It’s been seventeen years since my dad passed away, but sometimes it seems it was yesterday. So vivid and sweet is the memory of his words, his blue glances, his kindness… I’ll say with Ella Fitzgerald, that
they may take him from me,
I’ll miss his fond caress,
but though They take him from me,
I’ll still possess:
the way his smile just beams,
The way he looks at me,
the way he speaks to me,
the way he sings so nicely,
the way he jokes with me,
the memory of all that.
No, no, they can’t take that away from me.
It’ll remain carved in my soul for ever
along with the peace he conveys.
Daddy, stay with me
No, no, they can’t take you away from me.
This year I have failed in almost everything I was supposed to do, but I can say that I have been there for my mom till she passed away, taking care of her, being by her side when she needed me, talking with her… loving her. I’m glad I have been able to do it. Now I feel sad when I see her house empty and I miss her smile and her wise and loving words. But life must go on… I’ll never forget this 2017.
Now let’s look forward: Happy New Year
My parents house was a cozy place mainly because they were there filling everything with their affection and their love. But also because the house was plenty of books (my father was a writer and a professor of literature), that gave warmth to the rooms. There were no walls without shelves and books on them except in the kitchen.
My father passed away years ago and my mother a few months ago, and we decided to donate my father’s library and his archive to his University. It will be available to scholars to research about my father’s work.
A few days before Christmas two librarians from the University came to classify, pack, and take away everything. They needed 115 big boxes to pack everything and two big vans to move them to the University’s Library and Archive
Now the house is empty and cold. Very sad. At least, we know all that beloved material is in good hands and will be useful for people interested in what my father had been doing all those years he spent writing and teaching. There are some graduated who could make their papers for their PhD on my father’s work.
All these are the good reasons we did. But for me is hard to look at the empty shelves without feeling my heart torn.
My parents lived one of the most exciting love stories I’ve ever heard of. They got married during the WWII. They had a baby, and almost immediately after that, the war separated them.
My father was a prisoner, later a refugee and finally an exiled. My mom had to hide with the baby and later was persecuted because of her faith in a communist country. They spent twelve years trying to reunite again during which they suffered a lot.
All their attempts were a failures until 1956. But they loved each other so much that when they finally succeeded and met again, they were able to look at each other at the eyes without regrets, and continue their live together just as if they had said farewell the day before. And they continued loving each other like the first day till the end.
Dad, a writer, used to write poems to mom and surprise her with little gifts with no apparently reason. She was always smiling. Their friends and acquaintances say that my parents conveyed serenity and happiness. I think so too.
My dad passed away sixteen years ago. My mom just last August.
I miss them badly
They didn’t have material things to leave us as inheritance.
I would like to inherit their way of loving, so natural, so intense, so faithful.
I used to knit during the long hours I spent taking care of my mom when she was still among us. It was the perfect activity to be with her. I was able to follow a conversation with her, do something productive, and drop it immediately whenever she needed something of me, which was pretty often, and unpredictable. I couldn’t read a book, because I couldn’t concentrate with so much interruptions. Watch tv was extremely boring. She loved watching me doing something while I was with her. when I finished my first sweater she said she was really proud of me. Since she passed away I never took out again the knitting bag again…until today to take this picture.
When I was a student at the University, my father was one of my teachers. I studied Journalism and he was a teacher of Literature, Technology and Ethics. I could attended at his classes which were magnificent above all the Literature an ethics ones. But he couldn’t examine me because I was his daughter.
He was known because he never let his students fail in an exam. They knew all of them would pass, but nevertheless they studied a lot for his exams. How did he get it? Nobody knew. He used to tell them if they wouldn’t work enough then, they will fail later in life. And he was able to convince them. He was really kind and always open to talk with his students.
So, when all my classmates had guaranteed that they would pass the exam, I had to go to render my exam to a different professor. In Ethics I had to face the toughest teacher of the Faculty who asked me tricky questions without any mercy. I didn’t want mercy, just justice. And that was not fair. At the end I passed, but it was hard.
In the picture, dad at the University
Now that my mom has passed away, her nest is empty. Her house, a meeting point for all of us, plenty of great remembrances, is now a sad and solitary place. The place where I used to go to find refuge and solace is gone.
Soon it will begin the time of Advent and after that, Christmas. Every year I used to spend many time with her, planning what to do, what presents get ready for the kids, how to set the simple grotto scene in the living room, under the Christmas tree full of decorations and lights.
And because she was so sick and paralytic, I was the one doing all that things under her loving directions, while we listened to traditional carols .
We used to laugh like kids at the slightest reason or without any reason at all.
I loved the moment when I had finished decorating the tree and the whole living room. It was usually at the evening. I used to turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree and the grotto scene and all the other decorations. Then I used to go to my mom’s room and bring her, pushing the wheelchair, to the living room.
The wonder in her face was my best reward. Her eyes were bright and smiling and my heart was dancing. I’m going to miss you so much, mom!
In the picture, my mom’s armchair, empty
Every Christmas eve, my dad used to build a grotto scene in the living room with little figurines of st Joseph, the Virgin Mary, the Baby Jesus and the shepherds, under the Christmas tree.
He had a beautiful a valuable figurine of the angel who announced to the shepherds the good news and he always put it in the scene gingerly at the end. When the angel was in its place it meant that everything was ready and the feast could begin.
Then, we could gather around the scene and the tree and pray, sing carols and finally open the presents.
The figurine, dad’s angel, no more than six inches tall, was very artistically done had every finger modeled one by one and a very peaceful face. It’s been more than 60 years than my dad bought the figurine and it looks completely new.
Now my sister keeps it in her house. She also takes very good care of it. It brings very good memories of all those Christmas at our home when we were all together and happy, and everything had some kind of sweet magic.
Those were wonderful years and now we are trying to build similar memories for the youngest in our family so they could also treasure wonderful memories of family life