April 17, 2022
Today we celebrate Easter with our friends and family, but we also reflect on the loss of an incredible man, Jacob Anthony Madonia, who passed away four years ago today. This is always such a tough task for me to complete. Every year, I want to celebrate him in the best light because he was truly a superhero to myself and others. One Halloween, he even dressed up as “Super Jake” – my idea, but he carried it well.
It is hard to believe that it has been four years. Although many books and people tell me he is still with us, some days that is easier to believe than others. Most recently, I have felt his presence and it has brought me great comfort. My grandmother, Lorraine, joined him in heaven in early February and I swear they are up there together, plotting to make sure everything is going in the “right” direction, while eating meatballs and dancing, of course.
This past year has been a year of transition for me and my family. Nalina Rose entered into a new school – a big adjustment but she is doing well. I landed a new job as an administrator in a local school district. Lots of responsibility, but I am enjoying the learning curve and building relationships with many employees and staff members. Lastly, we recently listed our home for sale so that we can move closer to our support system.
Transition can bring about many feelings: anger, fear, sadness, hurt, shame, and, of course, guilt. (After all, I am an Italian Catholic.) A feeling that I sometimes overlook is joy. With the help of my family, friends, and counselor, I have been working to find joy in this transition process as well as radically accepting some situations I do not have control over. I find myself saying, “Lorrina, it is what it is.”
In going through this process, I can’t help but think of my late husband and best friend. He was the BEST teacher. He accepted life for what it was and took changes in his path like a true champion (which, of course, we all know he was and I have the medals to prove it). He constantly reminded me, “It is what it is,” or, “Here is the plan,” or “Keep it moving,” or “We have so much to be grateful for,” or “Others have it so much worse.” He was so right, and I’m sure he loves hearing that now. I continue to channel his energy and thoughts as I walk this path of life and do my best to teach our daughter what he taught and continues to teach me.
Tears stream down my face as I write this tribute not only out of sadness but also out of sheer joy that he was in my life for more than a decade. From joy we have gratitude. Jake, I continue to be grateful for you and I promise I will live my life as a tribute to what you represented and still represent to so many people: Super Jake.
Since 2015, Jake and I have been involved with the Ride for Roswell. When Jake was healthy, we rode and when he was not, we donated. Team Madonia is comprised of family and friends that were connected to Jake in some way. Since the start of our foundation – The Lotus Flower Giving Society – we have made it our mission to participate annually and earmark all of the funds raised for the Sarcoma Registry Research Project at Roswell Park. Jake supported and believed in this project as it will help track treatment plans and outcomes of sarcoma patients to help future patients live healthier and longer (and possibly lead to a cure one day). If you are unfamiliar with sarcoma, it is a type of cancer that starts in tissues like bone or muscle. It is an extremely rare, aggressive, and under-researched cancer that is typically found in children and adolescents. I ask you to help our team raise funds that will directly help this population of individuals and their families that are impacted by this disease. And, if you’d like to ride with us, we welcome riders of all ages and abilities on June 25, 2022. I promise we’re a good time!
Out of Darkness Comes Light,
Co-Founder & President
The Lotus Flower Giving Society