Coronavirus took Aunt Mina away… and I didn’t get to say goodbye

Written by Rosa Di Bari Final year student at the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta

“Aunt Mina died, she lost her battle to COVID-19”

When my cousin called me out of the blue last week to give me this news,  I couldn’t reply. I felt great pain in my chest. Like something tightened up inside me. It hurt so much. What could I do? I can’t replace Aunt Mina.

What torments me the most is that I couldn’t say goodbye. I heard on the news people crying because they didn’t get to wish farewell to loved ones who succumbed to COVID-19. I felt for these people. I never thought that it would happen to me. I feel it now. Excruciating pain and heartbreak. It’s true what they say. Make the most of every single minute. Enjoy the company of those you love because you never know what’s around the corner. 

I lost someone before. My sister. I guess I was too young then to understand what that kind of separation meant. But now I can’t shake this feeling. I find myself thinking of Aunt Mina. I know she’s in God’s hands now. Or at least that’s what I tell myself in order to make myself feel better. She was such a good person. I can’t even describe how much she meant to me. She was always there. We lived far away, she lived in Italy and I live in Malta yet every time I went to visit, time stopped.

“Bella mia” she used to salute me. And hug me tight. I felt like years stood still. She was a seamstress and loved dresses. Even at home she always wore one. On her dress, you couldn’t help noticing cotton thread and a sewing needle stuck on the waistline of the dress she was wearing. “Ouch” I would say sometimes to her. She forgot she carried a sewing needle and when she hugged me she always poked me with it. But who cares when you see such an outpouring of love?

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. With her sharpened scythe, the virus has mowed down so many lovely people. It eclipsed the beauty of life stealing joy from so many people. I was going to visit her this year. I promised I would. I will visit her anyway. She won’t be able to hug me this time. And I won’t have that sewing needle poking me. I will bring her flowers. She loved tulips and with these flowers, I’ll say:

“So long, Auntie Mina. You meant so much to me.” 

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