That would be me, Mrs. Moglie. Married to a native Italian, Mr. Marito.
Mother to a daughter in high school, Ms. SmartyPants and a son in middle school, Mr. Uometto.
Employed at a private British School as an English teacher and Coordinator of Children's Studies.
Part of a small, but growing Protestant church in Frascati, a small town in the hills just outside of Rome.

This is where I sometimes gripe, complain and grumble about the things I dislike, have yet to get used to or simply don't understand about bella Italia.
I do, however, have many people, places and things that I dearly love and I am more than aware of being blessed by each and every one of them.
Also - a few helpful posts for visitors to Rome or for newly arrived ex pats. Check the side bar for tags. I've even some recipes that I've borrowed, tweaked or invented. One thing I've come to love about Italy is how it's changed the way I eat - slow food !! Although ... I do miss Taco Bell ... and Jack in The Box ... and KFC ... and ::sigh::
Thanks for stopping by !!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Isaiah 1:18

It snowed today, here, in Rome. It lasted but for five minutes. I was able to take a few photos from my kitchen window before snow turned into rain. The last time it snowed was the 12th of February. It was the morning my mother-in-law passed away. She had been battling against late stage cancer that had begun in her bladder, but quickly spread to most of her body. What we encountered in Italian hospitals and Italian healthcare policies, despite Italy's Universal Health Care Plan, is something too serious to simply moan and groan about.

But now, snow, where it doesn't normally snow, reminds me of her. I remember hearing the phone ring early that Friday morning. It was 7AM and we were preparing ourselves for another long ride on trains and buses to arrive at the Hospice/Palliative care center where she had just recently been moved. The last few days had been grueling, but we were thankful to finally see her receive the care she needed at Antea. After months of finding inadequate, shoddy care in hospitals and then trying to care for her, ourselves at home and then realizing we just couldn't provide the assistance she needed on our own, we placed her back into the care of tired, indifferent and sometimes ill trained nurses. 

At Antea, she had her own room, a bathroom and a bed with rails that kept her from falling as well as prevented her from climbing out, to return to her job as a maid from some 70 years past, as her moments of clear and lucid thinking began to dwindle. The doctors and nurses there willingly and on their own initiative took time to tell us what was happening at each shift change. On her very first day there, she was given a hair cut and styling by two young beauticians who volunteer their time. Now, I realize that clean stylish hair may seem trivial compared to the gangrene that had set in on her right foot due to the loss of blood circulation. But when a person has come to the point in their lives when any sort of intervention must be withheld (for example, amputation of her gangrenous foot) because even the simplest action can cause immediate death, the people who love this person are more inclined to be concerned with comfort and ease from pain, with those rare moments of lucidity when they could see that strange and gaunt face take on the familiar expressions and movements they once knew and most importantly they want to see this person treated with dignity. That was my constant prayer all those months when I could do nothing else to help her. Soften the hearts of the nurses assigned to her, Lord. Let them treat her with dignity. Please. With dignity. 

My husband answered and, as he would tell me later, he had already known what the call was about. All I heard from his end of the conversation was, "At what time?" and then, "Yes, thank you," and I knew, too. She was gone. 

Later, when people would offer their condolences, they must have wondered why we didn't seem sadder. Why we seemed so ... okay. I was sad. I was beyond sad. But the funny thing about being Christian and truly placing our faith and trust in God is that despite whatever external circumstance or situation or pain or loss we find around us, whatever emotion we feel then as a consequence, the strange yet wonderful thing is that, the joy, the peace and the security we have in Christ - they just don't budge. 

We were sad, heartbroken - but we were relieved to see her pain and suffering finally come to an end. After the phone call, we took our time getting prepared; there was no hurry today. I removed the bag of mandarins I had packed the night before. She couldn't really eat them by now, but she loved to see them and smell them. I know that at 84 years of age, three whole years before her final day on earth, she had prayed with me and asked the Lord Jesus to forgive her of a life lived apart from her Creator. Now, I wondered in my heart about her final home. I asked God in prayer, like a child who's been told again and again, "yes, yes and yes," but still kept asking, "really? really? sure?" 

We took the car. There would be traffic, but again, there was no hurry today and neither of us could bear to see a hundred different faces bustling by at the subway and train stations, talking and shouting and going about their day as if nothing had happened. As the car carried us closer and closer to our destination, my heart continued to call out to God. But Lord, I thought, I know your promises, I know your Word, but I want to be sure. And then, my eyes seemed to suddenly open for the first time that day. All around me was snow. How had I not noticed it before? Or perhaps I had, it just hadn't registered. The snow had stopped falling and had left a blanket of white onto our city. I was suddenly impressed with the thought, that, though Rome was littered with trash and graffiti and so many other eyesores that often make it seem more ugly than beautiful, today, none of that could be seen. All you could see on roads and buildings and trees and cars and in the sky was pure heavenly white. Just then, as I was looking up at the white sky, it began to snow again. I pressed my forehead against the cold wet window and marveled at each snowflake which seemed to fall down in slow motion. The glass quickly fogged up and I rolled down the window and smiled when a gush  of wind brought a flurry of feathery light snowflakes into the car. And I was reminded of the verse in Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

And since that moment, I've known with certainty, I will, indeed,  see my mother-in-law again.

photos from
12th February 2010

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