L e l l a
They say that bad things change your life: well, she can said it for sure! Her name is Graziella, she is 56 and is from Italy, Genoa and she spent the last 5 years without thinking about herself. Everything began for the same reason her life changed.... These bad diseases like cancer are the one of the most serious problems in the world.In Italy, during the recent years we had 364.000 new diagnoses of cancer 56% men and 44% women and it is estimated that over their life about 2 out of 3 women will get sick with cancer.It is the disease of the 2000s. Graziella has lived this experience in her life both as an outsider and in the first person.She has taken care of her husband for 2 years hoping that the cancer wouldn't take him. However, it was too late, because Giulio was afraid of medical checks: after having fought for days, he finally resolved to do X- rays, but Doctor Pelluga said: "It is merely back pain, just take antibiotics and you’ll be fine soon".In March 2006 he underwent different tests and with Tac they could see that he was full of metastasis and inoperable. Doctor Pelluga called in to give her the bad news: her husband had only few months left . She gave up work in order to take care of him and the initially predicted few months became 1 years and 9 month. She fully dedicated this time to him without seeing any other member of their family, just him and her, in their house far away from the city, on Bogliasco slopes. He was a strong men, he never had any health problem: it was the contaminated environment where he used to work that gave him cancer. He is just one of the million people who have died from this desease because of cancer-inducing work conditions. The words she uses to describe those moments are: anger, resignation, sentenced to death. Giulio died on 18th December 2007 at home, and she could no longer stay in that house alone, so she decided to move to her mother in law’s place because she had also promised to
Giulio that she would take care of his mother.Her husband was everything to her and, after he was gone, she used to communicate with him through a diary.She firmly believes that he protects her and gives her some signals of his proximity as well.On 27th March 2013, a date very important to her,because it is Giulio’s birthday, following a mammogram she discovered to be affected by a breast cancer.In 1 month she began to think about her life, left the house where she had lived for five years with her mother-in-law and then returned to her house, which had remained empty for all these years.She was able to turn bad things into an opportunity to take care of herself. Luckily the cancer lump didn't exceeded 1 cm it was only 0,6 mm. The surgeons, for safety reasons, decide to remove it together with thelymph nodes in the armpit. On 15th May 2013 she underwent surgery and from that moment she started to live again.She had to take a decision about post-surgery treatment, she was torn between radiotherapy and homeopathic cure, her friends and family had differents opinions so they could not be of help.Besides, she was afraid that a cancer recurrence would occurif she did not undergo radiotherapy. She decided to receive the treatment in a hospital far to home, so she always got her family and her sister to accompany her in hospital for medical checks and therapy sessions.On 1th June 2013 she was fired from her job, she could no longer work, each month she was forced to ask for the money to her husband’s former employer who never paid back wages. Fortunately she spent her days with the her best friend Angela who was operated of lung cancer, the year before.Angela was a widow, just like her and Angela's husband died from Graziella’s husband same ‘occupational’ disease one year half after Graziella's husband.Being closest friends, they kept each other company during the days.
She was born with severe miopy. When she was 6, her parents discovered that she was affected by severe miopy with astigmatism and near-sightedness impairment that would increase over the years. Her eye sight got worse, losing 22 tenths in each eye. This disease is hereditary: in fact, in her family her aunt got blind. Further, this form of myopia gets progressively worse over time, and it was reported as a major cause of visual impairment. Since 18 year old she had worn glasses, then she decided to make use of contact lenses: at the time contact lenses were made of glass and they helped her to see better. Unfortunately, after four years they were rejected due to a inflammation. She went to Barcelona, at Barraquer clinic to treat her eyes inflammation. In 1981 they solved the problem and she could return to Italy, this time wearing semi-rigid lenses. In 1983 Doctor Franco Verzella sewed her retina and, after a year, on 29 July 1984, she had the lenses removed.Then she began to undergo a long series of eye surgeries,in Bologna, at Villa Alba , where for the first time she saw really clear for 4 months, regained 12 tenths in one eye and 16 tenths in the other. Unfortunatly, another eye-related problem arose: cataracts.She underwent surgery every six months for three times: the ophtalmic surgeons included artificialimplant lenses.
For the secondary cataract, they employed Yag laser capsulotomy procedure consisting in non invasive procedure performed on the eye to remove the opacification (cloudiness) that develops on the posterior capsule of the lens of the eye after extraction of a cataract. This posterior capsule opacification (PCO) is also referred to as a secondary cataract. The secondary cataract occurs in more than 30% of the eyes operated due to cataract over the years after the surgery and is responsible for a significant decrease of vision. In 2013 she was presented with the ultimate diagnosis: Degenerative myopia + od areas of retinal atrophy on the posterior pole with faded pupil + retinal periphery resulting into laser treatment. Since she has 80% disability she can't use a car and go alone on the street at night. She enrolled in special unemployment lists including jobs suitable for disabled people in order to find a job she could perform in spite of her vision impairment. Now she is a member of institute Chiossone of Genoa, a specialistic facility for blind and visually impaired people: hopefully it will help her to have new lenses and technologies that will allow her to lead a better life.
As Graziella talked about her progressive blindness Graziella’s aunt, Anna, said: “ I feel bad for your health because I feel guilty for it, as you inherited this disease from me , and I understand your suffering. “
Carissimo Giulio Ti ho conosciuto che avevo circa 22 anni, e a essere sincera non ero molto interessata, a te come era sicuramente per te. Poi qualche sguardo, qualche battuta,qualche uscita con amici ,hai incominciato a farmi la corte e il 31 maggio del 1980 siamo usciti insieme.Il tuo comportamento così rispettoso, normalmente gentile e soprattutto il senso di sicurezza e di protezione che ho provato stando insieme a te mi ha fatto innamorare di te.“Quanto mi hai amata.”Anch’io ti ho amato tanto, per me sei stato la persona più importante della mia vita.Ci siamo sposati il “1 ottobre 1989 “quante gioie, quante battaglie,ma sempre insieme. Nell’estate del 2005 un giorno siamo andati in barca a pescare,”la tua passione”e abbiamo parlato tanto di noi due e del nostro futuro.Ricordo molto bene i tuoi gesti le tue espressioni e le tue parole di quel giorno. Mi hai detto:”mi manca quasi un anno per andare in pensione,ci vendiamo la casa e veniamo a vivere in un appartamento più piccolo giù a Bogliasco ,tu ti metti a part-time e ci godiamo la vita, e ci regaliamo una bella crociera.Tutto questo purtroppo non è successo.La scoperta della malattia che ti stava colpendo è stata una vera tragedia,e lo è anche adesso che non ci sei più. Anche in questa circostanza riuscivi di pensare a me, eri preoccupato.Mi hai detto:” Sei stata una moglie e compagna eccezionale.” Io sono scappata in bagno,poi mi hai detto:” venditi la casa meglio che puoi e vai a vivere giù in paese,promettimi di rifarti una vita.”Mi hai guardata e aggiunto che se :” qualcuno tocca mia moglie mi girano tanto i …….. .” E poi la frase che ha un significato particolare
mi hai detto:“RICORDATI IO LASSù TI ASPETTO.”Io ,ti ho detto di si ,” lassù staremo per sempre insieme. CARO AMORE MIO tu sarai sempre nel mio CUORE , mi porterò il bagaglio dei tuoi insegnamenti,della profondità dei valori che tu avevi e che mi hai trasmesso. Tu sei stato per me l’ossigeno di cui abbiamo bisogno per poter respirare e ora mi manca e faccio molta fatica, perché TU non ci sei più. Tra noi due c’è sempre stata una grande passione e un grandissimo rispetto,anche se a volte facevamo baruffa ,ma che PACI. Tra i tanti bei ricordi che ho di te,ce ne uno che è a dir poco meraviglioso ,è stato quando abbiamo fatto il trasloco e siamo andati a vivere a San Bernardo nella nostra casa,la sera eravamo veramente sfiniti,ma felici mi hai abbracciata e mi hai detto:” questa è come se fosse la nostra prima notte di nozze.” Era fine maggio del 94.Quanti sacrifici per comprare questa casa. E quando arrivavi a casa con la bottiglia di campagne eri bellissimo e io mi sentivo lusingata e orgogliosa di te. Quanto mi manchi, il ritrovarsi insieme a casa, mangiare, guardare la tv , fare l’amore,darci la buona notte,e quando mi chiamavi per dirmi di stare attenta perché pioveva, perché cera un incidente …..la nostra quotidianità. A volte lasciar andare le persone care risulta quasi impossibile, soprattutto se al momento della morte fisica sono ancora giovani e godono di salute. In momenti del genere la vita ci sembra incredibilmente ingiusta e ci ritroviamo confusi e feriti ad affrontare un dolore che ci distrugge, trascinandosi a lungo nel tempo. CON INFINITO AMORE TUA MOGLIE LELLA
My dearest Giulio I was barely 22 years when I met you, and, to be honest, I was not particularly fascinated by you, just as you weren’t by me. Soon, however, the look in your eyes, a few jokes, some time spent with common friends… then you started courting me and on May 31, 1980 we went out together for the first time. Your respectful, kind behavior and, most of all, the sense of safety and protection I felt when I was with you, made me fall in love with you. “Oh, how you loved me.” I have loved you so much too, you have been the most important person in my life. We married on “October 1st 1989 “how many good times we had, how many battles we fought, always together”.In the summer of 2005, one day we took the boat and went fishing – you loved fishing so much! – and we talked a lot about the two of us and our future ahead. I still remember so vividly your gestures, the expressions on your face and the words you uttered that very day. You told me: “I will retire in a year, so we can sell ourhouse and buy a small flat in Bogliasco. You will get a part-time job so we will be able to enjoy life together. What about a cruise for a start…?Unfortunately, our plans faded in the wind.When we discovered the disease that was taking you away, our world collapsed. It was a tragedy, and my life still is like that, now that you’re gone. Even in those days of sadness and illness you never ceased to care for me. Once you told me:” You have been an extraordinary wife and life-partner.” I escaped into the bathroom, then you warned me: ”Sell our house at the best price you can get and go live in Bogliasco. Please, promise me you will start a new life once I am gone”.
Then you stared at me and added: If someone dares touching my wife, I’ll get very, very angry.”And finally you told the phrase that still it is meaningful to me“REMEMBER, I WILL WAIT FOR YOU UP IN THE SKY.”I replied ‘yes ,” up there we will be always together’. My love, you will always be in my heart, I will always carry with me your precious words and lessons, those profound values you believed in and taught me. You were like the oxygen we need to survive and now I miss you and everything is so difficult,because you are no longer here with me. We shared immense passion and respect, even though sometimes we fought like cats but then we made peace. The best memories I have of you is the time we moved to our new house in San Bernardo: that evening we were really tired but so happy… you hold me in your arms and told me: “This will be like a new wedding night’. It was the end of May 1994. How many sacrifices we made to buy that house. When you came home carrying a bottle of champagne, you looked so beautiful and I felt so happy and proud of you.I miss you so much, I miss our dinners, our staying home together, watching TV, making love, kissing good night. I miss when you called me and advised me to drive carefully because of the rain or a car accident along my way home…..that’s was our everyday’s life.Sometimes it is almost impossible to say goodbye to our beloved ones, especially if, when the time comes, they are still young and healthy. In times like these, life seems so unfair and we feel so confused and hurt inside while we are facing a pain that destroys us and do not leave us alone for a long time. WITH ENDLESS LOVE YOUR WIFELELLA
Itâ€™s true that you have to to fall down to get up, but she is very combative, stubborn, and, little by little, she has taken her life back. Although with a lot of fears and anxieties, another woman is born again. Letter to Graziellaâ€™s sister Paola, before leaving for India Genoa, 18-11-2013
Angelaâ€™s diary pages, (Graziellaâ€™s best friend) Genoa, 09-07-06
Dear Diary today I give you different reasons from those I always mentioned in the past. First of all I thank God and my Madonna della Guardia for being always close to me and my family, as I always tell Him in my prayers and I hope this condition will last as long as possible, especially for the most important part of my life: my children.I say this because, for some time, I have been sharing (although from the outside) the pain and the troubles of a friend whom I love so much. Thus you can imagine this womanâ€™ state of mind: she has to face a great sorrow and everything else alone, because her man is alienated from everything and everyoneincluding relatives, and he is experiencing this tragedy in absolute solitude. I feel bad about this because I want to stay close to this friend of mine, with whom I shared many good and bad times, but we were close, we talked and always tried to solve our problems.
Except that now she needs my helpmore than ever because she is alone and has to deal with this bad, bad thing. What comforts me is that she knows that I will always be near her. We are able to communicate by phone when she can call me or when she has a free moment. I want to congratulate my friend for the way she is coping with this pain because I think it is really hard to manage this bad situation without letting her husband notice while staying always close to him. She even gave up her job to stay with him. I wish this friend of mine the best, hoping that she continues to be strong as ever to cope with bad times ahead. I want her to know that my family and me will be always there for her and anything she might need.We are ready to support her whenever she falls and when she feels abandoned she has to know that we are and will be always there for her.
“Never give up your principles ... fight for them even if people do not understand why. You must wait for them to understand, because true friendship is being able to wait ... sooner or later people will realize that the principles of life sometimes are the ground the respect for ourselves is built on “ Graziella’s thoughts
The sponsor child supports extremely poor people’s efforts to live in dignity and self respect.40% of India’s population is below the age of 18 years which at 400 milion is the world’s largest child population. Graziella liked children,but she nevertheless accepted her husband’s will not to have them.Giulio was traumatized because, when he was 14 years old, his father died into his arms and he was also afraid that his wife’s eye impairment, could be hereditary. Thus she took alone the decision to sponsor a child to give him/her love and the opportunity for a better life. Megha, her adoptive daughter, in this moment is special because she mends her loneliness. She is not the first child she adopted: in 1999 she sponsored a girl from Bassa Guinea, Djolla, through sponsor child Prosecutor’s Office of Foreign Mis “OMI”. In 2001, however, due to war problems, she lost her tracks.Megan is from Pallakad, India:her birthday is on 5th May 2005. She is 8 years old and lives in a catholic orphanage Graziella has been sponsoring her from 2010. Megha was the youngest and poorest child of the orphanage at that time; she has a mother who can not support her because she lives in a hut.Graziella hopes that Megha’s mother does not take her daughter away to send her to work, because Graziella wants to offer this little girl the opportunity to study:
Megha told Graziella that she wants,to become a Doctor. The trip is started: Graziella was afraid it would be the most difficult travel of her life: she never thought of travelling to the other part the continent, so she asked her sister, Paola, to go with her, also due to her visual problems that prevent her from walking fast. Her sister could also help her to walk in the right direction. On 20th November they took a plane from Milan to Frankfurt, then a second plane from Frankufurt to Chennai and, finally, a third flight from Chennai to Coimbatore. It was really a hard and long trip.It was the 21th November, she could perceive the 30 degrees difference temperature and she felt tired. The driver, Vinod, picked up them both at the airport and drove them to Kerala state. During the journey, they started to see the poor people’s life conditions and the health problem they suffered from. They didn’t stay at a resort where everything is perfect and clean but in real life: Palakkad true life conditionsthe traffic jammed, the rubbish in everyplace, strange smells, huts where the people lives, women doing men’s works, children without even shoes....but everybody was smiling.
ORPHANAGE The first thing to do was going to visit Megha in the orphanage,with Vinod’s help. The sisters (“Suore della Divina Providenza”) were waiting impatiently for them to arrive. The orphanage is divided in 2 sections: the first is where the sisters live, while the second hosts 57 girls from 4 to 18. A further small section isused as school. There are only three classes, divided according to different ages (from2 to 6). There are 47 sister plus novices, the Mother Superior is named Francy and speaks English and Indu; sister Maria and sister Gemma are the oldest while sister Francesca teaches small children.They all speak Italian because they have been in Genova for 5 or more years.When they arrived the girls were at school and were waiting for them.Paola and Graziella decided to bring sweets to everyone and when the girls arrived, it was areally moving scene: all girls were sitting in this room and when they entered the girls shouted together :”Buonasera!!!!”. Then Sister Maria showed Megha to Graziella:she got excited and 2 tears came down on her face. This is her place: lot of love and smiles to give to every girls.They prepare a show for Graziella and Paola consisting in typical dances and songs to give them a warm-heartedwelcome to India. Then it was greetings time: every girls run around Graziella to kiss and hug her: they even took pictures, she felt like she was the aunt of them all. They finally had s a private meeting with Megha and the sisters. Megha was really shy, maybe because she did not understand why Graziella was there to visit her. Grazielle gave her a present, a secret diary, and I took some pictures by polaroid and put them in the secret diary. The sisters were there to translate everything: for the first time Megha approached Graziella and kissed her on her cheek, it was a really emotional moment for her, she loves children, I could see that this was the greatest joy she had in her life. The sisters invited them to lunch.Graziella and Paola spent rest of the days to visit India and discover the humanty, simplicity and cordiality they had forgotten. Graziella said: “ I am feeling at home, I do not feel like an
intruder!”.They decided to do a present to the girls so they bought backpacks to give to every girls in the orphanage. On 28th November they picked up backpacks and go to the sisters and girls. This day the girls did not go to school to spend the last day with them. When Vinod passed the gate by car, Graziella and Paola saw horseshoe where the girls stood in line.Graziella said:”An unforgettable emotion that I will always carry in my heart!”.Megha wore a t-shirt that Graziella sent her the year before, on her birthday. Then they started to distribute backpacks to the children and the smiles the girls gave were priceless.The girls learned some Italian words and then they had lunch: they invited also Vinod although he belongs to a different religion, because the sisters respect every religion, and all the cultures are the same at Indian people’s table, where they eat with theirhands and Mother Superior herself took Vinod to his place. The sisters showed the schools and orphanage and explain that they had a big problem with the rainwater collection tank installed on the roof, because it is too small for all children and every years children number increases. Graziella said: “I would like to try to collect as much money as possible to buy a new rainwater tank!”. The sisters gave a different present to Graziella: a statue peacock and tablecloth decorated by hand. It was a sad moment when they had to say goodbye. Graziella received kisses and hugs from every girls and, above all, from Megha with her smile and big eyes, who saw her as a family person.Vinod brought them to greet his family that it was the second time Graziella and Paola enjoyed from Vinod’s relatives hospitallity,but this time they met also Vinod’s son, who gave Graziella a crucifix and a biblevwhich belonged to Vinod’s father. In this country, all people is happy and simple although they have not that much, except for a big heart and big smiles.We have received and given more than all we could give in the rest of our life.
“you can take the inner wealth away with you, while you have to leave the earthly wealth behind you” Graziella’s thoughts
Graziella’s letter to Megha 27/11/2013,Palakkad Hi Megha, I was deeply moved when I met you. You are a lovely little girl, although a little bit shy. When you smile you are even more lovely I am happy that you live here with your friends, where you have the opportunity to study. Besides your mum, you have a lot of loving people around you: the sisters, you girlfriends and me, although I am so far from you. I await a drawing of yours that I will keep with the others you sent me. You are always in my heart. ”Ciao”, my little doll with all my love Aunt Lella
Walking in the Indian Ocean, Graziella said to me with melancholy voice:â€?this remember me the day when Giulio and me were together in Castelldefls in Barcelona....â€?
Lazzaretti Martina 2 international semester
Published on Jan 9, 2014