La Zia, this one's for you
Hello there blog. I have missed writing you.
While some of you may know me personally and know perhaps why I have been away, I will inform those who do not. I have lost one of my loyal readers, my precious Zia (auntie in Italian). Some people are close to their aunts others not. I am one of those who are close. Extremely close. My direct family is a small circle of six and we just lost one of our main pillars.
I won’t embellish…it’s tough.
First, I want to thank everyone who has kindly shown their support. Whether it be a phone call, a text, a card, a facebook like or comment, your thoughts were all received and helped me during this difficult time. The presence of all of you at the St-Joachim church was overwhelming : every single bench filled with family, friends, members of the Italian community, colleagues, neighbours and more. While overwhelmed, I was not surprised to see the herds of people paying their respects as my aunt was (is) a breath-taking person. An individual who went out of her way to make you feel special.
To put it simply: if you are a friend of mine, you automatically inherited La Zia.
La Zia who would spoil everyone with thoughtful touches and gifts. La Zia who was a strong presence in my life since I was born and who became my godmother through baptism, and a precious soulmate through life.
La Zia who saw me in another light, as aunts usually do. The one who came to my dance shows, sent me a clown for my 5th birthday (who scared me at first but then I liked it), laughed at my silly interpretations and sounds effects. The auntie who tried new recipes, kick boxing classes and flax seeds and make those things cool before everyone else got to them. The person who listens without judgement and offers advice that gently challenges your preconceived beliefs and makes you a better person for it. The one who came along with my mother and I to Cuba for 7 gajillion times. She was always there with a smile. She was always thinking of us, of me. She was….
No amount of words, I know, will give her enough credit or enough honour.
I will later share the poem I wrote and read to everyone.
She had been fighting cancer and, while bravely winning a few battles, they just kept getting more uphill. Grateful for life until the end, she left us June 25th and my life as I knew it changed forever.
She did not want to inform everyone of her illness and so, we respected her wishes and kept quiet. Consequently, the news of her passing came as a much deeper shock to everyone who did not know the struggle and nightmare we, the smaller circle, had been living. How can La Zia Emilia, the beautiful, funny and life of the party be the one leaving the party early?
A question I try to rationalize with spirituality every day.
In preparation for her ceremony and life celebration, I have scanned her photos, created a video montage (two of them actually), wrote a poem that I read at the ceremony, wrote another text for a little pamphlet we were handing out and still…I can’t call her up for apéro. I have days where all is fine and I blissfully live in denial. And there are other days where I violently crash down the roller coaster with a frail safety belt and I am struggling to stay on.
Those days, everything gets into turmoil and the emptiness she has left is all too real.
I already am one to live by the philosophy of « life is now », I am familiar about not settling for situations that are not honouring my desires or what I want in life. It seems though that my aunt’s passing has heightened all of the things in my life I am putting up with that I don’t quite need anymore. Even if there aren't very many, there are no reasons left for me to tolerate them.
Energy that I give to situations that simply will not resolve into what I want, even after years of investment for example. And so, I am examining certain situations to validate if they still provide me with joy and good energy. These come under the form of a variety of things : relationships, hobbies, projects, etc.
This is particularly hard to do for me as I am one to feel a lot of guilt.
Yet guilt is not a good place to manœuvre from. It prevents me from acting freely and only taxes my energy in the hopes of pleasing others. Others who more often than not will not bother to worry if I was pleased with their actions, rightfully so (of if they do feel guilt, they conceal it well).
But I’m working on that.
Aside from feeling guilty, I am also very loyal individual. Should I not be loyal to myself first?
Yes. Because in the end, I am living my life for myself.
What do I want?
What to I believe in?
What is MY style?
It seems as though the world judges us from not following social constructs, but never bothers to ask us : “Hey, are you happy?”
And so, I take it upon myself to ask myself, and if I cannot answer yes, it is I who needs to find a solution. No one else.
La responsabilité est indissociable du pouvoir d’agir.
So while this is a far more serious blog post, I know, this is where I am at in this journey we call life. I will return with my regular pop psychology every day material. But in the meantime, it would not have been authentic of me to share anything else. I think that what some of you seem to appreciate the most is authenticity and the author’s ability to be transparent.
La Zia, if you somehow can read me, know this : I have loved you. I love you still.
I will end my post with one of many moments I shared with my aunt many many moons ago. I must have been nine years old, sitting on the booth side of the restaurant table for a family gathering. While my cousins and other kids were all hanging and playing together at one end while I was somehow on my own drawing on my placemat, quite taken with what I was doing. Suddenly, I look up to see the kids closer in age having a good time while I, the younger one, sat alone drawing. While I was looking at them, La Zia must have seen my thought process of “I want to be with the cool kids” and without a blink said :
“Tu sais Ivana, les artistes sont souvent solitaires”
Which makes complete sense to me now as a 36 year old more than ever. While my super social personality needs people at a high level, there is a side of me that requires alone time to let my mind drift into creative thoughts. Without which, I would not be able to do most of the things I love, like writing.
I get that now.
For that and things you don’t even know you have done to love me La Zia, I love you forever.
Ever Bee your Goddaughter,
Ivana AKA Lunella
poem for la zia
À ma tante préférée
Someone once told me, if you want to make god laugh, tell him you have plans...
I had plans...
Plans of you and me
Taking another trip to the sea
Laughing with our feet in the sand
You and I with our similar hands
Everyone has a crazy laughing auntie
The one with style and too much creativity
The life of the party who takes the chance
Leading you on the floor for one more dance
Je me souviens de ta forte présence
Une qui influença l’évolution de mon enfance
Ton regard absorbé quand je jouais de la musique
Ton support encourageant pour mon côté artistique
Une femme qui afflue de générosité
Tu donnais de ton cœur sans jamais hésiter
Tes gestes affectueux et tes tendres câlins
Les biscuits, le prosecco et toujours le vin
La tante plus que cool, à l’affût des derniers cris
La seule qui comprenait mon amour des pantalons hippie
Ta chevelure abondante mais toujours à refaire
Ton talent pour trouver le beau, pratique et pas cher
Les follies de tous nos voyages de plage
« Ivana tu es rouge » quand tu surveillais mon bronzage
Celle qui allait se baigner à la mer vite car il faisait trop chaud
À cause de toi, je vais maintenant un peu plus souvent à l’eau...
J’avais des plans mais je n’ai pas validé
Avec ce que l’univers avait de planifié
Il m’est difficile de comprendre pourquoi
Il y avait ce rendez-vous pour quelqu’un comme toi
Non sono daccordo e mi lamento
Perche forse adesso capisco l’appuntamento
Tua canzone preferita Di Ornella
Troppo triste ma sempre bella
N’ayant pas connu un monde sans toi
Il m’est étrange de savoir que tu n’y es pas
Et qui rira de mes imitations et de mes effets sonores?
Comme toi, je n’ai pas peur du ridicule, je l’adore
Mon cerveau devra se défaire de certains réflexes
Comme de vouloir t’écrire un texte
Ou de t’inviter pour l’apéro
Sans toi, qu’est-ce vraiment le prosecco ?
Merci pour ta présence dans ma vie
Sans laquelle je ne serais qui je suis
Tous les anniversaires, les voyages et les soupers
On ne peut pas dire qu’on n’a pas fêté!
I had plans...
But It has been a privilege to have you as my aunt
And another, to be your god daughter
Don’t worry, I’ll remember everything
Love this strong is a forever thing
Mais pourquoi ce poëm ne veut-il pas se terminer...?
Pour les adieux je n’ai jamais été très douée...
Je préfère savoir qu’ensemble nous allons continuer
Car de ton amour inconditionnel je vivrai comblée
Il n’est donc pas surprenant que le nom Emilia
Rhyme si bien avec le mot famiglia
Et qu’il sera toujours l’équivalent de La Zia
By : Ivana Lemme June 2019
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
My first novel!
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