A puzzle solved

When we were doing our major internal renovation work in 25 November 2013, I posted about a strange spiritual experience that we’d had.

At the time, I assumed the presence of a ghost in our house.

Well, a year after this event, we learned who this ‘presence’ might be…and it’s only now that I’ve been able to write about it…

We share a common wall with our neighbour’s house. Our neighbour and his wife no longer live in the valley but spend every day out here in Spring and Summer.

In December 2014, our neighbour, his wife and sons walked up the valley to share a slice of pannettone and a glass of moscato with us.

It was a particularly cold afternoon so we wasted no time in welcoming them into our home and ushering them into our dining room.  Stu lit the fire and soon the little room was glowing warm.

As the conversation turned to our renovations, we casually mentioned the ‘presence’ that we’d felt the previous year.

Immediately, our neighbour’s wife became emotional and announced with utter certainty that “Bertina era qui” (“Bertina was here”)! She asked us to wait while she rushed to their summer house and when she returned her eyes were red and her cheeks wet.

Her trembling hands held a photo of an elderly lady and a remembrance card as if they might crumble at any moment.

Then she sat down and told us about Bertina. Bertina was a deeply loving woman who used to live in our house with her husband. They had no children and used to treat our neighbours’ children as their own. Our neighbours’ son remembers Bertina reading stories to him and giving him special treats to eat. The entire family remembers Bertina’s smile. She smiled constantly and generously. She smiled through a sour husband and a hard life. She was still smiling when she died at the age of 102.

Having shared our neighbours’ precious memories and felt an even stronger presence of the woman they treasured, our dining room that day seemed a little warmer.

The words on her rememberance card will stay with us always:

“Il mio dolce sorriso rimanga per sempre nei vostri cuori”

(“My sweet smile remains always in your hearts”)

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