Anna, an italian woman from Milan, sharing her story “we are safe, I am so grateful for it!”

Some weeks ago I wrote the following letter:

« I am Anna, I am from Milan and I am currently living and working nearby Milan, in Lombardy, the Italian region most-hit from covid-19.

I am going to start today my 10th week of confinement at home, with country rules which became gradually more thought. I live in a small apartment with my husband and the first weeks I could get out, have jogging and visit my brothers and sisters who lived 1 Km away from here. But now, I can just walk once per day (alone) for 200 mt from my home and I can’t visit anyone, for any reason. Last time I saw my friends and my family was the 8th of March. Is it difficult? Yes, it is. Every day I look for huge hugs from my husband because I miss so many hugs from my family and my friends. We spent the first Easter in 2 (in Italy we are used to have minimum 20 people for a lunch together during holydays). But I am very lucky, I must say it: I can easily work from home and I have a safe place where to stay, with the most important person of my life. I can workout at home and all my family is safe.

When everything began I was very scared: our life was changing so fast and there was so much uncertainty on this virus. My husband couldn’t work from home and there was also the possibility for him to loose his job. But, most importantly, I was afraid for my grandma (and still I am). She is my favorite person in my family, but she is old, she has a lung cancer and she lives in Milan in an apartment with my grandpa alone. From the first time I called her and I keep on doing it almost every day: she is not scared of the virus, but she is missing us human contact so much. Some weeks ago she told me “Every morning I hope for someone to ring the bell, I of course hope it could be someone of my family, but anyone else it’s fine enough! And you know what? Everyday there is someone who come to visit me: a week ago I saw a cute bird on the balcony, and in a week I followed him making a nest in the tree in front of us! Yesterday, the cat of the neighbor jumped in the balcony next to us and he stayed there all day long. There are so many stuff happening here around!”. It was of course a discussion just to reassure me since she knows I am worried…but this was for me a turnover in this quarantine. Since that moment on, I started focusing on what I am grateful for, and not on what I am missing.

I can see that this circumstance is going to change our life, but I can see also that any change in life needs us to look at it as a chance and not a disgrace. When I was helping an adolescent doing his jobs last year in Geneva, I remember him told me “I don’t wanna become an adult, there are so many difficulties: you have to pay for your own apartment, you have to take care of it, you have to pay bills, find a job and so on and so forth…that’s annoying”. Of course, any change could be seen as difficult if you look at it from the outside, but when you’re living it…it can even be marvelous.”

I was planning to integrate this letter in the coming days. And a week ago – still having these conditions in Italy – my home completely burned down. Something happened in the apartment over my house, and when the firefighters arrived at my building, the flames had already devastated the entire building, and my apartment as well. My husband and I just bought that apartment 4 month ago and while everyone is keeping on telling us “stay at home” because of Covid-19, we don’t have an home anymore. We slept at my parents’ for some days but they don’t have enough space, therefore we finally found an apartment to rent…for the next 6 months (since we have been told we can’t go back to our home before). I just read the letter I wrote again and I want to send it exactly as it is. I cried a lot due to this situation, I felt lost and restless. But what I experienced during lockdown and I wrote in this letter worked deeply on me and my husband. The day after the fire my husband told me “we are safe, I am so grateful for it!” In this unforeseeable situation, where I lost everything I had (not only the physical connection with my beloved one) I really want to keep my mind up looking at what I do have in my life, to better face the changed life I have ahead.

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