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I look at my hands and I see you

· To her late mother ·

When my mother died I was a long way away, I was living in another country, I could not go to her funeral, I could not imagine her locked in a wooden crate, it was impossible for me to realize that I would not have been able to see her again. I did not want her to die, but knew I could not do anything but wait until the end, far away.

Every ring of the phone for Christmas, on my or my son’s birthday, brought back her memory. I was able to understand her death, when after a year, a friend lent me the money for the ticket and I went back.

Slowly my feet covered the distance from my parents' house to the cemetery, the last path taken by my mother without my presence, without my being able to cry and hug her for the last time; I think that those who have the good fortune to accompany their loved ones on the last part of their way on this earth are able to overcome their loss faster than those who are far away.

Each step is a memory, a feeling experienced, a smell, a smell of cooking, a smile, an anxiety, a sadness, a word, a caress, every step she is at my side, I am in front of what we are called "pantheon" (where all the members of the family are laid to rest), I stop, I look for the keys, open the door, I feel as if I can not breathe, I go out, I was holding a bouquet of flowers and decide to sort them out, the coffin is wrapped in an embroidered sheet, I touch it, feel something underneath, slowly lift up one end of the sheet and I find three dried flowers with a note written by my brother which said: "In memory of our granny, your grandchildren, Frederick, Matías and Facundo".

I went out, I am looking for an answer I do not know to what question, she's not there, she has gone and I was in a distant country; I was not crying, it was not crying that I needed, but rather an answer to a thousand questions; then I finally realized she was not there, there, there was a body that would fade over time, she instead was everywhere I went, anywhere in the world I went, in my thoughts, in my memory.

I'm at the airport of Ezeiza, I am expecting a plane that will take me right back to Rome, I look at my nails with the nail polish that my friend Alicia, by a lady who does this professionally, made me put on. The act itself seems superficial and transcendent, but when my mother died, the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of her were her hands, the hands that I leaned my face on and there remained for hours, accompanying her in her agony, as if I wanted to always record her warmth, her tenderness, her maternal love, her suffering, her sadness, her fear of death, of the unknown, of loneliness. Many times I happened to look at my hands as if they were hers, as an overlay, they moved themselves making the same gestures and something inside me did not want this, I want to remember hers, but I want my hands, I want to be myself.

I'm trying to record in my mind, so as never to forget, all the feelings that she gave me throughout my life.

And now that I am looking at my hands and I see red nails, the slow movement of small gestures that belong to me, I feel that I am detaching myself from the pain and I smile in her memory .

The plane lands in Fiumicino , I close my eyes and I notice the future.




St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 5, 2019