by Melinda Gallo

Marta's dad

I hadn't seen my friend Debora in a few months and the last time she came over I was helping her study for her final exam for university, which was in English. She came over yesterday and I showed her pictures of Corsica. She caught me up with what's happening with her and she told me that she's practically living at her boyfriend's house now.

I told her that last week my friend Marta's father passed away. I didn't want to tell her since her father also has liver cancer, but somehow it slipped out. Supposedly, they found Marta's father's cancer early and were able to operate. While he was recovering in the hospital, his heart stopped. They tried to revive him once and succeeded, but the second time, they got there too late.

I talked to Marta while I was in Corsica. She sent me an SMS that said that her father died. I called her immediately and the instant she heard my voice, she began to cry. I could barely make out what she was saying in between her sobbing. I too began to cry, but tried not to let her know.

"Come hai fatto te?" (How did you do it?) Marta asked me. I felt my heart sink deeper into my chest. And here I was, a day after my mother's birthday, freshly recovering from my own moment of grief. I had nothing really to tell her at first.

"Devi accettare le tue emozioni e prendere cura di te stessa." (You need to accept your emotions and take care of yourself.) It's what I really wished someone would've told me. Most of the advice I got was unsolicited and involved just telling me to get over it.

I felt sad about telling Debora because her dad has the same thing and has been operated a few times in the past year and a half. Tears swelled up in her eyes upon hearing about Marta's dad. She doesn't know Marta, but I'm sure she can understand the pain that Marta is going through.

After a few moments of silence, I decided to change the subject. I could tell that Debora was imagining what would happen to her if her father passed away now. It's hard not to put yourself in those shoes. I gave her the two little pensierini (souvenirs/gifts) that I got for her when I went to Lucca and San Gimigniano, hoping that would cheer her up.

We decided to get some fresh air and check out the shops that weren't closed for August. We ended up going to the Co-op to buy food because that's all we talked about afterwards. One subject that always cheers us up.

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