I am back from my trip to meet my sister. Being with her was extraordinary. It was almost a replay of when I saw her for the first time when I was five: a bit shy, but bonded. Such joy to hug her and be hugged by her. The next day we began talking and didn’t stop. My Italian wasn’t adequate, but fortunately enough of my German came back for us to understand each other. Dagmar talked about our mother leaving when she was four, there is a photograph of her from that day and she looks so sad. I told her how sorry I was that this had happened to her. Her eyes filled with tears and she put her arms around me. There was a shift in her posture, a relaxation I saw and felt. I believe it opened up the conversation. Dagmar told me that she saw our mother five times in her life, that our mother never spoke to her about leaving her, and that on one occasion she gave her a hundred lira.
Dagmar often talked about how blessed she was with her daughter, Ari. She said that her house was always full of children, and how Giorgio, my niece’s boy comes round with his friends. The sense of family at their house was so strong and they embraced me, and my husband wholeheartedly. Family meals, two sisters, two husbands, a niece and a great nephew, were like being in an Italian movie. I had this wonderful feeling of acceptance with them—something I never felt with my mother and stepfather—as we constantly raised our glasses and clinked them together, shouting “Famiglia, famiglia.” I was blessed to be with them, such an honor. We speak every week. I miss her terribly and wish I didn’t have to wait until next year to see her again.