This past Christmas Day, my beautiful bride of 35 years passed into eternity. Carmela Valentina Coyne had a bubbly persona and loved to encourage others.

When Valentine’s Day rolled around each year, we would recast it as “Valentina’s Day” and eat at an ethnic restaurant.

Since we had no kids to care for, we would travel the world. Along this journey we took in some 30 nations abroad and 49 of the 50 states.

Our passion for concerts began with attending New York’s Carnegie Hall. Now the angels in heaven must be doing a choral rendition.

When Carmela died I felt a calling to foster her legacy.

Below is the formula I applied, and feel free to borrow any of these ingredients.

Clothing: All of her attire was donated to the Union Gospel Mission Thrift Store. As a onetime nun her heart was always with the poor.

Dolls: She collected costumed dolls from around the globe. These are being given to the Salem Multicultural Institute to do an exhibit on diverse cultures.

Talk show: Carmela was an accomplished Toastmaster and reveled in public speaking. Hence, we did a January show on CCTV which honored her verbal skills.

Birthday plans: Her birthday was July 25, and on that day we will prepare a Filipino dish to honor her life presence. We will display a photo album that recalls her feats and footnotes. We will rekindle her flame.

No person’s death need be an episode shrouded in self-pity. Let the “Carmela Legacy” be duly absorbed so that every reader can draw sufficient strength to go on. ☸

(Carmela and Lee met in 1979 as co- workers for a social agency. Lee’s columns appear regularly.)

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