Buon viaggio, zia Ines


As I am clicking on “share” to this post, the bells of the Cathedral in my hometown will start the funeral ringing tones and the folk on the square will wait the arrival of my relatives and my cousins carrying the coffin of my great-aunt.

Zia Ines, the sister of my grandmother, died two days ago aged 95. She had been sick for a while, so her passing at that age was a sort of relieve, no point continue suffering.

It feels so strange not being able to attend the funeral. In Italy it can take place just after 24 hours from death and there are no funeral planners like here in the Netherlands to arrange a celebration of the life of the deceased at due time. So unfortunately when a funeral happens this quick it is very difficult to take a last minute fly and go home.

And it feels even stranger considering my work as funeral photographer. Strange because not only I won’t be there, but also because there won’t be any photos taken to later share with the relatives and people who can't attend: in Italy, at least in my hometown, it’s unthinkable to photograph a funeral. It would be seen as an intrusion to the privacy and the grief rather than what it actually is: a way to capture the love for the deceased and the love left behind.

I would like to be there sitting next to grandma today, her youngest sister, who is “only” 92 years old and who we are all protecting and taking caring of. Me, from the distance for what I can do, calling her at least twice a day to entertain her and cheer her up.

Dear zia Ines, I will always remember you like here in this photo that I took four years ago during our summer holidays. Still very sharp and always looking form the side, with your and your shiny, brilliant white hair, your walking stick always before you, your sawing machine always ready for work and your incredible stubbornness which probably brought you this far.

Have a great journey, love Alessandra