Ciao Bella

This post I want to dedicate to my late grandma Esther – one of the most beautiful woman, inside and out, that I may ever have the pleasure of having in my life.

I lost one of the love of my life’s to cancer. They say that cancer destroys some of the most beautiful of people, however, even though Esther passed away due to cancer I do not believe it won. Even when in pain she smiled at me and said “Ciao Bella! Come stai?” Every single time she said that sentence with such love and affection that for that second she made me feel invincible and strong. Her mood was always happy and kind despite the utter torture she was in, constantly smiling and talking, she would light up a room. One of the last days I saw her she had an emerald green scarf wrapped around her head which never altered her elegance. Instead it brought out the colour in her eyes and made her smile even brighter.

I remember the exact moment I found out that my gorgeous grandma had passed. It all happened so quickly… I never had the chance to say goodbye but I believe she knew what I would’ve said and she heard me say goodbye… somehow. I immediately dropped my phone after trying to be strong on the phone to my father and cried until my eyes burned. So many things rushed through my mind. I couldn’t believe that the most loving woman I may have ever met was snatched away from me before I could say goodbye, I wanted to make her proud by becoming fluent in Italian and cooking in her kitchen with her in Milan, being able to speak in Italian and dancing around. However despite the sadness I felt relief, she had been ill for a long time and was in so much pain, I just believed she would live forever and get better. She was an angel to me who knew no evil.

The funeral was extremely tough. We drove from London to Milan over two days without stopping with five people in the car. The funeral was two days after her death. It was a beautiful ceremony, masses of people had piled into the local church to celebrate her life, it showed me the amount of respect people had for her within the community. Once the ceremony was over I hugged my uncle and he collapsed onto my shoulder and cried, I have never seen a grown man so upset. The flowers on the top of her grave couldn’t have been more stunning, they reflected love and celebrated her life. The whole day felt like a nightmare, I felt like I was still going to see her the next day and she was going to greet me with the usual two kisses, loving hug and “Ciao Bella”. I felt numb for a long time but I knew Esther wouldn’t want me to cry.

Esther was not my biological grandma, she asked my brother and I when we were little if she could unofficially adopt us as her grandchildren and I was overjoyed to be able to call a woman of such grace my grandma. I believe I was the closest thing to a granddaughter to her and she made me fall in love with the magic of Italy. Esther taught me many things: kindness, true & everlasting love and care. She constantly put herself out of the way for others and was made happy by others happiness. The love between her husband was a never ending fairy tale, a teenage love that never ended. I remember her saying to mother “Isn’t my husband so handsome”. Even after many years of marriage she still treated her husband with admiration and showed the world around her what true love was.

From this experience I have learned that you must treasure every single second of life because you never know when it might turn. It’s okay to cry however there is no need to be scared of death. Whatever you believe in it will be okay, the person you loved will be okay.

And so Esther if you somehow see this: “Ciao Bella”

The little blonde Italian

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