I had to fly back to Sicily for her funeral.
The weather forecast was terrible and I have to say it rained both inside and outside the house.
On the following day, though, my grandma definitely decided she would not go to church under the rain and so we woke up to find a beautiful blue sky and such a warm sun!
People who hadn't seen each other for ages, finally got to meet and talk again.
There are always tears and laughters at funeral... I am on the laughter side.
So we started talking about all the fun this woman was, all the stories she knew, all the things she did and it was nice.
In church, her daughters (my mom and auntie) asked me to read a poetry on their behalf... partly because I was the only one who wasn't crying and managed not to.
I had never given a speech at a funeral. I said: grandma, your daughters want me to read this to you... I am not as good as you were with poetry but I'll try...
I read the thing but wasn't actually seeing the words, they did not represent my feelings.
So when the priest asked me if I wanted to say something... I said: I do... and I speak on behalf of my sister as well.
And I said: "I would be a sad person today, with a sad life, if my grandma had never existed... we were happy children, that's why. When I was little she was far better than TV, Books, School and Toys. She would toss us in her garden and then light up a fire and on that she would roast a steak (usually liver on thursday, which I didn't like very much) and then she would cut the meat in little pieces and follow me around the garden and tell me a story, a riddle, a rigmarole, a poetry: c'era una volta un Re, Bifé, Viscotta e Minè, che aveva una Figghia, Befigghia, Viscotta e Minigghia...
By the time the story was over, the steak was over too. That's how I grew up. Thank you, grandma."
My grandma was a great storyteller and she knew so many things. While growing up I though: I wish I could do that too... I wish I could be able to tell story so enchanting that people would forget what they are doing while they listen to it... and eat liver even if they don't like it very much!
I think this is why I am who I am... and I think in respect to my grandma I will make the deadline. I did not leave Balthasar behind, it's here with me, it gets me going... so chapter two will be out in 22 days, right on schedule and it will be released in loving memory of my grandma: who taught me that stories are powerful and necessary to our happiness.