Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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Marianna’s story

Language: English
Country: Italy
Typology: patients and relatives
Letter from her mother Dear Ms. X, first of all, I would like to thank you for the support you have given me for all these years. I have no words to say "thank you". It is thanks to you if Marianna is still alive and has a beautiful little sister who loves her. I owe it to you. I am grateful to you because you have heard that cry for help that sometimes we, as mothers, let out in silence so that, to hear it, first of all, you must be aware of its existence, unfortunately. A big hug also to all the staff who is always available. Thanks!!! Marianna, Beatrice, mum and dad. Marianna Today, I see a beautiful girl of almost five years old next to me. She likes music, football, books, the songs sung at her nursery school and her sister Beatrice who loves her. Marianna is like my oxygen, my reason for getting up in the morning, and her smile fills the great void that I have inside me as a mother. When I started to know her, I saw a doll that seemed to be made of porcelain, so I had to get to know her and to behave with her in the right way. When I held her in my arms for the first time, I felt as if she was asking for help. My heart broke into pieces, the pain was terrible but, at the same time, there was that little girl in my arms who was looking at me with her beautiful blue eyes. I raised her and I started a slow dance with her in my arms and still today we dance the waltz of the day, one… two… three… I count and we turned and SHE laughs happily, my face is radiant and her body rigid. Getting to know her was not difficult because I said to myself: she might have taken from me, then I will treat her as I would like to be treated: that is to say, sweetness, pampering and a lot of strength. I have tried to fill her days with many activities outside home. In the morning, when I wake her up, I sing and speak in a low voice and she answers me smiling and trying to stretch her body. "Marianna, my little girl, come on, get you up and your mother will pull you up". “Marianna, my love, give a kiss to your mum, let’s wash, let’s change clothes and let’s go to the nursery”. When she is ready on her "throne" (her posture chair), in front of the mirror she grumbles if she looks in the mirror and her hairstyling does not convince her; on the other hand, if her hairstyling is ok, then she opens her mouth and makes a big smile, she opens her arms and I feel that she tries to hug me. There are many beautiful moments but, unfortunately, they are obscured by the family daily routine and administrative problems. A parent should not have problems of any kind: he should not fight with himself above all, he should get to know himself truly and see and accept his limits. We make a lot of efforts. However, the beautiful thing about Marianna is that she always knows how to surprise us with a gesture or a cry outside what is normal. She does things that we do not expect her to do: if we do not pay attention, she attracts our attention with a little cry or a gesture with her hands; she does everything to be at the center of our attention. She likes staying in contact with children of her age, she is very good at school and she is willing to go to the playground with her sister. Her little sister has a beautiful relationship with Marianna, she is very protective, warm, friendly and they often sleep together in the afternoon. Now, after a short stay in Tortona, Marianna has learned to sleep in the cot and behaves in a more tolerant way, she is not so "tyrannical" as before. The Piccolo Cottolengo in Tortona is a very practical and coloured house and I was fine there too. But my small house is better, with dad coming back from work every evening and saying: “Hello! Where are my little girls?”. Beatrice runs in front of him and Marianna would like to skip down from her “throne” and hug him with a wide smile. "Marianna, my little great naughty girl".

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