Time recalls the deaths of Covid-19 relentlessly. Belgium now deplores 25,014 people who have died after contracting SARS-CoV-2. This number makes it possible to aggregate, compare or evaluate, but it obviously does not take into account the individual stories hidden behind a counter. There are as many lives to be told as there are deaths from the coronavirus. This is Rosa Turrigrossa’s, died of Covid-19 on April 17, 2020. A valuable woman (s) shared between his native Sicily and Liège, his land of welcome.
This May 31, Elisa Luciani has an appointment to be vaccinated. Chance is thus made, it is on this day that she tells us about her mother, Rosa, who died at the height of the first wave. At that time not so distant, our eyes no longer only scrutinized China and Italy but also Belgium where we were confined, who in a house with a garden, who in a small apartment, who in a cottage, who under a bridge … Who in a nursing home.
Rosa Luciani – Turrigrossa by her maiden name – was 7 when she left her sunny island, her native Sicily, and arrived in Liège with her parents and six siblings. His father was a miner. Rosa will grow up and take root in the region. She will work for a while in the DAF company (cigars), then as a household help.
►►► To read: More than 25,000 dead from coronavirus in Belgium: vaccination lights up the end of the tunnel
Love will appear to him under the first name of Emilio. Emilio Luciani, straight from Abruzzo. They will move from house to house to finally settle in Saint-Nicolas with their two eldest sons Santino and Giancarlo. Many years later, the youngest, Elisa, was born. Here they are rooted with their enormous hearts, now shared between here and there.
“My mother was sweet, very welcoming and generous. Unfortunately not always full of life because she has had a lot of health problems“, says Elisa. And to continue:”She gave me a lot of love, values like respect… I learned a lot from my parents.“
Rosa Turrigrossa was living in a nursing home when the Covid caught up with her at the height of the first wave. She had lived there since Emilio died thirteen years earlier, a painful departure. Emilio suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Charcot’s disease), an inescapable neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive paralysis of muscles, including that of the heart.
Everything changed with the coronavirus: “I was scared, confides her daughter Elisa, because visits were prohibited in his nursing home. My mother was diabetic and suffered from liver problems […]. I was scared and wanted to take her home at that time, but it was not possible. And we were prevented from going to see her. […] There were a lot of deaths. About twenty out of sixty residents. Everything happened so fast“.
“My mother always hugged me. She looked at me with a satisfied look to know me happy“, says Elisa.”A nurse at the nursing home explained to me that she had a gleam of sunlight in her eyes and in her voice when she knew I was coming with my three-year-old daughter, Ileana.“Family was everything to this 78-year-old lady: her husband, her three children, her four grandchildren.
The most difficult for Santino, Giancarlo and Elisa, like others who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus, is not being able to say goodbye as they would have liked. In Rosa’s case, it’s also how quickly her health deteriorated, a week at most. Only Elisa was able to go to her mother’s bedside after her transfer to the hospital, her two brothers could not hold her hand. A video call just put a small bandage on their huge wound.
Sicilian writer Laurent Gaudé has written beautiful pages about his land of sunshine. In his masterpiece, Le Soleil des Scorta, he writes: “We were neither better nor worse than the others, Elia. We tried. That’s all. With all our might, we tried. Every generation tries. Build something. Consolidate what we have. Or enlarge it. Take care of your own.“ Taking care of her own… one of the values that Rosa has undeniably passed on to her family.
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