STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Xmas was normally Sal and Michael DiStefano’s time to shine.
Every single 12 months, the father-son duo would shepherd in the holiday break season by decorating their Annadale household alongside one another, in no way failing to pick up a new bauble or adornment together the way to add to their show.
“It was incredible,” said Gina DiStefano, Michael’s mom. “Every yr, they would come dwelling from a various retail store [and say], ‘Look what we acquired! Glimpse what we bought!’”
This yr, 13-yr-previous Michael has ongoing that DiStefano family tradition — inspite of facing a profound decline.
In early February, Sal, a longshoreman by trade, developed a cough and sought remedy at Staten Island College Medical center, Ocean Breeze. 3 times later on, Gina stated her husband was moved to Prolonged Island Jewish Healthcare Center in Queens.
Three months immediately after that, on Feb. 26, Sal was pronounced useless. He was just 54 many years old.
“They retained saying he didn’t have [coronavirus], that he [may have] died from a exceptional immune ailment,” explained Gina, 53, a stay-at-dwelling mom. “And to this working day, we do not know what he died from. … [We didn’t get] closure. We could not go visit him. It was just horrible … and Michael was his lifetime.”
LIGHTS SHINING AT 99 WOEHRLE AVE.
Despite grieving his father, there was under no circumstances any concern in Michael’s thoughts that Christmas lights would glow at 99 Woehrle Ave.
Decorating is in his blood, as Michael put it, so he took the reins and started the approach of decking his house from lawn to roof (with a minimal ladder aid from mom), meticulously placing lights and Christmas figures — just as he’d figured out from his father.
His initiatives are extra than just about honoring Sal’s memory, nevertheless: Michael’s primary goal is to distribute joy to individuals who need it, specially through one particular of his preferred moments of year.
“It means a whole lot to me [to decorate this year] simply because I usually liked Christmas because I was little and I always loved decorating,” said Michael. “I just want men and women to see what we genuinely labored for. I just want all these unique individuals to arrive to the residence and appear at what we have carried out. … I just want them to see everything and delight in and have a fantastic time.”
Her son’s dedication to decorating is a place of satisfaction for Gina.
“[Michael] and Sal utilized to enjoy, appreciate decorating for Christmas. As Michael was escalating up, [Sal] would purchase him all these things,” she stated. “So this 12 months, [Michael] went super all out and bought issues. He’s like, ‘Mom, we have got to get this for Father! We have to get this for Dad!’ … and he decorated so fantastically.”
While this Christmas has yet to pass, Michael already has his sights set on long run getaway displays.
“This is only likely to get larger from below,” he promised. “Soon more than enough, it is heading to be breathtaking. Soon enough, the lights are gonna glow on the total block.”