December 01, 2020

Rick Beato on Aunt Penny: The Hardest Video I've Had To Make

Aunt Penny 💔

Today sucked the breath out of me. 

My guide, my compass, my sidekick, my other-mother, my laugh, my friend, my ground wire, my collaborator, my co-creator, co-conspirator, my inspiration, my song, my beautiful Aunt Penny passed away thanksgiving eve. 

The one who sat beside me on my bed when I was six years old. Explained to me the inexplicable

My father, her brother, had died. 

“Can I go out and play,” I asked?

“Can I come too?” She answered. 

I understood then, because children do, we were in this together. 

Over the next 52 years, when either of us faced a tremendous obstacle, one of us would ask the Big Question: “Can I go out and play?”

My father’s words, I would later learn, she took as an oath. “My baby sister, take care of my baby daughter.” She was only 26. She didn’t have to take that job. But she did. She saved most of us children more than once. 

Her spirit sparkled through what for most of us would be unimaginable adversity, taught us not only how to move through fear, dread, and uncertainty, but also how to look for enjoyment, passion, fun, humor—and music—on the path, at every turn, under every leaf. 

I have her lessons in me. How to recognize every small joy. Every quiet delight. 

I have no words for how much I will miss her. Our adventures with Jenna Sessum and Ge Sessum. With my brother Frank Dimino, her incredible sisters, our cousins and extended family and friends. 

Our lake visits and road trips. Our shopping excursions. Our daily FaceTime chats. Our late-night texts. Her kitchen table talks were legend. 

I will miss her every part of every day. 

And yes, we will go out and play.