Loved Beyond Words, Missed Beyond Measure - One Woman's Legacy

Saturday, August 8, 2015
Loved beyond words, missed beyond measure.  What a beautiful inscription on a headstone!  Think about it for a minute.......loved beyond words.  Somebody is so loved that no words can describe that love.  Missed beyond measure......that person who is so loved is missed so much, so deeply, so painfully, there is no measurement to describe it.  Wow, what a lucky person to be so loved and how blessed are those who wrote those words to have experienced such a beautiful love.

That is exactly what I thought when I read an article in last week's Clifton Park supplement of the Daily Gazette.  On the front page was a story about a family who built a memorial garden in one of the town's local parks in memory of a family member who had died.  On the surface the idea sounds nice for sure, but you're probably reading this thinking, "What's the big deal? People do stuff like this all the time."   Well, not like this.  I read through the two page story (link to the article included at the end of this post) and when I was through I was so taken by it, I felt compelled to know more about this woman who touched lives in such a way to inspire such a huge outpouring of love - love that is now forever preserved in this garden.  I had to know her and I had to write about her.  I was driven by emotion and was determined to meet the Loved Beyond Measure,  Maria Sciocchetti.
My husband and I visited Maria's Memorial Garden yesterday.  Set back from Route 146 in Clifton Park's Garnsey Park, the first thing you'll notice is that this is not just a garden.  But then, Maria was not just a woman.  According to Maria's obituary, Maria was the life of every party, the butt of every joke, the source of most of the entertainment at every family party.  She was an accomplished and talented architect, an artistic and talented crafter, and a master gardener.  She so loved gardening that at the dedication for her memorial garden, Maria's brother, Dino told this story, "Maria was an avid gardener.  So much so that when she bought her first house, she did what I thought was unthinkable......she took out a pool to make room for a vegetable garden.  To me she was taking out a pool, but to her, though, the pool was located in the perfect spot for vegetables, so it had to go.  That's what I call dedication."  That certainly demonstrates Maria's passion for gardening!

John and I spent about 30 minutes or so in the memorial garden yesterday.  There's something special that happens when you're there....a calm, a peace that washes over you.  I couldn't exactly describe it at the time, but you can feel Maria's presence.  Even though her garden sits just back from the busy Rt 146, when you're sitting on a bench, it's as though you are far, far away in the most tranquil place.   After spending time there I knew for certain I must follow my instincts and learn more about Maria.  I wanted to know her and I wanted you to know her too.  I wanted to know what made Maria so special,  what about her warranted such a massive tribute.
After some research, I found a work email for Maria's brother, Dino.  I was a little skeptical about writing to him because I was afraid he'd think me a stalker or some weirdo who was intruding into his family's personal business.  But this is a public park and there was a story in the paper, so maybe I wasn't really intruding.  Dino got back to me right away, (he didn't think I was a weirdo) and he was happy to talk to me about his sister for my blog.  After talking with him today, I immediately knew why I had been drawn to this family and their story.
Maria Sciocchetti

Maria with Dino's daughter, Lora
My first question to Dino was, "What is it about your sister that inspired your family to build such a memorial in her honor?  Why is she so special?"  One might expect him to answer with stories and details of a successful business woman who was accomplished and famous, or perhaps of specific good deeds or heroics, but what Dino told me was what we would all wish for our families to say about us when we pass.  This is what he said.......
Dino explained that they came from a big Italian family.  There were five children in the family, and all but 1 of them live locally, very close to each other.  He explained that they are very close-knit, and all of them get together for family Sunday dinners.  He said that Maria loved her nieces and nephews.  Maria didn't have kids, so those nieces and nephews were her surrogate kids, they meant everything to her.

He told me about her love of gardening.  Maria was a naturalist when it came to gardening.  She sought out heirloom seeds and only used organic materials in her gardens.  Her yard was filled with gardens that surrounded her home - herb gardens, vegetable gardens and flower gardens.  Dino told me about how she loved to knit (even though he thought of knitting as a more senior hobby), and  that she did everything whole-heartedly, to the fullest.  Ultimately his explanation was this......Maria was loved....not because she was famous or accomplished.....but just because she was Maria. She loved and she was loved back.
When Maria passed, those who loved her and mourned her passing wanted to create something in her memory.  Because of her love of gardens, the idea of a memorial garden came up.  They wanted the garden somewhere permanent, perhaps in a public place, and when Dino took the idea to Phil Barrett, the Town Supervisor, Phil embraced it.  It was then that the project began.   Family members worked on a plan with Kulak's Nursery.  Family and friends worked together with a lot of materials, determination and a lot of love over many hours to build a fitting memorial.  A.J.S. Masonry, the Sciocchetti family business, did the stonework, Maria's mom and Aunt Toni transplanted plants from Maria's home garden and what sits in Garnsey Park today is a huge and beautiful tribute to a woman whose love inspired such a massive memorial.  Contributions in Maria's honor helped fund the project along with donated materials.  I'm pretty confident Maria would be impressed and probably humbled by the outpouring of love that is seen and felt in this garden.

In addition to the flowers which fill the four symmetrical plots within the garden walls, a white house greets visitors as they enter the garden.  Dino built this house with a little help from some friends.  It is modeled after Maria's house and fulfills a wish she had to have such a house - a lending library - on her own lawn.   As you enter the garden, Maria's Home is filled with several books, some pens and a little notebook where visitors can leave messages about their visit to Maria's garden.  Visitors are welcome to borrow books or leave books. It's the perfect addition to a place that is surrounded by Maria's presence.

 Maria was sometimes lovingly nicknamed, Monkey......
 Her love is felt within these walls and the love that inspired the creation of this memorial garden is palpable to all who enter.  Maria's Memorial Garden is a little like the woman I've heard about and read about.....full of love, enthusiasm, perfection, and larger than life.  In its walls you are surrounded by joy and whether or not you knew the woman this garden memorializes, you can't help but feel her presence.

So although Maria Sciocchetti's garden is fitting for that of a hero or dignitary, it's not a testament to her status or her success.....things so many spend a lifetime chasing after.  It's a tribute to a woman who loved with all her heart, lived with all her soul and who was loved beyond words.  It is no wonder she will be truly missed beyond measure.  Thank you Maria for your example and to Maria's family for sharing Maria's love and legacy.  We could all stand to be a little more like her and we'd all be lying if we said we didn't feel a little envious of the love she inspired.  I don't know what my family will write on my epitaph, but if I can die knowing I was loved beyond words......I will have lived well and achieved success.


  1. This post was beautiful. I truly hope that one day I will have affected someones life to the point where I am loved beyond words and missed beyond measure. Thanks so much for the post!

  2. Such a beautiful tribute and gorgeous garden. it's just so wonderful how much they loved her for who she was .

    1. Thanks for taking time to read about Maria and for commenting.


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