Abbiamo Vinto- We Have Won
By: Kiran A.
Gone. Gone but yet still so present. Amalia Menichella. Someone I could play with, someone I could talk to, someone I could sing with, everything and more that an aunt should be. She taught me so much. To never give up. To hope. To be optimistic. To enjoy life. At 49, she was a victim of metastatic breast cancer. We thought that was the end. But no, she pushed through, she survived just about a whole other year. She left us February 27, 2016. But she didn't truly leave. She stayed with us. Her thoughtful words reaching out to everyone. She kept in touch. She left posts for us. She is still here.
A Hero...A Relative Term
Defining a Hero
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a hero is “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” A brave soul fighting for his or her country, never giving up, is an example of a person who is greatly admired for courageousness. Although heroes can be brave, a hero can also be a person who perseveres through difficult times and makes the best of situations.
A hero is a person who is losing to cancer but still enjoying life. An example of a person who is viciously fighting cancer is my beloved aunt from Italy. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in the Spring of 2015 and although she had to undergo continuous rounds of chemotherapy it never stopped her from truly appreciating life. When we were at Celle, a small town on the seaside in Italy, she would sing every night although she may have felt a little fatigued or sick. Additionally she would still wade in the translucent blue waters early in the morning while most people at her stage would have rested and stayed at home. Furthermore, even now when she is at a point in which she has to be hospitalized permanently and is terminally ill, she is still singing brightly as ever.
A hero is a person who is blind and deaf but still tries to learn. Brushing teeth, crossing the street and traversing to school are such simple tasks. However, this was not the case with six year old Helen Keller. After battling a severe illness Helen Keller, at an age of just six, lost her senses of hearing and sight (rnib.org). Although this was a huge obstacle being thrown at her, potentially blocking her future in education, she persevered through it and pursued an educational career. She eventually studied at the Cambridge School for Young Ladies and in the autumn of 1900 entered Radcliffe College, becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree (rnib.org). This clearly portrays the level of motivation and devotion she had to continue education. This not only makes her a hero but also an inspiration to other people who are dumb and deaf.
A hero: not Superman, not a mighty mythical creature, but one who perseveres through difficult times and remains optimistic. Whether if it's Helen Keller overcoming the hindrance of being blind with perseverance and continuing an educational career, or my aunt, lying on her deathbed relishing her last moments, both are what I deem to be fit as heroes.
To Have Enough Will
Black. Pitch black. Silence. Pin drop silence. Imagine living in a world without having the ability to see or hear. Helpless. Alone. You give up. What is the point of even trying?
But there are always exceptions of this seemingly inevitable fate of pessimism. Helen Keller, for example, battled and overcame the obstacles of both blindness and deafness with extreme perseverance. Not only that, she was also able to pursue her education, a lifelong dream of hers. For example, Helen Keller progressed quickly in her education and attended the Horace Mann school for the blind where she learned English, French and German. She also studied history, mathematics, literature, astronomy and physics while she was a student at the Wright-Humason School of the Deaf and the Cambridge School for Young Ladies (American Decades). Evidently she went above and beyond, accomplishing the unheard of. In order to accomplish her goals and become the true hero she is, Helen Keller had to persevere through her difficulties. This, to me is a trait of a hero because it is easy to give up or lose hope. It takes a whole other level of strength to still have faith and persevere.
In order for Helen Keller to persevere, she also made the best of things. Since Helen Keller battled with blindness and dumbness herself, she was an inspiration to others in situations similar to hers(American Decades). She spread her positivity to others in need of hope. She helped them have the drive that could help them push through. Additionally she dedicated her life to making life better for others who are also blind and deaf (American Decades) This portrays that she broke the boundary of pessimism for herself and others, and that she used her optimism to push through and persevere.
Engulfed in a blanket of sickness, her eyesight decaying, her liver failing, the world around my Aunt Amalia, is crumbling. With this negativity burned upon her, it is hard to be an optimist. But that does not stop her. She still sings at her church, goes for walks and assists her mom at doing household chores. This may not seem like a way of going above and beyond, but, with a bitter cancer controlling and overpowering her, everyday simple tasks can be challenging. To fight these endless amounts of obstacles it takes true perseverance and optimism. These characteristics of heroism, are ones that also Helen Keller portrayed. Although both of these heroes, my Aunt, and Helen Keller, are under very different circumstances, both of these heroes had to think optimistically to gather enough will to keep persevering.
Black. Pitch black. Silence. Pin drop silence. The world around you is nothing. You feel lost. But that doesn't stop you. You overcome your obstacles and pursue your dreams. You appreciate life. You achieve the impossible.
This is a picture of my aunt singing.
This is a picture of my aunt and my mother during the time my aunt was going through chemotherapy.
This is a picture of my aunt at the town we stay at every summer, Celle.
I can still hear your melodious voice flowing through the streets of Celle on karaoke nights
I still can feel the soft breeze when we walked hand in hand along the narrow streets, talking and laughing
I still remember the Skype sessions where you would sing for us,each and every time more beautiful than the first
I still can taste Nonna's delicious spread on Christmas Eve, where we were all dancing and singing, relishing these moments as a family
We will miss you but
you will always remain in our hearts