On April 9th my mother passed away at the age of ninety of heart failure. She expired her last breath in a Montreal hospital after being transferred from her senior care facility. She felt lost and alone during the last days of her life. None of her children could visit and be at her side because of the lockdown.
Elda Pietrella was born on August 28th 1929, weeks prior to the Crash of 1929 and died at the height of the covid-19 fear of contagion that infected and paralyzed a normally working society.
She lost her father when she was 15. He died while her mother, my grandmother Augusta, was pregnant with my uncle Toni. She was the oldest daughter with one sister and two brothers. After completing her fifth grade she left school to work at a farm in the outskirts of a small town of Provesano in Friuli, Italy, to help support her family. She lived through the folly and devastation of the Second World War.
She met my dad Giuseppe Rizzotti in a neighboring town of Barbeano. They got married on May 7th 1949.
She joined my father in Tangiers International were he had found work. The city where I was born. Two years later political change was brewing under the surface and my father, mother and I went back to Spilimbergo, Italy, were my sister Antoinette was born.
The lack of work in Italy compelled my father to move to Montreal, Canada. Three years later my mother, my sister and I left Naples and sailed across the Atlantic and landed in Halifax, Canada: A long train ride away from Montreal, Quebec.
One year later, in 1957 she gave birth to my brother Jimmy. Her children were born in three different countries/continents.
My dad was a ship. My mother was his harbor…
Last time I saw my mother less than a year ago, she told me about when she was pregnant with me, that women had warned her to get ready for the pains of childbirth. She revealed with a smile that I popped out with ease. She felt no pain, only joy.
She was a beautiful and loving mother, unconditionally devoted to her family, and tough as nails.
I am the intertwining union of my parents genes, the flesh and blood of my mother: A wholly trinity.
She will always live in my heart.
She leaves behind in sorrow, her children: Michael, Antoinette, Jimmy and her grandson Gabriel. And all the people she graced by her presence…