If I had given a title to my story, it would have been "A Woman Who Rebuilt Herself", who took the courage after 38 years to look back at her wounds and create a new story. It's an incredible story of the Reborn through the Light.
I'd like you to join me on a walk on the rough path that my journey was. Who knows, some of you might find my story to be a source of inspiration. There is nothing to fear, as, like most of the inspirational stories, mine also (spoiler alert) has its happy ending! Anyway, there is so much to say, so let's not waste any time. Shall we begin?
I imagine my story like a tree with five main big branches that symbolise my life's significant griefs.
It all started in Colombia, more than 30 years ago. I was only a five-year girl living with my mother and my two brothers, seven and one-year-old. On a day like any other, my mother left for work but never returned, abandoning us. That was the day when my life took a completely new turn. My memories of those initial days are a little blurred; I remember the small van we traveled in from my house to the foster home. Still, I don't know how many days had passed before the social services arrived. However, I still have the most vivid memory of looking up at the sky, soaked in the rain, crying out my mother's name.
It took me decades to forgive my mother, especially after I found out she had six more children. That made the forgiveness process a tiny bit more complicated as you can imagine!
Despite everything, I have never felt hatred towards my mother, even if I couldn't stop feeling my heart crushing into thousands of pieces day by day, and I was convinced myself if she didn't love me, no one ever would. This destructive thought had been my condemnation for almost my entire life. Due to this grief, I had doubted myself multiple times. I had always tried to be perfect with my family, with my friends, but perfect to whom? At what price? When I finally realized that my fear of being abandoned again caused my constant seeking of others' approval and love, I decided to reframe my mother's memory and forgive her. I looked at my story from a different angle, through her eyes. Maybe she felt lost, perhaps she wasn't strong enough, or possibly, mainly, the lack of love for herself made her incapable of giving us the love we needed.
You might wonder if I found a justification for what she did, but the truth is I don't know; I haven't seen the answer yet, but I do know that compassion is the secret for your Inner Peace.
Not my favourite place! As soon as we arrived in what would become our new "social home", child services brought my little brother to a different foster home; instead, my older brother and I remained together. Seeing my little brother being taken away and not knowing when and if we would see him again marked the beginning of a traumatic experience characterised by a constant feeling of sadness. I don't have many memories to cherish from the foster home's time, but I remember that my brother and I lived with four other little children who shared our same pain. We were treated like animals and forced to eat disgusting food on the floor as eating at the table was forbidden. I was hungry all the time; I used to eat all of the leftovers from the house owners trying to stop that starvation feeling. One night I was so hungry that I ate the food destined for the hens, I know I will carry the weight of that intensive experience in my heart for the rest of my life, so I decided to look at the bright side of this memory.
Thanks to it, I have developed a sensitivity and empathy towards the weaker and the ones in need. I have learned to encounter happiness and the joy of the living moment. When something terrible happens, I remind myself of that particular night when I ate hens' food. Immediately I feel very appreciative of all the things I have and value the importance of sharing every moment with the ones I love and the importance of not giving up hope. Life, somehow, will always find its way to support and guide you, if you don't stop believing. We need to have faith. Out there, beautiful things are waiting for us, and one day, of all the painful experiences we had, it will make sense, trust me.
Nearly three years had passed since our arrival at the foster home when, after lots of prayers, I received the most wonderful news. I still remember the exact moment I was washing dishes as per the usual routine when they told me that an Italian couple, Gaetano and Teresa, had come to Colombia to take me back home with them - to be my new parents. I will never forget the explosion of joy and happiness in my heart! They brought me lots of presents and delicious food. It was so delicious that I ate so much, and I ended up feeling sick! The truth is I wasn't used to that much food. I felt the love, and I allowed myself to feel loved. They spent one month with me in Colombia, then we all flew back to a small town in Italy, where my new home would be. When we arrived, a big party was waiting for me with all of my new family members. It was amazing! It was so overwhelming that I felt excited and scared at the same time. The need to be loved and feel part of a family was so significant that I called them Dad and Mom as soon as they took me in their arms.
As the days went by, I started to feel sad again, thinking about my brothers, living in a new country where the language was not Spanish, and living with new people who were now my parents. In the following years, while growing up, I had these ambivalent feelings of happiness and sadness. These were difficult years for the three of us us, so many things had changed in our lives. Only later I realised how difficult challenges had also marked my parents' lives. My father lost his sight when he was just a baby. He was eight months old when he had become ill, and a strong medication made him blind. My mother lost her father when she was little. I felt like we were three different worlds marked by suffering, with scars not healed, trying to coexist in the best possible way. It was often difficult to understand each other. Our unresolved issues and emotional scars did not allow us to love each other the way we deserved. However, I recognise the three great warriors we were, and I would still choose them as my parents. Like any other human being, my father was not perfect, but he was a great fighter. Even though his blindness, he never gave up fighting to find his place in society. He taught me the values of life, honesty, humility, and being curious. He was my everything. Now let's talk about another great person: my mom Teresa; the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking of her is her uncompromising character. She was a strong and smart woman, knew how to listen to me, was the only one capable of comforting me, and was an excellent cook who was also great! I was so hungry for love, kisses, hugs, sweet words, but it wasn't easy for her to show love the way I wanted it, so I thought she didn't love me for most of my life. For this reason, I had felt unloved, and I had often wished I was never been born at all, to stop feeling that emptiness and lack of affection in my heart.
Too soon, the Angel of Death came and took my parents. My father and my mother passed away four years apart from each other. After two heart attacks and dialysis, my father's heart got weaker and weaker until it stopped beating. My mother instead was consumed by cancer. Doctors gave her not more than two months to live when we found out about the disease. I am still wondering how I survived that terrible news! These are the most painful griefs of my life, the loss of my two guides, my two angels. I was often upset with them because I didn't understand their behaviours, but now I see! They were just preparing me to deal with life and be strong while opening my heart to people. After their deaths, for almost five years, every morning for me was like waking up with a part of my body missing. It is a terrible feeling, but luckily, I felt my parents' presence every day. They came into my dreams every night until I was ready to let them go. When you lose someone you love, they stand by you until your soul and mind are prepared to let them go.
One of the most challenging things to imagine and plan without my parents was my wedding, as I know it was also my parents' dream. I got married three years ago, and guess who walked me down the aisle? My little brother was adopted by an Italian family too. Seeing him in the church and having him by my side was truly emotional; I remember everyone being touched and crying by our encounter. That day I felt happy with so much love around me; I now think of it as one of the happiest days of my life. Surprisingly, I was not as sad as I thought I would be that day. I felt my parents' presence, like big arms wrapping me with love and light.
It's hard to live without them every day, but they live in my heart; they will always be until the last breath because they live through my words, my remembrance, and my deeds. I am so grateful to have had Gaetano and Teresa as my parents. It is thanks to them that I have become the woman I am today.
We often forget that our parents are human beings as we are; they might not be perfect, but who is?! They love us the only way they know; it is that simple. Now I know my parents loved me a lot, but I was so focused on my past that I could not see it back then. Having your parents with you is a treasure. For those who still have their parents alive, let me tell you how lucky you are! Respect and understand them as much as you can, and above all, love them for who they are.
In 2019 I was pregnant; unfortunately, in the 7th week, I had a miscarriage. I won't go into many details, but it hit me hard. I experienced this mix of feelings, from the guilt of not having done enough to protect my baby to start to wonder if I was even worthy of having a child. I felt so powerless because of how much I wanted this moment to come, to see then my dream slipping away and feeling my heart sinking again.
Once I'd accepted what had happened was out of my control, I stopped feeling responsible for this painful loss. Meeting with women who had the same experience and listening to their stories helped me find the courage to do all the necessary medical checks. I had to figure out what happened and if there was something that I should have been aware of to prevent another miscarriage. Doctors advised me to start investigating further only after two or three miscarriages. Still, I didn't want to go through this pain another two or three times before having all the answers, so I did several private exams, and I found out that I have hereditary thrombophilia. The results weren't what I had hoped for, but at least I had some answers to my concerns and fortunately, this wasn't what stopped me from living a wonderful experience called Pregnancy, in fact after two years I finally became the mother of a beautiful baby.
I have learned not to wait for things to happen before investigating or questioning. I have great respect for doctors and their work, but sometimes, they tend to treat you like a number or a statistic rather than an individual. And you are the only one who can feel if there is something wrong with your body.
Who am I today?
I am a self-aware woman who can value herself and her empathy towards others.
A woman who is finally free of all the fears of not being loved and accepted or afraid of the future,
who can now hold that little girl’s hands and tell her she is free to go and find her happy place.
I am a wife, mother who has been gifted with two brothers and the chance to reunite with them after everything we had been through. My younger brother, as mentioned earlier, currently lives in Italy, which makes communication with him pretty easy. Instead, my older brother, who always refused to be adopted, stayed in the system until he was old enough to leave. He currently lives in Colombia with his beautiful family. As for today, we only have what you would call a "virtual relationship". I haven't seen him in 30 years, but to be fair, for many years, I was the one who didn't want to go to Colombia as I was not ready to relive all the painful memories fully. Now it is different; I am finally ready. Since the pandemic happened, we promised to hold each other in a long-awaited embrace as soon as we can travel freely again.
Yes! I can now say that all my sorrow has turned into these beautiful flowers. Like life and its challenges, my tree will continue going through the seasons, losing its flowers and leaves to blossom again.
While typing my story, a song keeps playing in my head that says, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Truer words will never be spoken! Don't be afraid of manifesting what's inside of you and leave a mark of your presence in the world.