didn’t know the breadth of your professional life. Until you died.

Steve is collecting your press badges for your memorial service. They tell a story in their own right. 911 In New York City. The elevation of Cardinal O’Malley in Rome,  The Boston marathon bombings. The Whitey Bolger story. JFK Junior’s plane crash. These were some of the big ones. You covered thousands of smaller stories that kept us informed and connected to the world outside our bubbles. Over 20,000 in your 30-year career.

Isn’t it a pity that we don’t get to glimpse our impact while we’re here. Perhaps a tad narcissistic, some might think. Yet it can also be an opportunity to measure how much more there is to do with whatever days are marked on our earthly calendar. Your days reflected how deeply you cared about social justice and truth telling. And family. 

How you loved making a comfortable home! Your Thanksgiving and Easter dinners were legend. Especially that unfortunate ham you sourced so carefully from the Amish one Easter Sunday—we all heaved a sigh of relief when you pronounced it inedible. 

That was one of the memories Pat, Kim and I shared as we stood beside you last night. Ours was a kitchen sisterhood. Since we gathered en masse mainly at holidays, there were always kitchen duties. Prepping, serving, cleaning. These simple rituals gave us plenty of time to catch up on life. Griping lovingly about our mother-in-law (sorry Stell!) and our husbands. Wringing towels instead of hands, we vented what I now recollect were minor frustrations typical in a life shared with a big Italian family.

I think you would appreciate the care we are taking with your obituary. Of course you would be humble and probably want less, but, since you’re not here, it’s in our hands. We are fact checking, avoiding overt, flowery language. But hell Lana, to quote Steve Jobs, “You made a dent in the Universe.” From the Governor, Mayor, politicians to colleagues and ordinary citizens, you witnessed and captured history. 

So we who love you best are telling your final story. I believe you would approve. “In sickness and in health. That’s part of the bargain,” Steve says as we wrap up draft 1.

Mark adds, “She may have signed off, but her powerful impact on our story continues.” Agreed.

Love you always Kitchen Sister. 

XO

Miss Vicky

Pat, me, Lana, Kim Circa 2000’s

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