Features

“Life gave me lemons, so I made lemonade”

Features

“Life gave me lemons, so I made lemonade”

4 months ago
By Alessandra Bertocco

Summer 2013. Ten days to my finals. A whole summer of freedom, full of fun, choices to make, my whole future ahead of me: gig tickets in my pocket; ten days to the seaside planned; a trip around London and Paris coming up and then, I’ll be ready to leave the nest, to go to the city of my dreams, the city that never sleeps, the city that is always running, the city of theatre, stages, performances, art: my beloved London.
Everything was perfect.

© Kosal Ley/Unsplash

Ten days to my finals and my brother dies.

My whole world collapses. My plans are blown away. I need to take care of my family, but I just stand there, watching it falling apart. I become a ghost, incapable of feelings, incapable of dreams. I’m hollow. I think I have nothing. I feel guilty. I feel like I am stealing my brother’s life.
The hollowness goes on, and on, and on for days, months, years. I cry sometimes. Locked in my room. Silently. Alone. There’s a part of me that has died with him. I am a ghost but I am still alive. Home is not home anymore. Family is not family anymore.

Life gave me lemons, so I made lemonade

But, during one of my sleepless night, digging down, down, in the depth of my heart I find hope.
So, I do what I had always wanted to do. Because, after all, I am a dreamer. I move to London. I get into Uni, excited and thrilled.
Is that my happy ending? No. Not at all. It is the beginning. One day I wake up and I can’t get out of my bed. A blue fog surrounds me. It is everywhere and it won’t let me breathe. My heart breaks at every beat. I meet my new best friend. Her name is Depression, and she won’t let me go. She won’t let me enjoy my city, my beloved Literature, she won’t let me write my stories. She allows me to fake smiles. Every now and then she let me laugh. But she’s always there, in the shadow, waiting to snap her fingers and break me.
Depression is vicious, selfish, strong and seductive. I have it. It is the little voice in my head that tells me that I don’t deserve to be here. That I don’t deserve to exist. It is the enormous monster that only I can see, but still I am alive. I go to the theatre. I meet amazing people. I see marvellous things. I have dreams.

© Alan Labisch/Unsplash

What did I learn during my first year of Uni?
Well, a lot. Maybe not everything about Swift, Pope and Joyce.
But I learnt that silent grief is excruciating, and loud. Deafening.
I have also learnt that bereavement makes us selfish, especially if the person who dies is someone’s brother, son, husband, father and friend. It makes us selfish because we think that no one is suffering like us. The truth is we are all suffering. It also makes us mean, sometimes we would like every single soul in the planet to feel what we are feeling.
I’ve learnt I’ll carry this with me forever. Some days are going to be better than others, but it will be forever. But I know I’ll carry on, because I know that it’s ok not to be always ok. I’ll carry on because I am still alive, and I have amazing things to do.

Life gave me lemons, so I made lemonade.