#4 Emanuela Mirabelli, Managing Photo Editor of Marie Claire Italy (Italy)
My name is Emanuela Mirabelli and I am a managing photo editor at Marie Claire Italy. My 80 year-old mother is a theatre actress, singer and painter. I like to call her a child prodigy who kept her promises, an artist expressing herself in different disciplines and whose art knows no boundaries or, simply, I could say that my mother lives a creative life in a completely normal way, within a community of equally creative people: in other words she lives in a nursing home. Due to Coronavirus, I wasn’t allowed to go visit her long before the total lockdown was announced. The structure she lives in has decided to apply strenuous virus containment measures: nobody except doctors and nurses were and still are allowed to enter, everyone else is working from home. All the activities the residents do with external staff, as in most RSA (entertainment, mnemonic and physical exercise, theatre therapy, art therapy and music therapy – which finally revealed my mother’s artistic talent) have been suspended. Last time I saw her was more than a month ago. I had to request an appointment and stick to the time allotted to me; at the entrance, they measured my temperature, and only then were we permitted to speak separated by a table, at a distance of one meter and wearing gloves and masks. Aside from all that, it was a completely normal meeting. The nursing home now provides a Skype service to help relatives stay in touch with residents. My mother was filled with doubts: “ But, with Skype you can see me and I can see you?” When we finally saw each other, she said: “How wonderful!” with so much enthusiasm that I was moved. We talked for a while, and then she added: “It feels like we’re just sitting together, talking in the kitchen!” I don’t want to complain that I can’t see my mother, I know that keeping her safe and sound is the priority. I try not to wonder about when I’ll be able to see her again, because it’s impossible to know. She doesn’t refer to the issue either, it’s like an unspoken agreement. Just sometimes, I have this image in my mind of a locked facility for very delicate little birds, and it fills me with tenderness and dismay.