Once upon a time, I was a happily married nursing student slash mother of three, documenting my schooling endeavors with a sense of humor. Life changed in three seconds. Now, I'm learning how to pick up the pieces, while managing grief and raising babies.
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In loving memory of Angeline O’Neil (Angie) who passed away in the comfort of her home on February 7, 2018.
Angie was born in Detroit on December 17, 1937 to Antonio and Frances Bartolotta. Later, she would meet the love of her life, James O’Neil, while working as a secretary downtown. They were wed on October 20, 1962.
Like a true Italian, Angie loved cooking and could always be found in the kitchen. She was best known for her pignolota and her cannolis. If she wasn’t cooking, she was cheering on the Lions and the Tigers. She also made time for the ones she loved, whether it was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee or watching Turner Classic Movies from the couch.
Predeceased by her husband, James, 3 brothers, Rosario (Russ) Bartolotta, Christopher Bartolotta, and Dominic (Danny) Bartolotta, 1 sister Rosa Maria Zerilli (Rosie), and a grandson, Scott Bajorek.
While she was considered “Mom” to many, she’s survived by her children: Brian O’Neil (Lori), Lisa David (Greg), Kathleen Peach (David), and Patrick O’Neil; grandchildren: Megan Bajorek, Matthew O’Neil (Jaime), Jason Sultini, Justin Sultini, Kristen Sultini, Erica Dewey (Lucas), Savannah O’Neil, Jacob O’Neil, and Clarissa O’Neil; great-grandchildren: Sophia Bajorek, Lydia Bajorek, and Jaxson Bajorek; siblings: Anthony Bartolotta (Marge), Sally Humphreys, Francis Bartolotta(Sue), and Frances Legato (Rob);
Visitation is Tuesday, February 13th at 10 a.m. Mass starts at 10:30 a.m.
St. Mary’s Queen of Creation: 50931 Maria St. New Baltimore, MI 48047
Luncheon immediately to follow at St. Mary’s hall
* In lieu of flowers, the O’Neils ask that Angie be honored by making a donation to the Sandcastles program; A grief support program for children and their families. Click the link below to do so online or donations can be made at the church or with the family.
I love starting my day by hearing a song that is 100% from Scotty.
Chili Peppers, Hall & Oats, Cake, Metallica, Bell Big Devoe, John Legend, Earth, Wind, and Fire.
This morning it was Gap Band…
Music was hard initially after losing him.
He and I found so much enjoyment from cutting it up at a wedding/event or just dancing around the house with each other and later, with our children. Something that bonded two people in such a way; brought them both so much joy… Remove one of those people,and there’s just gaping, salty pain. Through nausea, I’d ask myself during those days: How can I possibly find joy in music again? How can I ever dance again?
And I began to mourn these pleasures of life while mourning him.
All in silence.
A few months into grief, I was introduced to new artists. I allowed myself to listen to them, and I did so on repeat. These were different types of musicians. Ones that never played in the background of any of our memories together. Music to which I couldn’t dance. Eventually, I began to enjoy music in a different way. A darker but absolutely necessary way
The magic of music is that it has the same properties as water. What do I mean by this? Walk into your kitchen right now, fill up a glass with water, and set it on the counter. Then, grab a single piece of paper towel and gingerly dip a corner of your paper towel into the glass of water that you poured. Just the corner. What happens? You watch the water rise up further than your dipping point.Water creeps. It’s polar, which means at a molecular level, it attaches to itself…the molecules climb one other to reach further.
I can tell you this is how music worked within me this year. I let just a little bit of it in. Just a corner of the symbolic paper towel into the glass of water; At first, it was one depressing song on repeat. Then, it was several angry ones (on repeat). The angry songs gave me energy to listen to upbeat stuff… and before I realized it, music was in my life again.
Don’t get me wrong. To this day, there are still songs that could take me to my knees, but I refuse to let that happen now. And strangely, I feel like it’s him, laughing over my left shoulder, bobbing his head and saying: Girl, don’t you deny this beat!
I’m happy to say that my kids and I have honorary dance parties in our kitchen again,
and we know it’s probably a joyful moment for Daddy too. He speaks to me through music, and what once was something too painful to accept, is now something I deeply cherish.
I’m here to tell you, whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, I know you’re in pain, and I’m so sorry that you carry it. I know that some pain just never heals, and I’m sorry for this fact of life as well. My heart hurts all of the time. It’s not going to go away. I know this.
Of all these things that ‘I know’ though, the one I know for sure: not any of this is a reason to stop listening to the music, to stop dancing, to deny yourself the beat.
Heat griddle or frying pan to med-high heat, spray cooking surface
Using a measuring cup (or your eyeball), scoop 1/2 c. Increments of the mixture onto the griddle
Use a spatula to mold them into a “pancake”-like shape *spray your spatula with cooking spray as well, to prevent sticking.
Cook your breakfast cake for about 2-2 1/2 minutes per side or until they’re browned on the outside and cooked through.
Excellent when served with sour cream.
*Makes about 10 cakes.
**Most of my measurements are rough estimates, so I hereby relinquish any responsibility for them. This recipe is very forgiving. Add more. Replace the ham for turkey or (the broccoli casserole for potatoes casserole). Leave things out (except the egg). And you will probably be ok.
***Low carb/Keto friendly.
Let me know if you try it out and how you make it your own!
It mercilessly rips a piece of your heart from you, leaving a gaping, throbbing, exposed hole.
Desperation and panic whisper in your ear, “You gotta cover it up. The hole must be filled.”
You fall to your knees and begin digging into the earth.
You maniacally shovel in dirt.
Dirty fingernails, salty tears.
You spend all of your time shoveling unto the point of exhaustion, and then, you collapse. Tired muscles. Aching head. You fall asleep.
And you dream that you are whole again.
Time passes. And you awake.
Sleepy eyes, you see that there… it sits….
That fucking hole.
That’s when you realize:
Nothing will fill it.
Filling the hole is like wearing shoes two sizes too small or drastically changing your hair color. Filling the hole, makes you feel even less of yourself than you did before, when it was just you with a hole in your chest.
Grace and love whisper in your ear, “You have a choice.”
And so, you choose…
I’m not going to fill the hole any more.
And instead of filling it, you decide to build a fortress around it…A heavily guarded monument.
You fall to your knees and begin building.
Bricks, made of resilience.
The mortar is new identity.
Your rusty nails are filled with hope.
With all the strength you can muster, you build.
You spend all of your time building unto the point of exhaustion, and you collapse. Tired muscles. Aching head. You fall asleep.
And you dream that you are whole again.
Time passes. And you awake.
Sleepy eyes, you see that there… it sits…
A fucking castle.
Your fortress is complete.
And you, with the master key, will open the front door.
You, with the only map, will navigate the catacombs.
You will visit that vulnerable spot, behind a secret door.
And you’ll reminisce who you were before and what cracked you open on a Friday afternoon.
Last night, I crawled into bed with my four-year old daughter to snuggle. Brushing her hair out of her face, I could feel her thinking as she sucked her thumb, “Whatya thinking about?” I asked. She shrugged, staring at the ceiling, thumb in mouth.
“How are you feeling?” I pressed.
Eyes still on the ceiling, she mumbled, “I’m sad… I miss Daddy.”
My voice shook in reply, “I know, baby. I miss him too, but the sadness won’t be forever. I promise you, Lydia. We can’t be sad forever.” My words were meant to be comfort to her, but they felt like a plea to God. This sadness doesn’t last forever. Right?
Lydia took her thumb out of her mouth, turned her eyes to meet mine, “Mom, yes it does. I’ve been sad forever. Every day I’ve been sad. And the next day. And the next.”
That’s when I realized it. My daughter is depressed.
My four-year old, curly-haired silly little girl has depression. She wants her dad back, and all I can offer her is to do everything in my power to help her find happiness again. I held her until she fell asleep. Then, I tiptoed out of her room, shut the door slowly, laid in the hall and cried.
This is my life.
This morning, I was perusing Facebook, when I saw Scott’s beautiful face in my news feed. My heart stopped for split second, and maybe against my better judgment, I clicked the attached link.
It was an article posted by the Macomb Daily. When I read it, I felt pain, and I felt confusion. What does this institution have against my family and I? Why would they allow the defense attorney an entire article to say whatever he chooses without any sort of fact checking?
If this reporter would have come to either of the preliminary hearings that I and ten other family members and friends of Scott sat through, they would have heard solid witness testimony discrediting all of Arnold Weiner’s claims — firsthand. The reporter would have heard a direct quote from the judge about the accident, “It doesn’t get any more reckless than this.” If the reporter sat in court, firsthand, he would hear that upon his arrest, the defendant was in possession of illegal drugs. These things are not secrets. Court is an open forum for journalists and citizens alike, to check in and observe proceedings. So why would a journalist take the word of the defense attorney as truth? Without fact checking?
It’s in my nature to leave the details of court in court. This accident was like a large water balloon filled with poison. Striking me out of nowhere, its acid filtering into my pores. Its side effects gradually taking their toll. I do my best not to broadcast the poison of my life. Therefore, I leave this negativity to be handled privately, amongst family and friends. It is because of this, I will not dissect every untruth that Weiner said. However, I do want it to be known: In 1985 Weiner was disbarred for embezzling from the elderly. (*See link below)
This represents the old saying: Consider your source.
I trust that the public understands the garbage that they are being served. And I pray, pray, pray that an article like this doesn’t tamper with a potential jury. My beautiful family, his beautiful family, and I are being forced to relive the worst day of our lives over the course of months. Each witness from September 23, 2016 comes and tells the same story, again and again. And while other stories may grow old, may lose their impact, this one stings. Every. Single. Time. Every account is reliving that day all over again. On top of that, in our daily lives, when we are not expecting it, articles like these pop in. Articles like these, dismissing the impact that this loss had on a community, a home, a family, three children.
Lydia is currently in group therapy, and after I process the poisonous feelings from this article today, I will be calling a children’s counselor for her. One on one. I will do everything in my power to ensure my children are ok.
But it will never change what’s been robbed from them. No matter how “ok” I can make it for them, it will never change what’s happened.
My children were robbed of their father by a selfish man.
Justice will be served.
***Here is a voicemail that Scott accidentally left me a month before he passed away. It is him talking to the girls.
Love you all — Thank you for your continued support.
*Edit: If you are comfortable, please share this link to your social media platform and ask The Macomb Daily to retract their article with the hashtag #JusticeforScott We need an army right now and do not want this false interview to tamper with a potential jury. Thank you for reaching out to me and my family and for your continued support. It means the world to us ❤️🙏🏻*
**Second Edit (8/20):
Good morning friends –
I just wanted to pop on here and update you all with the goings on of Tuesday’s Macomb Daily (MD) article. It was an exhausting few days there, but our family made it through, and I’m happy to say we’ve been having a relaxing QUIET weekend at home.
First of all,
My blog post reached over 25,000 people, and you all were beyond supportive in sharing it, writing something of your own, writing to the MD, or messaging me privately to send your love. I could not ask for better people in my life, in my community, in my Facebook-sphere.
God is good.
And you all had a hand in proving that to me. 🙏🏻
As far as retracting the article: after speaking to prosecution and our attorney, it simply won’t happen. The article quotes a man who lies, but the reporter himself does not lie. Did he give both sides of the story? No, but unfair doesn’t mean illegal; I should know: Not all things are going to be fair.
Adding to that, I believe it’s really shown to the defense what they’re up against. My soul purpose in writing what I did was to give Scott and I, our families, and our children a voice too. I didn’t think it would reach as many as the MD article reached, but I had to try and publicly answer Mr. Weiner, the defense attorney.
And holy smokes, you all really went to work for us, and we did pretty damn good. There was even interest from other news sources. The Bajoreks/O’Neils are not here to fight this in the media though. We know the facts are enough to bring justice, and we trust the Macomb County Prosecutors and the system.
Thank you again for being so passionate with me. Thank you for loving my husband, our kids, and our family. Please kiss your babies today and tell that person in your life what you love about them. 💕
On our third date, Scott and I had a long conversation about where “this” was going. We talked about what we wanted for the future, and I remember my neurotic tendencies enveloping it all. Finally, Scott grabbed my hands, looked me in the eyes, and said, “You’re gonna be my girl.”
My heart skipped a beat, and I smiled. Looking into his eyes, I felt the sincerity emanate from him. This was it. I was his. He was mine.
What neither of us realized then is that we don’t get to keep people. They are lent to us for an undetermined period of time. . As much as we can “claim” someone on this earth. The truth is that nothing truly belongs to us. The only things we possess of our own are thoughts, feelings, and spirit.
This is something that I quickly realized after having my oldest daughter. Holding her in the hospital and again, looking into her curious eyes, I knew. She wasn’t mine. She was my DNA. Her title in this life would be my daughter, but my responsibility was only to guide her on the ways of the world. And funny enough, many times now, she’s the one who guides me.
Eventually, she will leave me. She will have a family of her own to tend to, and it will hurt. If I’ve done my job right though, she will flourish on her own. This is my perspective with all of my children. Of course, I would later learn a deeper version of this lesson.
Scott died on the phone with me. Mid sentence. One moment he was “mine”. The next he was “gone”.
I knew, before, that life was short. I went to bed every single night and prayed to God, listing off the things in my life that I was grateful for. I said I love you. A lot. And still, nothing could have ever prepared me for the way my life would literally become the cliche that everything can change in an instant.
I’ve asked “why” often since Scott was taken, and that’s an answer I won’t get in this lifetime. My “why’s” began with desperation, then they were bitter; then they came from a place of deep sadness and defeat… Now, I find myself slowly growing into humility.
Only He knows.
The answer isn’t for me to understand, but what I’m learning for sure is that people are lent to us. They come into our lives to teach us. They teach us in the literal sense, but moreover, they teach us in their actions and way of being. The relationships we form, both atrocious and Godly, contribute to our growth. They prepare us for something bigger.
And for today anyways, I’m going let go of all possession and to look to bigger things.
This is a photo of my oldest daughter four months before her father was taken from her.
I don’t talk about my kids much on here, and that’s for a reason.
For, when I think about the impact that this has on my beautiful children… when I look at this photo of my daughter… and I see how her face used to light up…and I remember the morning that I told her that her daddy passed away and watched that beautiful light shrink from her eyes into an abyss within seconds, the feeling is more than just uncomfortable. It’s unbearable. It’s helplessness. It’s deep sadness. And it’s anger. It’s a faceless monster.
We recently moved, and while disassembling my daughter’s bed, I found her dad’s obituary hidden under her pillow. She’s been sleeping with it every night for 6 months.
I actively work to not think about how this has and will affect my kids. I’ve avoided it because the pain is crippling.
Our oldest and he were cut from the same cloth. They think alike. They’re both brilliant and rational to the point where (at times) it’s difficult for them to relate to others. He was a safe place for her to where she could turn. He was someone who understood her… in ways even I, her mother, can’t.
Our 4 year old was the apple of his eye. He was her prince, and he was honored to be so and have a true “Daddy’s girl”. She’s a born romantic, and I relished the fact that she was going to grow up with the perfect gentleman of a father to set the example.
Our son was two when his dad died. Every day he asks to see a photo of he and his dad on the slide. It’s all he has… and now I’m left to raise a man by myself.
So right now, I’m scrambling. I’m sifting through the anger. I’m sifting and sorting to find a way to be enough for these kids. I’m frantically trying to find a new way of living that will turn this anger into fuel. To avoid bitterness. To avoid depression… To honor their dad and his way of living.
I’ve learned that avoiding thoughts doesn’t mean the feelings go away. I’ve pushed away the angry thoughts of what’s been taken from my family, hoping that somehow they will just take the hint and go away.
They don’t. They only get louder.
I guess now is just my time to listen to them… and allow myself to feel the misery. It’s just my time.