Life is the gift. Love is the gift. Giving is life and love.

Racconto a quattro mani di tre giorni densi di love.

Once you reach a certain age, after fifty, sleep becomes shorter because it is interspersed with thoughts about family, work, broken dreams and dreams to build.

Our sleep on Thursday 9 February 2023 was interspersed almost exclusively with "dreams to build"

it starts

At 7 our dream under construction began.

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Cold day but with an immense, warm, brilliant sun.

Like our mission has just begun.

The appointment is for 11.00 at the DH department of Oncohematology of theBambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital at the Gianicolo headquarters.

Waiting for us was the reassuring head nurse Elsa Bianchini, and our indefatigable warrior Dr. Antonella Cacchione.

The fear was of arriving late for our appointment, but thank God, everything went smoothly.

Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital

At 10.30 we were in front of the hospital entrance. Francesca (Pina) and I got off with our bags full of gifts, and Remigio went to park the camper at the piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Procedura che abbiamo fatto mille volte con Eugene.

Che dire? Il cuore non riusciva a contenere i suoi battiti, le mani sudavano e la mente era annebbiata; tutto mi riportava a tre anni fa. Non riuscivo a guardarmi intorno, sembrava che nulla fosse cambiato. Eravamo in quel posto, di speranza, di love, di dolore, e lo ritrovavamo come lo avevamo lasciato: troppo pieno di bambini.

We go to the lift, a few seconds and we are on the third floor. Francesca simulates indifference behind the mask, but her eyes are too careful to look around to be really indifferent.

We enter directly into the ward, moving forward to the piano playroom, with our eyes fixed and ears deaf on that microphone that rattled off names and directions (and in my mind it echoed "Robert in k6″, "Robert in k13“); we stop in front of the head nurse's office and wait for Elsa.

Meanwhile, Remigius…

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Si, le emozioni sono tante. Non è semplice, per nulla facile! Però è il solo modo che abbiamo per tenere vivo il ricordo di Eugene, per trarre ancora insegnamento dalla sua giovane vita terrena.

Elsa arrives, we greet each other, we hug each other, our eyes speak to each other from above the masks. He walks briskly towards the Doctor's office and in the meantime Remigio arrives.

Qui i bambini, sono tanti, troppi. Sembrano sbucare da ogni dove; carrozzine, passeggini, sedie a rotelle, piedini che camminano con una hand attaccata al carrellino della flebo (non si sa se lo spingono o si sorreggono) e l’altra alla hand della mamma o del papà.

Funny hats, colored headbands, headbands full of bows, all to make those bald and extraordinarily shiny and perfect little heads even more beautiful.

Chi gioca con il tablet, chi con il telefonino, chi con giochini e libri di favole; tutti cercano di ingannare il tempo, l’attesa, come se fosse un giorno normale in un posto qualunque. Per motivi di privacy, e per rispetto, non abbiamo scattato foto del reparto; ogni vita merita di essere tutelata e salvaguardata da ogni forma di curiosità. Specie in questi momenti e in questi luoghi di speranza, di sofferenza, di love.

Here comes our Doctor! Kisses, hugs, big hugs, shining eyes; it's not easy for her either to see us here in the ward. The tiredness of a not exactly peaceful night is visible on her face, the weight of so many therapies to view, so many little faces and so many faces to reassure (and it's not always really like this).

It's around 11 and she's been on the ward since 8pm last night, after finishing the 8-14 shift

The hours spent here in the ward far exceed those spent in the family.

We talk about many things, time passes too quickly and she has to return to her mission (while we were talking her cell phone rang I don't know how many times, her colleague asked I don't know how many advice).

Elsa intanto rassicura una mamma che le chiede ragguagli.

Apriamo i borsoni, tra lo stupore e la gioia di entrambe. Su un carrello dei medicinali poggiamo tutti i doni che abbiamo portato; tutto ciò che VOI avete donato con love.

Sweets, storybooks, crayons, candy, crayons, board games, and the much desired patch remover spray! Yes, in our contacts with the playroom and with the head nurse we were asked to avoid games that the children, for obvious problems, could not have used (they have deposits full of soccer balls, difficult to use in the hospital) but to divert our resources on a product that was sure to bring joy and relief to little patients.

Patch remover spray, unobtainable article! Yes, the search for this product has taken us a long time. It seems that the article was not available in any pharmacy, medicine depot, and the like, in the national territory. We have involved everyone, from our country's pharmacist friend, to the online greats. Among other things, it is a product that is not exactly cheap, but very effective. And for children undergoing analyses, pics, pets and surgeries, being able to remove the protective plasters without feeling pain is already a great relief.

Elsa is delighted to take the various bottles and, satisfied, goes towards the medicine ward, "I will get them to all departments, so the children will be medicated without problems!".

Antonella, on the other hand, takes a book with Peppa Pig's detach-attachs from the trolley. “I immediately bring this to Giulia“. She goes out into the corridor and calls "Giulia!“. Arriva una bimbetta alta quanto un soldo di cacio, forse due anni, completamente calva e con le cicatrici sulla testa che ben conosciamo, con la manina in quella della mamma, prende l’album timidamente, e con gli occhi densi di dolore e il volto carico di sofferenze, ci saluta.

Giulia's face is that of the two hundred children who pass through this ward every day, and her joy is the one we would like each of them to feel.

I've said it and I'll say it again, each of us should tour a children's hospital at least once a year. This is to take a shower of humility and to thank God for the great gift of health and life. Everything else is more.

Un ultimo scambio di battute, la promessa di continuare periodicamente la nostra raccolta, occhi lucidi e tanto tanto love scambiato, ancora abbracci e baci con lo sguardo a tutti i super-eroi che ci sono vicino, che passano e attendono, e lasciamo il reparto.

Il cuore è talmente pieno di love, la mente è completamente piena delle parole, degli sguardi, che abbiamo ricevuto in dono, che usciamo dall’ospedale senza rendercene conto.

Greetings to our Madonnina and the volunteer from the Shop, a look at the toy library, the visit and a prayer in our beloved Chapel, and let's go.

Salviati chapel in OPBG
Salviati chapel in OPBG

It's noon! The Janiculum cannon fires its shot and all the bells of Rome are heard from the square. What heavenly music!

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Back in the camper we decide to move to Via Nuova Fornaci; the area is quieter, even if close to San Pietro, and with a little luck we can stay there for the next few days.

We have lunch with the provisions brought from home (for Francesca's pleasure, the infamous grandmother Tetta's cutlets and the potato cat) and rest waiting for the appointment with Alessandro Gisotti to Palazzo Pio.

the gift
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At 16.30 we are with Alessandro; information on the activities, exchange of hugs, stroll for a coffee, lots of smiles and lots of affection. We could spend hours with him, we would never have a problem with topics to talk about! He is truly one of the most beautiful-hearted people I know, whom we have the honor and pleasure of having as a friend!

Giuseppina, Francesca, Alessandro Gisotti and Remigio at Vatican News
Giuseppina, Francesca, Alessandro Gisotti and Remigio at the headquarters of Vatican News at Palazzo Pio

But you know, time is running out, and commitments are always many, especially for those in charge of the Vatican media.

How much ferment and how many emotions in this first Roman day. Our souls need to find peace, tranquility and what better place than this can give serenity?

We savored every minute of this evening, we needed it.

We wandered up and down the whole square, there were still many people in line to enter the Basilica and closing time was near. But anyway, we had promised each other, the visit tomorrow.

Francesca is hungry! The 11 years of her claim! And the McDonald's of Borgo Pio is too inviting to pass over.

Remigio and Francesca play at McDonald's
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Hamburger sandwich, fries, drink and some games at the interactive table put us back on track, indeed they make us feel completely tired of this day, so we decide to return to our beloved camper where the sweetest Lussy is waiting for us.

A good night in St. Peter's Square cannot be missed!

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We walk the kilometer and a half that separates Piazza San Pietro from the Fornaci public car park where our beloved Pio camper is parked.

Lussy is waiting for us, affectionate and sweet as always.

Francesca, Remigio and Lussy
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The Sanremo festival is underway and we begin to follow some songs, but sleep is looming…

Francesca regenerated after dinner at Mc! She has no intention of sleeping and she launches her idea of ​​“night in Rome” back into the limelight.

Roman night

From the various commercials on TV, we had learned that the program VivaRai2, led by Fiorello, in the week of Sanremo, would be broadcast in the evening (night) at the end of the festival.

It goes without saying that Francesca was willing to go to Via Asiago, to follow the last evening episode of the program live. Our pajamas and our tiredness were useless.

At half past midnight the alarm goes off! Faced with our no, Francesca bursts into tears and at that point what does Remigio do? She gets out of bed, changes, urges me to do the same and calls a taxi to go to the historic Rai headquarters.

Imagine Francesca's happiness!… and also the cold of the night!

We arrive in Via Asiago, it seems like day so many people are waiting to see the show live. No one feels sleepy or cold… a beautiful and healthy euphoria in the air makes us happy and carefree like our Francesca.

The thermometer shows 1 degree celsius.

One by one dancers, presenters, guests, actors come out, it's a riot of music and colors! What can I say, the show is wonderful and Fiorello is a fantastic showman!

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Infreddoliti, ma carichi di energia e love. Il sorriso di Francesca ci scalda.

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The gift 95
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We go on in this circus until 3.15 in the morning, then everything is silent and the cold reigns supreme. The taxi for the return is an oasis of warmth and finally at 4.00 we return to the Pio camper where the warmth of the stove welcomes us. Come on, everyone to bed at last.

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Saturday at the Vatican

Waking up on Saturday is calm, we got to rest well.

Rome welcomes us in all its beauty with a very sparkling air and a wonderful sun.

Our day is entirely dedicated to St. Peter's Basilica to visit it calmly and to attend Holy Mass.

All preceded by another wonderful encounter; at 11 we meet with Blessed Hair e con il piccolo Alessandro, suo son.

Even with Benedetta there is no shortage of arguments! From home adventures, school and sports activities of Alessandro and Francesca, the past that deserves to be shared, the new projects of work, so many things to tell that a whole day would not be enough. But the afternoon is pressing, Alessandro is impatient because he has a birthday party and we too have the Basilica waiting for us.

It is not easy to enter, the line is long even if it is flowing and, welcomed by the Swiss Guards, we finally enter!

What a charm! The eyes range and do not know where to rest; a sense of peace pervades us. We are together with hundreds of other pilgrims, visitors, but everywhere there is respect for the sacred place in which we find ourselves. We pause to admire Michelangelo's Pietà, the tomb of St. John Paul II, we enter the Chapel of the Most Holy in recollection. We go down to visit the tombs of the Popes, we are strongly moved in front of the tomb of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. And then again, the statue of St. Peter, the Chair of Peter, the central altar, the Museum of the treasure of St. Peter…

Time passes, but for us it is like having just entered. We realize we haven't had lunch, which is late in the afternoon. At 17.00 there is the evening mass at the altar of the Chair and we also decide to participate in the Rosary that precedes it.

It goes without saying that there is a lot of tiredness; in these Roman days we have traveled a long way, thousands of steps, but the sense of peace that one experiences inside the Basilica reconciles us with the whole world. I'm honest, my participation in mass was so heartfelt that I could have easily remained there, sitting on those wooden benches, until the following day. The homily is short but intense, the songs of the men's choir, the people in recollection, in short, a small taste of serenity.

We leave the Basilica definitively at around 6.30 pm. The outside cold is biting, a quick ride along Via Conciliazione and we decide to return to the camper for dinner and a well-deserved physical rest.

A beautiful telephone chat with our dear Enrichetta Offreda allows us to share all the emotions of these days right away, with the promise to return soon and dedicate an entire day to her and her delightful family.

A nice plate of pasta reconciles us with the earth, warm pajamas and the songs of Sanremo do the rest. At 10.30 pm we are asleep all four of us.

Is Sunday

Waking up to the sound of bells is beautiful; with the big bell of San Pietro it is wonderful. The air is freezing outside, Remigio and Lussy return frozen from their morning walk.

Francesca sleeps in the warmth, the heat from the stove warms her cot so much that she can sleep without the covers. The aroma of coffee wakes her up too and we get ready for breakfast.

Today's program includes participation in theAngelus of Pope Francis, at noon, and then I go home so it's not too late to allow Francesca to get ready for school on Monday.

We set up the camper well, put the crockery and clothes in place so that the return journey can then take place without damage, and we are ready to "get off" in St. Peter's Square.

Certain to be early, we set off calmly.

Arriving outside the Colonnade we notice many Police Forces, really many! And so many people in line, so many!

Ci avviciniamo ad un Carabiniere, per capire se ci fosse qualche evento particolare in Piazza, che ci era sfuggito, o cosa… Lui, sorridendo, ci dice che tutta quella gente è in attesa di entrare in Piazza San Pietro per l’Angelus! E che l’unico modo per accedere è quello!

On Sunday you can only enter by rigidly observing the queues that line Via della Conciliazione, and the gates of the Colonnade. All manned for ritual checks!

In short, since we were early, we have to walk very fast to be able to pass the controls and access the square before exiting through Pope Francis' window.

We make it, we have just entered, when a roar of joy rises and a small figure dressed in white looks out the open window. Even if we are very far away (and we have seen it very closely), it is always a great emotion! His words are balm for our souls, exhortations for peace, prayer for the "battered Ukraine", for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria... a thought for every difficult situation that this world is experiencing.

This is how our weekend can only end. With the great gift of the Holy Words of Pope Francis.

We recite the final prayer with him, welcome his blessing and greet him with enthusiasm together with the thousands of people who are with us.

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We leave: our four hearts remain in St. Peter's Square, between the mighty and loving arms of the colonnade, which, like the Lord, embraces everyone forever.

Avatar of Remigio Ruberto

Hi, I'm Remigio Ruberto, father of Eugenio. The love that binds me to Eugenio is timeless and spaceless.

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