I expected a premonition, the way storms announce themselves a few days ahead of their visit. If something is going to happen to us, to any of us, I would know, I could prevent it, I thought. I could always sense a storm coming, Mother's letters, Father's moods. If you had not called for a while, I sensed something was going on in your life, and I knew I could pull the issues out of you.
But I had no premonition of your last moments. No premonition and no worries about your life.
You were smart; polite. Most importantly, you liked people; you got along with everyone.
Though you were raised in an affluent neighborhood, full of professionals, artists and artisans, your sense of who you were was not that of a privileged child. You were a hands-on problem solver, an inventor, interested in lots of things, open to possibilities, not afraid to meet people who were not like you, not afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.
When you were eleven you spend a month visiting with your uncle Luigi in Italy. You took a list of possible phrases with you and looked forward to the adventure of learning new things. You returned speaking Italian! How did you do it?
Your father saw himself in you. You were slim as he used to be at your age; you were smart and curious and gravitated toward the hard stuff. You reminded him of himself in so many ways.
Your thriftiness, pragmatism, helpful ways reminded me of my own childhood.
I had met so many children for whom I feared the worst future.
I only saw loving and exciting moments in your future.