Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

The grandparents in the family

On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. Mk 1,29-31

The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law was the favorite passage by the grandmother Betta, because it was the one which best photographed her role in our house. After the death of the grandfather Mario, grandma Betta was very ill with angina pectoris and for the rest of his years she had to live with the heartache. When mom and me, after the marriage, moved to Lombardia and the following year also the uncle Paul was married, her perspective would have been to be alone and sick in the house in Florence. So she immediately accepted the invitation to come to live with us and for twenty-six years she has been, despite  her physical frailty, one of the pillars of our family. The births of the grandchildren, in their frequent succession, filled her with joy and renewed her will to live. She wanted to stay healthy, to prepare the meals for the babies. The day when mom, having completed her feedings, returned to teaching, she was used to catch control of the situation with her vegetable broths, because she never trusted the omogenized baby food. Then the period of the asylum came, with the smocks to be prepareed  in the morning and the stories to be listened in the evening. As the grandchildren grew, her attention to the clothing increased, as the result of her skill as a dressmaker. No one could leave the house without having gone through her “aesthetic” control and nobody returned home without the certainty of a good plate of pasta, followed immediately by the school checking. And if the things were not going the right way  she, who did not believe in the modern pedagogical theories, in her opinion dangerously permissive, was immediately taking care of the correction: before we, as parents, would have returned back home, she was used to take the spoon and to well warm the back of the neligent grandchildren. “In fact, you do not suffer there any harm” she was used to say each time. Over the years, her energies were decreased and, in the recent times, she could not even stand up for the morning prayer, which she had always considered the most beautiful moment of the day. So, before leaving to go to work, we were used to stop in her room to pray a bit with her. In one of those moments, a few days before she died, she told us: “I have to thank you, because in all these years of living with you, I have been well as being with my husband”. The memory of those words, even today, raises to us a profound joy. Now my grandmother is buried in the cemetery of Castellanza and we have written on her tomb: “On the earth you have loved us with your work, from the heaven you love us with your prayers”.

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