21/03/2013

FOLLOW YOUR HEART - LIFE LESSONS FROM TWO SPECIAL WOMEN

"As you grow up, you’ll often get the urge to change things, to right wrongs, but every time you do, remember that the first revolution, the first and the most important, has to take place within yourself.  Fighting for an idea without having an idea of yourself is one of the most dangerous things you can do.”   

This is a quotation from "Va dove ti porta il cuore" (Follow Your Heart) by Susanna Tamaro a book I loved, an Italian one by an Italian writer. I remember reading it bursting into tears here and there,  feeling as if  that long letter was really addressed to me by my own grandmother (none of the personal story of the protagonist was true to her but the words and the suggestions just sounded like hers) .  The idea I may lose her,  who was the person who had brought me up, who had given me the chance of a very happy, optimistic childhood in the warmest family environment, simply broke my heart.  
I can tell you very little about the book since I remember very little but  I can tell you why it has come back to my mind just these days: my granny passed away as well as my mother - in - law, both in little more than a month.  


Two very important women in my life left me and this world in the latest weeks and, you know, it's never easy to cope with death. That is something we try so hard to remove from our lives, to forget and bury deep under hundreds of other thoughts and facts. But it comes and when it comes it takes with itself grief and shock,  wiping out any strength or certainty we may think we own. 
No matter how long we have prepared ourselves to the idea of losing our dear, especially if not young any longer and seriously ill. When it comes, it is never easy to face the fact it is something so terribly definite and inescapable. 

However, it is not of their departures I want to think, but of what they gave me and taught me. They were pretty special women in their simplicity, quite unreachable models in their modesty and generosity. Their lives have been fully dedicated to the people they loved in a  never - ending selfless attempt to make them happy, to make them feel understood,  loved and important. I'm grateful I had the chance to have them near me and to learn from them for so many years of my life.

Impossible not to love them, impossible to forget them. I'll miss them a lot. 

Susanna Tamaro's book ends with these words: “Be still and listen in silence to your heart. When it has spoken to you, rise up and follow it” 

And that is something I've learnt from both of them.

The book

"Follow your heart" (original title Va dove ti porta il cuore) by Susanna Tamaro (1994) is a bittersweet, heartwarming novel spanning generations and teaching the universal truths about life, love, and what lies within each of us.  It begins in late autumn 1992 as an elderly Italian woman, prompted by the knowledge of her encroaching death, sits down to write a letter to her granddaughter now grown and living in far-off America.  Through these moving reflections, we see one life laid bare--joys, sorrows, regrets, and all.  And through the eyes of a woman nearing the end of her days, we come to understand what life experience has taught her:  that no matter what the stakes, we must look within ourselves and gather the courage to follow our hearts. 

8 comments:

Vava, A country dreaming mum said...

Dear Maria Grazia, yours is the last, not least!, of a series of bad news that I have heard of in the last few days. As with the previous ones, I am short of words, of the right words to say in these circumstances. But are there right words to say? Ti sono vicina col pensiero e col cuore, that's all that comes into my head. As for the book, I read it many years ago and loved it too, now you have given me the desire to read it again. Your two special women would be happy to know that you're still and always following your own heart. Love, Silvana.

Maria Grazia said...

Grazie, Silvana :-)

Aurora said...

Dear Maria Grazia, I am really sorry for your loss. It is always difficult to face the death of a person close to you. I really sympathize with you. But, I am sure they know that they will be living forever in your heart and in your memories as well.

Maria Grazia said...

Many thanks for your sympathetic comment, Aurora.

Adriana Zardini said...

I understand you Maria! It's a difficult situation to live! I hope you get well soon!

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks, Adriana. Big hug to you!

Monica said...

Maria Grazia, I think it's beautiful that you can say that you have had such loving relationships with these important women in your life, especially with your grandmother.

Maria Grazia said...

I know, Monica. I do consider myself lucky. I am what I am thanks to them, though they were so much better and stronger than me in so many ways. Thank you :-)