Just Keep Eating

I have no idea if this story is actually true, as I heard it second hand about a friend of my mom’s.  That being said, the story has always been presented to me as though it is true, and it always makes me smile, true or not.  Take it with a grain of salt, perhaps, but enjoy.

One of my mom’s friends was living in Italy several years ago.  For the sake of simplicity, let’s call her “Teresa”.  Teresa was close friends with a local family, and often attended dinner at their house.  For anyone who doesn’t know, a formal family dinner in an Italy can take hours, as there are a ton of different courses.  One evening, during one of these long dinners, Teresa noticed that the matriarch of the family, the old grandmother she was sitting next to, kept leaving the table.  She’d get up, go to the kitchen, bring out a course of food and, once she’d made sure everyone was served, she would leave the table while everyone else was eating.  After about fifteen minutes, the grandmother would come back and eat her own food.  This process repeated for several courses, and finally, Teresa asked the woman what was going on.

“I noticed you keep getting up from the table,” said Teresa.  “Is everything okay?”

“My husband,” the grandmother replied.  “The old man… he is sick.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” Teresa said, and she let the subject drop.

And dinner continued.  After several more courses, the grandmother stopped leaving the table.  Teresa leaned over to the grandmother again.

“You’re staying at the table,” Teresa said to her.  “Is your husband feeling better?”

“No,” the grandmother said.  She made a slashing gesture with her hand across her throat, and replied “Morto.”

That translates to “he is dead”.  Teresa was distraught.

“Oh my God!” she said, “we have to do something!”

The grandmother, without missing a beat, replied.

“The old man… he was sick.  Now he is dead.  What can you do?  Just keep eating!”

And every time I feel like the world is overwhelming me, I just think of that Italian grandmother, and repeat her words like a mantra.

What can you do?  Just keep eating.

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