It’s March 25, 2021 and we’re on the 3rd wave of Covid cases rising. One year after our nationwide lockdown, we’re back at it in a Red Zone lockdown. It’s not as severe as last year’s lockdown but it feels very similar. This time, however, we are one family member less.
On February 28th, we lost our dear Nonna, my mother in law. My mother in law had been suffering from Senile Dementia which evolved into Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately with the medications she took to help control her Alzheimer’s, it took a toll on her body and made her too weak to fight when she was got Covid.
Nonna Adelasia and I first met one night around midnight in December 2006. Yes, around midnight.
Shortly after Carlo and I were engaged, he asked me to come visit him for the Christmas holidays and meet his family. He had flown home a few days before me and it had been almost a week that I hadn’t seen him. Yeah.. I know! I was turning into one of those girls who was counting the days I hadn’t seen my man. As we flew into Torino, it became too foggy to land so we were redirected to Milan. Once we landed I had to find a pay phone and figure out how to use that to call Carlo and tell him what happened. Once we got on the shuttle and made our way to Torino, it was late and we (my sister, her now ex-huband, and I) were starving.
Once we got settle and made it to my mother in law’s house, it was almost midnight and she had a feast waiting for us. It was also still hot. This lady that had never met me stayed up and reheated everything so that we could have a warm meal. That’s just how she was.
Nonna Adelasia was born in Bacoli which is a province of Naples. If you didn’t know, Southern Italians are know generally known for their warm hospitality and Nonna was your classic example. She welcomed my family went they came to visit. She insisted on having them over for dinner and asking me what to make so they could have a memorable dinner. She also loved our friends, always asking about them.
She welcomed me immediately and I remember clearly how excited she was to have a daughter in law. She loved that I not only knew how to cook but I enjoyed it. We talked recipes, make up, and fashion. I clearly became her favorite person when she became a Nonna. She was more than happy to help with babysitting, doing my dishes, laundry or just cooking extra food so we could have leftovers.
Even as her health got worse and she began to forget things, she still wanted to help. She’d complain about back pain and yet would pick up toys off the floor. We began to see her slowly go downhill and yet she denied it. Looking back, we have so many funny stories that at the time, we were worried but the worse she got, the more we laughed. She constantly denied that she had Alzheimer’s. She would come over and complain about being in pain, then 10 minutes later would tell her that she is perfectly healthy.
I have so many memories and stories that today, on what would have been her 81st birthday, I’d like to share just some of the stories we have.
1- I don’t know why but she had come over to our house and she was helping me make our bed. She showed me the 3 layers of mattress covers on the bed. She began to tell me that she used to clean houses and constantly saw dirty mattresses. So, in order to keep them clean and to keep people from talking, I needed to keep these all the time to protect from stains from food, drinks, and baby making accidents. 😳
2- We were at her house for dinner and she kept asking me if I like sausage. I had told her yes, that it was my favorite. She just kept repeating it, showing me a sausage link and laughing at me. I couldn’t figure out why until Carlo’s cousin walks in, and she’s gets asked the same question, only with a wink😉. Yeah.. then I figured it out. 🤦🏾♀️
3- When Valentina was little, I was teaching English at at Language school. Nonna would come and watch the baby for about 2 hours. One day, I came home Adelasia said that Valentina had been crying but managed to get her to sleep. She mentioned that she changed her diaper and couldn’t remember where I said it was so, she used a blanket. 🤔 When she left, I checked on Valentina and my poor baby looked like a sumo wrestler.
4- If we went out to a Pizzeria, she would make sure to tell everyone that she was from Naples and she knew what good pizza was. Always complimenting the staff and saying how delicious the food was, only to mutter under her breath that it wasn’t good and hers was better. 😂
Most recently she’d come over for dinner and she had gotten to the point where she didn’t recognize Carlo anymore. She knew me but didn’t know how we knew each other. We’d tease her and tell her that she was in Naples, or that she had a lover named Luigi from Parigi. Sometimes she’d believe us, sometimes she didn’t. 😂 She’d asked the girls what their names were and how old they were. She’d repeat her questions every 5 minutes and it got to the point where she started to ask for her mom.
We had some good times together and we know she’s still here with us, asking us who died.😅
*We were watching the news one night and they broadcasted a story of a well known author who had passed. For 10 minutes she just kept asking who died. The day of her funeral, I heard her voice whisper in my ear,… “but.. who died?” I told Carlo and we laughed saying she doesn’t believe she even died. 😂