“But you can’t go Grace”.
“Why not”? I ask
“It’s raining”.
The look in their eyes changes my mind, melts my heart.
Francesco’s parents are like him… loving, warm, paying attention to my wellbeing.
When they really want me to stay there’s a whole menu laid out.
“We can do this or this or that”
As I sit at the dinner table eating with his Father he reminds me that tomorrow, when I leave , my car will be full.
That “Bubi” , Francesco’s mother, has prepared all my food for the week ahead.
Just like old times….
Lentils.
Chickpeas.
Fave beans.
It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s just that I don’t have any desire since Francesco died.
It made me so happy to cook for him everyday.
I’d go to the green grocer, the pasta shop, the butchers.
One shop at a time, one ingredient at a time, one meal at a time, our love grew and grew.
“What ya cookin’ baby”?
He never criticized me once and given that his mother is a pro in the kitchen, I take this as the type of human he was, always kind, even with my errors.
Never one to point out what was wrong.
Now I find I’m trying to love myself the way he loved me.
Without judgement.
“Stop being so hard on yourself” He’d say.
That type of love changes you.
Now I can actually hear that judgemental , critical bitch in my head.
She’s always blaming me.
She calls me the devil & likes to torment me, until finally my angel comes along and reminds me that I am love and a good girl.
Sitting here with Francesco’s parents I feel grateful for how blessed I am.
Today I lay in his mother’s arms crying as she stroked my hair.
“Fai coccole” his father used to say (meaning show affection) then Francesco would turn to me at the table and stroke my hair, kiss me in front of everyone.
They’d all clap and I’d be mortified.
I didn’t grow up in a house like that.
Fran’s father, always with the biggest smile, as he witnessed his son’s display of love.
Now his mother replaces his touch, stroking me with a motherly love, telling me I’ll be ok.
This is the beauty of family and memory and deep, deep love.
It changes you, forever, and my prayer is that one day I will finally love myself this way.