I’m still mourning a death that happened something like 13 years ago.
I’m still mourning a death from April, 2017.
I’m still mourning a break up from December, 2017.
I’m still mourning Bologna, everyday.
Every other day, it’s London that I miss and gives me heartbreaks (plural, yes, because apparently your heart can suffer from little cracks over and over again).
And what about the life I never lived and, yet, I wished for with all of me since 2012?
And as I’m preparing to mourn again,

So. I wrote all of this back on March, 25, then I stopped. It was just to much to bare with. I was happy (if one can say so whilst writing this kind of stuff) to have felt again that writing could help, and that was all.
Today is April, 12. Today I mourn again.

Yesterday I lost the love of my life. Just few months shy of her 100th birthday, Nina left us. Two years ago on this day we lost Giovanna, her daughter, my aunt, her second daughter (and my second aunt) to leave us.

Virginia, but we call her Virna, Giovanna, but we call her Gianna, and now Catterina, but we call her Nina. I have three waves tattoed on my back, right on the spine, to symbolise three of my aunties (two being Virna and Gianna, the third Battistina, but we call her Tina) and my nan + my mom + me, and it never felt more relevant. If I can stand tall everyday as a woman, it’s purely because of them. Because they have always showed me the ways unconditional love really manifests itself and how much women can do when they stick together. They are my tribe. My legacy. My family.

I’ll never be half the woman you are, Nina. You went through a lot, since the beginning. I mean, an entire century. But you did it so gracefully it’s almost unbelievable. You were the first to ever make me feel proud to be alive, even in days when it’s hard for me to feel anything at all. All the family you helped rise, the one that has always met at your house, I’m grateful for. As you said to us a couple of weeks ago, “we the Ballini are a stunning breed”. oh we are indeed.

In the words of another amazing woman that taught me what does mean to feel alive:

I am rooted, but I flow.

Virginia Woolf
sleeping Nina, on Christmas Day, 2018

In the top picture, my brother Angelo and me in our nonna’s house, last summer. We used not to be able to reach that mirror and see ourselves. That’s how little we were.

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