Sunday, May 12, 2013

I find myself thinking most fondly, on days like today, of my Nona. As a child I found it difficult to understand the majority of what she said underneath the heavy Italian accent, so I thought of her as some mysterious angel that communicated through looks and plates of food. I'd comply with the traditionary trip to her mirror draped in rosaries where she'd secretly slip some chicklets or a five into my hand, away from the eyes of the other grandchildren, only witnessd by the saturated paintings of Jesus and Mary on the wall above her bed. I knew that she wanted to be more of a mother for me.

I think she always had a broken heart, but the day my mom died so did her faith in the possibility of happiness in this world. I remember showing up at her house greeted not by the enveloping hug, the warm kiss, but lugubrious cries from her bedroom. My dad went in and I could make out her wish that Jesus would take her to heaven soon because this world is no good. She fought with my Nono. He was  even abusive towards her at times, swept away by some imagined bacchanal. They raised seven children on the salary of a city-worker, one of whom had downs amongst several other ailments in the family. I understand why she was so tired, and why one day she didn't wake up. 

Nona, just for you, I am going to pin my hair back, like you always told me to, so I can see clearly not only life's tragedies, but the beauty too. Despite the hardships in your life, I think you saw beauty and hope in me, your little Rosanna amongst the thorns. You taught me that life isn't perfect and it's ok to be sad. I think that was more valuable than any fairy tale you could have told me in my language. Happy Mother's Day, Alancita Vicenzino. 

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