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The death of my sister

morte di mia sorella

In memory of Elena, my sister, who left us twenty years ago.

I practice Linguistic Empathy and I expect you to do the same. Please bear with me if my English is not perfect.


Twenty years ago today my sister died. She had been fighting cancer for three years. I am usually not very keen on commemorations, but today I feel like stopping and thinking of her for a while.

I feel like doing this not because I miss her more today than any other day in my life, but because I would not be what I am today without this loss. We are the results of whatever life has in store for us, and of the way we react to this. But of course, we do not stop every day reflecting on how past events shape us – it would be useless and time consuming.

my sisterHowever, I feel it is important to take a while to remember what turned us into the beings we are today, and to remind those sharp moments of sorrow that time dilutes and melts into bearable routines. I believe acknowledging what these painful moments have taught us is the only way to come to terms with the losses that life inflicts upon us.

I feel better thinking that my sister taught me a great lesson because of the situation she found herself in. She taught me to be optimist up to the last day of my life, and to never give up hope. It will go as it has to go, but going through hell with an optimistic spirit makes it less hellish for you and for those who surround you. And she taught me lightness. She taught me that you can be gentle and soft with the others even in the direst moments of your existence.

This is what I bring within myself today and what helps me make sense of her death. She lives through the lessons she taught me, and I can’t think of a better way to honour her.


Claudia Landini
January 2016
Photos ©ClaudiaLandini

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