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Her last teaching

17 settembre 2015

A month has passed, and in the whirlwind of work-events-vacation-work, and work again, I haven’t spent a word for my Grandma yet. “Nonna” is the Italian word for Grandma.

Nonna Cesarina passed away on August 12th, 2015, at the age of 89, because of a severe pneumonia and consequent ARDS. As we already did in other occasions, we established a hospital-like care at home. No need to move her from her home to the hospital. It’s better like this, for elderly people. If you can manage it.

I have a bunch of beautiful memories with Nonna Cesarina. When a was a little child, my parents used to work a lot and I spent a lot of time with her. I remember our routine, since I have memory: before the kindergarten, during the morning I stayed with Grandma and we went to the supermarket, then she prepared lunch for the family, in the afternoon some nap, and then we woke up. She prepared me a snack (milk and Kellog’s chocolate cereals), then I watched cartoons at TV, and then it was late afternoon. When my mother finished her workday, we went together back home in the other small town we used to live at that time. I was the only grandchild, at that time.

And then I reached the age for kindergarten. I went there from 9 am to 4 pm (when I wasn’t sick… I was pretty frail back then…), and then Grandma’s home, snack, a short nap, cartoons at TV. And then the same routine. I remember I wasn’t very happy to have a nap every single day. I used to sleep for less than 1 hour, while Grandma always told me to have a 1 and a half hour of sleep. For the rest of the time, I used to watch around in the dark, hearing the clock and waiting for the time to wake up Grandma.

When I reached the age for elementary school, I was finally able to say Grandma that I was too old to have a nap in the afternoon. And the school, indeed, was full-time: from 8.45 am to 4.45 pm. I remember it very well. I loved school, with friends and nice things to learn. Thanks to the books and comics that my father used to read me, and also thanks to some TV, I was able to read a 5 years old. My mother never denied my requests to buy a book or a comics.

And then I went to junior high, and then to the high school… same routine, except for the nap, that I exchanged with homeworks and some TV. Nonna Cesarina always prepared me lunch, and then the afternoon snack, and then I went back home in the evening after work with my mother. At the end of the high school I got my driving license, but I always spent the afternoon at Grandma’s home. It was “home” for everybody in my family. And then, I wasn’t the only grandchild anymore (we were actually 6, in the end).

Vacations were so nice! I remember very well when I was a little child: I used to spend about 1 month at the seaside (Ligurian Sea) with Nonna Cesarina mostly. Until the age of 8, I was her only grandchild. Borgio Verezzi was the small town we used to live during summertime in Liguria, in a small flat we always rent for that period. Sun, beach, little friends, food, gelato, comics, and some toys. It was perfect like this, back then…

The very first vacation I have memory of, many many years ago, I remember that I was alone with Nonna Cesarina. One night, when it was bedtime, I was lying on my bed and thinking. Grandma was reading something. Then, I started to cry… I said I wanted mommy to be there…

And Nonna Cesarina told me something I still remember:

“Why are you crying?”

“I want mommy to be here”, I replied.

And Grandma said: “What if I start to cry as well? Me too, I want my mommy to be here”.

A pause. I didn’t know how to reply. I knew perfectly that she had no mother anymore. And then, she added:

“Don’t cry, mommy is fine and she will be here in a few days, when she finishes work. You don’t have to cry if someone is not here. It’s enough to remember that they love you, and that they think about you. Anyway, you can also take with you a picture of them, and they will always be there with you”.

That time, Nonna Cesarina gave me a picture of her, passport size. It’s the oldest pictures I still have in my wallet, and still one of the best teachings ever.

The picture Grandma gave me almost 30 years ago.

The picture Grandma gave me almost 30 years ago.

My Grandma (and my Mom too) was the nicest person I’ve ever known.

Even today, most of the mail addressed to her are thanks from someone.

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