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ITALY-GRANDMOTHER/
RTSMMSS
11 Aug. 2016
Reuters photographer Gaia Squarci recalls spending... more
ITALY-GRANDMOTHER/
RTSMMSS
11 Aug. 2016
COSSATO, Italy
Reuters photographer Gaia Squarci recalls spending the last months of her grandmother's life with her in Italy: "My grandmother's life and mine overlapped for 27 years. I always called her "Nonna." Our age difference and profoundly contrasting values and way of thinking did not prevent us from developing a strong bond andÊ a relationship punctuated by mischievous games and moments of tenderness and humour. "You know, I was still young when you were born," she told me a few weeks before she died. "It's a little like we grew up together." At a lunch table a few months earlier in Milan, I learned from my mother, her daughter, that Nonna, 85, suffered from incurable liver cancer. Years before, she had already survived two bouts of breast cancer. Nonna would tell me time and time again that the news of my birth had given her the strength to fight. Even more heartbreaking than the fear of saying goodbye to her was the fact that my grandmother did not know how sick she was. My mother and aunt believed she could not bear the thought of a third bout with cancer. Because of this, one question haunted us until the day she died: Did we have theÊright to know the truth about her condition when she did not? Nonna spent most of her last months at home, surrounded by family. She reconciled with the idea of death and said she could slowly feelÊit coming. Doctors felt that surgery and chemotherapy would be pointless. On Oct. 11, 2015, the day Nonna died in Biella, Italy, I was across the world in Brooklyn, New York. I had spent five months with her, celebrating her life instead of mourningÊher death. I struggled with the concept of death and the abstract emotion we call grief. I found peace only when I returned to Italy to spread Nonna's ashes. REUTERS/Gaia Squarci SEARCH "ITALY CANCER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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