Gheula Canarutto Nemni
Gheula Canarutto Nemni

For all those dad who are no longer with us

Hi Daddy,

For 22 years, every time I read the word “Dad,” I have been thinking about the day our lives changed forever: the day when one of the most important pieces of our existence was taken from us.

Lots of people address a person who left the earth by saying: hey, wherever you are.

You will never hear this sentence from me because I know where you are: you are with me, even if I cannot see you.

You are with me in my choices when I am on the horns of a dilemma, and I hear your voice saying to me: anywhere you go, it will be the right path.

You are in my thoughts when I reflect on existential problems, and I remember when, in the middle of solemn discussions, you suddenly turned around and, sticking your tongue out, you used to tell me: don’t be too serious!

You are in the encouraging messages I hand down to my children, in the goodnight kisses I give them before putting them to bed, in the passion I have in what I do, in the energy I have while I throw myself into initiatives that may seem strange to others, in the idealism haunting me, in the sense of justice that will not shut me up.

You are in the insecurity I feel during certain moments, in my blushing just like you used to, to the tip of the ears, when I feel emotional or moved.

I only realized what a parent really is after you left, leaving an emptiness made by a phone number that no one will answer to anymore when you need it or when you need to feel unconditionally loved, and by a chair at the head of the table that seems to be always waiting to be taken by someone and that looks at you saying: I am here, even if you cannot see me.

I realized that a father and a mother are always there for you, no matter what choice you take or that you need their support even if you are forty years old.

Anytime my son has certain funny expressions and pulls out his teeth to mock me, I can see his face overlapping yours and the DNA turning into a heart bond. We are made of body and soul.

During our life, the body limits the soul with its physicality: it imprisons the soul in some kilograms of body mass.

When the body returns to where it came from, the soul is free to move anywhere, and it finds itself even closer to who it was during earth life. Without any physical limitations, the spirit, as the air, is anywhere.

Hey dad, don’t stop holding my hand and keep whispering to me your advice and inspiring my dreams.

I love you so much,
Your grown-up girl.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni
translation by Tamar Dor

About the Author
Gheula Canarutto Nemni is a professor and novelist living in Milan, Italy. Her most recent novel '(Non) si può avere tutto' Mondadori 2015 tells the story of an Italian Orthodox Jewish girl and her challenges in the professional world in Milan.
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