Last week Goldberg Law Group lost a client and friend. Clelia’s grandfather, Domenico Barone passed away only a few days after walking into the Chilton Hospital emergency room under his own power, joking with the hospital staff.  He was a strong man who probably endured the pain of his undetected illness for weeks before finally consenting to an emergency room visit.

I fondly remember the times spent at his home where he prepared lunch and entertained me with stories of Italy, his life as a mechanic, and his large and diverse family.  Our friendship began almost two years ago when Clelia asked me to join her at her grandparents’ home for lunch as it is only five minutes from our office.  Clelia’s grandmother has been recovering from her own medical problems and Domenico was her primary caregiver.

I went hesitantly at first, but soon found myself looking forward to Domenico’s stories and drinking his Italian coffee, made the old fashioned way.  Due to the language barrier, I didn’t understand at least half of everything he said, but his expressions and laughter completed his thoughts and made for an entertaining lunch hour.  At the conclusion of every lunch I thanked him.  He would answer embarrassedly: “Oh, it was nothing” or “Fuggedaboutit”.

Two weeks ago I ate my last lunch with Domenico.  Due to his condition, we ate in the family room instead of the kitchen.   We brought food instead of eating one of his home cooked meals. For once, he didn’t offer me coffee. Domenico didn’t look well, but assured us he was okay.  I didn’t realize then but that was the last time I would see him outside of a hospital bed.

Domenico lived a long life but I know he had so much more to give. Luckily, his illness was short and he was spared the pain and loss of dignity experienced by so many of our clients. He was one of the good guys and I will never forget him.