I go back to bed and lay down next to Letizia, my youngest
child who, as it often happens, does not sleep in her bed but here, next to me. I look at
her plump face, she is sleeping as a new-born, laying flat on her back, with her little
hand touching the long blond hair on the pillow. Her expression is relaxed and the skin is
rosy and tender to the touch. She is so cute !
vivid memories come back to me. Where are our anguished days? Are they really part of our
past? What happened in my mind when they told me that Letizia was a brain injured child
with no hope of recovery? I try to cast away these memories but they come back, nagging at
We had been running from one specialist to another, because my
daughter did not behave as a rule. She did not grow up as other children but nobody seemed
to find her behaviour strange, like when she would stare blankly into space, did not react
to noise, refused maternal milk or hugs and would spend long nights crying without sobs
nor tears. Her psychomotor development was very slow as well. At the time I was considered
a neurotic and depressed woman in need of treatment myself because I was searching for a
diagnosis and a cure for my child. At her first birthday Letizia was not able to sit up.
And a couple of days later, the verdict: Letizia had brain injury, with no hope for
recovery. I was given only one suggestion: to find a good clinic that would take good care
of Letizia. The "specialists" told me she would behave like a new-born her whole
life, that she could not have a regular social and family life. We did not believe them,
and that day was the first day of our new life with and for Letizia. The diagnosis was the
starting point of our conquest, the first day of a long and wonderful battle to give
Letizia a regular life. A battle against the doctor's incredulity, people's prejudices,
and bureaucracy. However we did not fight alone. Along the way we met many friends who
cried and rejoiced with us.
First of all Carl Delacato, an Educational Doctor of Italian
origin, who gave us loving words full of hope: "Trust Letizia's intelligence!".
We did. Then the host of volunteers that helped us with the long therapy session: "Do
not thank us, we have to thank Letizia". So we thanked our daughter for her birth.
Not to mention our other children : "Don't worry Mum, I
value my friends depending on how they consider my sister". And finally her
classmates, teachers and friends: "Letizia, you are doing very well !" and she
really was. Yes, because, maybe thanks to a miracle of collective faith, she unexpectedly
belied all speculations about her future.
At first, she moved by sliding on the floor (...she will never
move !), then she started crawling around the house (...she will never improve !) and
finally her first uncertain and shaky steps. She was walking !
We know that Letizia is now nine years old and that she should
be able to do many things besides attending school, enjoy going for a walk, begging for a
candy or cover us with kisses. But nevertheless, I am happy for everything Letizia
brings us and for everything she will be able to do in the future. Because we will
continue to fight for her and with her, who will always be surrounded by our warm and
loving family that she has helped to make strong.
Meanwhile God Almighty took the wise decision not to remove
Letizia's burden while, little by little, strengthening our shoulders.