Writer . Editor . Author
Nonno Arturo and Nonna Matilda
I just received news that Nonno Arturo has passed away. Roberta’s Facebook update dated 3 hours ago means he must’ve passed away sometime before 9pm on Sunday 13 March.
I don’t really know how to describe how I feel at the moment, except that I mourn. I mourn with all who know, love and were loved by him. I feel as though he were my own grandfather.
It was worse because I saw him gradually get worse in hospital. On Saturday, on the day I left, I was already in tears – more because he was dying than I was leaving.
His body had swollen and his eyes could only half open. He was fully dependent on the breathing machine. Just a week ago when I’d arrive on the Saturday, he was able to rasp, shake his head and fully open his eyes. We even fed him yogurt and ice-cream.
I wouldn’t say I know Nonno Arturo well. I only saw him three times over the past 10 years when I visited Italy. But I remember his signature baker hat, his quiet presence, his stubby chin and their flat in San Vito.
That tiny kitchen, that tiny toilet and the grand living room with its massive mirror and cupboards of curios, the place where Roberta explained what ‘la cosa nostra’ meant, where Umberto and I ate prosciutto crudo with mozarella and pane after school.
Nonno Arturo was 81. He and Nonna Matilda have three children and seven grandchildren.
Ciao nonno, ti vogliamo tanto bene.