In Memory of Claudio
LETTER FROM CLAUDIO’S WIFE, BIMBA
My Dearest Putchy
If a wish was granted to me for anything, I would wish one more day with you, one more time with you. One more sunset Putchy and I will be satisfied – but then again, I know what it would do, it would leave me wishing, one more day with you. One more day, one more time with you and I would hold you for every second and tell you a million times “I Love You.”
I cannot believe you are no longer with us. This is the hardest thing in my life that I am having to go through. You were torn away from me and all of us unexpectedly and in a flash without a sign, symptom, warning and not even a second chance! How and why did this happen to you? You were never allowed to die, you were too big to die, too full of life, laughter, energy and love. You filled every room and every empty space – You, larger than life, touched so many hearts in more ways than one. We were meant to get old together and see the sun rise and the sun set at our beautiful retirement home – our special place of solace. I don’t want to carry on without you – I want to be with you. Please help me! So why you? It should have been me as you would have been able to handle it better than I can! It worried me that you might have felt pain or fear before you died but the doctor said you had no idea what happened, that’s how quick it was – just like ‘switching a light off’ and that, I am grateful for. After trying to resuscitate you, I realised that if you had come by and there would have been some or other problem/complication with you, like paralysed one side of your body, or something wrong with your brain, etc., you would not have forgiven me because that is what you would never have wanted – to be dependant or a burden on others. Also ..... you never had a good sense of direction, I was always the navigator when we always went places together – you never went on your own - when you died would you find where to go? That bothered me but I know, there is only one road for you and that is straight to heaven!
Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven? Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven? I must be strong and carry on because I know I will be soon with you in heaven. Would you hold my hand if I saw you in heaven? Would you help me stand if I saw you in heaven? I find my way through night and day ‘cause I know I will soon be with you in heaven. Beyond the door, there is you and I know there won’t be more tears in heaven!
People say with time it gets better – that’s not true, it actually gets worse because the numb stage is over and now reality has set in – I look at your clothing every day just waiting for you to fill them especially your ‘farmer Brown’ shorts, your running shoes and your food-stained t-shirts (remember how I always teased you saying you wore your menu on your t-shirt) and then realise you are no longer coming home, you are no longer here – I will never see you, hear you, touch you, feel you again - you are physically not here! How can I grasp or understand that after being with you for 29 years? People also say I will “get there” - I am not sure where “there” is. Putchy, I can never be the same person as I was before .... I need you by my side. I died the day you died.
Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you – that is how I know you, go on.............Far across the distance and spaces between us, you have come to show you, go on......... Near, far, wherever you are, I believe that the heart does go on. Once more you opened the door and you are here in my heart and my heart will go on and on. Now our touch just one more time will last a lifetime and never let go - You are here, there is nothing I fear, and I know my heart will go on. We will stay forever this way. You are safe in my heart.. In my life we will always go on – Near, far wherever you are, I believe that the heart does go on.
Thank You ........ We were only nineteen when we met, that is nearly 30 years ago and now recently (27 July) married for twenty-five years. Thank you for all those wonderful years and fantastic holidays we spent together and the beautiful memories that go with them – something no-one can take away from us. Thank you for our sons Giuliano and Armando whom I would not be able to cope without. Thank you for the special loveable person you were, for your love, your laughter, joy, happiness, your jokes that you loved so much and the warmth you filled our lives with. Thank you for all your hard work over the years and everything you were able to provide us with and for leaving us in a position where we have nothing to worry about. Thank you for the twenty-two years you spent building up and perfecting Lucio’s Pizzeria - we have huge shoes to fill! Thank you for the wonderful relationships you built with families, friends, customers and staff throughout the years – they have showed so much loyalty to you and us by supporting us emotionally, psychologically and businesswise, since your passing. Thank you for always being my strong support and pillar of strength in the corporate world, throughout all my years of studying and finally ending with an MBA, allowing me to pursue my hobbies such as mosaic and stained glass work of which our home and the pizzeria is full of and my nature course and being there for me after climbing Kilimanjaro with Armando and friends. Without you I would never have done this – you are the wind beneath my wings.
Thank you for always being around me since your passing – I can feel you and know you are with me. When I am in a terribly emotional state, someone will phone me or send a sms. I know it is you that got them to do that. You are always on my mind and I talk to you all the time and I thank you for giving me those signs to show me that you are close by. Thank you .... that keeps me going. I cannot wait to be with you - I feel my time is nearly done.
I will remember you, will you remember me? Don’t let your life pass you by, weep not for the memories. You gave me everything you had, oh, you gave me life. Clearly when I first saw you smiling in the sun, how I feel your warmth upon me and know I won’t be alone. I’m so tired I can’t sleep, standing on the edge is something too deep. Funny how we feel so much, but cannot say a word – we are screaming inside but cannot be heard. I will remember you, will you remember me?
Miss You ........... I miss everything about you Putchy, to mention but a few, I miss your snoring and the mess you made in the kitchen when you cooked food or came home from work late at night making your ‘snack’. I miss the loud TV and your laughter and you practically falling off your chair from laughing so much. I miss the Grand Prix on TV and the shouts, screams and foul language coming from you because Ferrari did something stupid or someone did something unfairly to Ferrari. I miss your teasing and sense of humour, the jokes you told and the love and laughter you had for your own jokes. I miss our ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ kisses, even if we only went around the block, those kisses were always due. I miss your playing with the ‘fluppers’. I miss us calling oneanother “Putchy.” We must be the only couple in the world with the same nickname for each other.
I can only imagine what it would be like when I walk by your side. I can only imagine what my eyes would see when your face is before me. I can only imagine surrounded by your glory what my heart would feel. I can only imagine...
I miss our many phone calls to oneanother during the day just to find out where we were or what we were doing or just to say “Love You” or jokingly “Love you just a little bit”. You always said I thought you were my hobby because I always had to speak to you and know what you were doing but as I always said to you it is simply because I love you so much – I am addicted to you! I miss coming home to your cooked dinners and you phoning me to find out how good it was. I miss coming home and finding my favourite chocolates next to the phone because you knew that when I got back from work, the first thing I would do is phone you - or I would find chocolates underneath my pillow and obviously I would phone you again to thank you and chat some more. I miss you forgetting my birthday (even though we would chat many times during that day) and then I would come home to a house filled with flowers, fluffy toys and lots of birthday cards filled with special messages. I miss you always remembering our wedding anniversary and you always arranging a special dinner with our boys, close friends and lots of flowers.
Show me a light ahead, the future isn’t clear. When the next step isn’t clear I close my mind, shuffle it by the way. All the fight has gone from this wounded heart. I close my eyes and remember when your sweet love filled this empty room. The hours I cried won’t bring you back again, lest the stars should fall from the sky. I call on you to feel my heart in need of love, that needs love and maybe you can mend this broken heart of mine. When the light hits the gloom of the day, you become the light on the dark side of me. Putchy, there is so much I can tell you, so much I can say. You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain. Did you know that when it is dark, my eyes are bright by the light that you shine?
Why? ...... You have been away a few times before just you and a friend, but why this time when you were in Monza (Sept. 08), every time I came home or was at home, I kept saying to myself that this is how quiet the house will be when you die? Why, when I came home from work and found you sleeping in your chair in front of the TV, I would look at you and say to myself that this is what you will look like when you die – so quiet, so relaxed and so peaceful as if you were sleeping? – and that is what you looked like. Why, in January this year I said to you and our boys that we must all say ‘thank you’ because everything has fallen into place – we have a lovely family, we have our health, our two beautiful homes, the successful pizzeria, you teaching Armando more about the pizzeria, Giuliano starting a new job in the corporate world straight after completing his studies and I have a career in the corporate world with a lot of opportunities ahead of me? Why, for the three days before you died and also that Thursday evening before you left for work, I kept on telling you that we must get all the paperwork for the properties in order and have to make sure that the will is also in order? Why, did I always tell you to enjoy life, spend your money that you worked so hard for and enjoy it because you cannot take it with you when you die - in fact, I had to force you to go to Monza? Why, when we kissed oneanother ‘goodbye’ on that Thursday evening before you left for work, I noticed very dark circles around your eyes which were not normally there (the same circles I noticed on a guy some years ago shortly before he died) Your face did not look the same to me – can’t explain myself? Why, when you left the house for work that Thursday evening through the back door and threw the keys back in (like we always did), just that this time before I picked them up I said to myself this seems so final – we must not do that again? Why, did we both phone oneanother countless times that evening before ten pm just to talk about everything and anything? Why, did we both say that if one of us died, we must give a sign to show that we are near/around? Why, when you coughed, I always said that I did not like that cough, there is to see a doctor and you would say ‘Are you scared I am going to die?’ and my reply would always be ‘Yes, I am scared of that’? Why, why, why .......we will never know!
It might be over but it won’t stop there, I am here for you. You touched my heart, you touched my soul, you changed my life, you know my goals. Love is blind, that I know – my heart was blinded by you. You kissed my lips, held your hand, you shared my bed, shared your dreams. I know you well, I am addicted to you. Goodbye my Putchy, goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend, you have been the only one for me. As you move on, remember me. Remember us and all the ‘used-to-be’. I’ve seen you cry, I’ve seen you smile, I have watched you sleeping for a while. I have been your wife, lover and friend for twenty-five years and the mother of your two sons. I have spent twenty-nine years which is a life-time with you. I know your fears and you know mine. We have had our doubts but we were always fine. I love you, I cannot live without you. Goodbye my Putchy, goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend – you have been the only one for me and I still hold your hand and cry in my sleep. I am so hollow Putchy, so hollow and lost without you my man. When I am without you, I lose control. I am not the same person I used to be. I will always love you.Goodbye my Putchy, goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend.
Be with you soon.
Eternally yours. Bimba (13 August 2009)
REMEMBRANCE OF CLAUDIO - FATHER IN LAW'S LETTER
Father in law's letter, Ferruccio Coralini - 13 August 2010
REMEMBERING CLAUDIO Nobody can or will ever forget him. I am his father-in-law, but for me he was the son I never had, needless to say that I loved him like a father loves his son. We had a very special relationship. He was always full of brio (life), generous, respectful and always laughing. All family parties/functions were held at his home, special events like my 75th birthday was an occasion that I will never forget - Thank you Claudio and Bimba. Cruel Destiny. He is gone - gone are all the family reunions at his home. His wife, my daughter Bimba is not coping well at all, by losing her companion. We trust time will help her, we are all so sad. His passing was the biggest tragedy in our lives. We are a very large family – myself, six daughters, all married and thirteen grandchildren. “Claudio, you left this life, entering a mysterious unknown dimension, that we mortal creatures cannot comprehend. Religion and belief try to help us, but to no avail. All that remains for me, in my humble Italian way, I will always treasure my memories of you son. CIAO CLAUDIO
LIFE STORY OF CLAUDIO - in a nutshell...
- Born in Rome Italy 13 August 1960
- Came to South Africa when he was one year old and lived in Carletonville.
- Has an older brother Fabrizio living in Mauritius, younger sister Chantal living in Rome.
- Patricia his eldest sister and both his parents have passed on.
- Matriculated 1978 at Christian Brothers College in Pretoria where he was a boarding scholar.
- He excelled in long-distance running, chess Olympiads, 1st team rugby and pipe band.
- Went to Durban University and studied BA
- Met his wife Bimba when he was twenty years old and married in 1984 at the age of 24 and have two sons Giuliano (25) and Armando (22).
- Was a shareholder and worked in the Merlo family business Carlton Concrete Works (manufacturers of concrete pipes and culverts) then moved on and became a shareholder and worked in the Coralini (his wife’s) family business (sanitaryware, tiles, plumbing & building materials)
- Moved to Northcliff and bought Lucio’s Pizzeria (Blackheath) in 1987.
- He has been there ever since and over the years has grown the pizzeria from a seven table pizzeria to a 140 seater Italian restaurant as it is today.
- Claudio always loved and had a keen interest in cars - especially Ferrari. He owned his own Ferrari Dino at the age of twenty three and since then he always had an executive car parked at home from Ferrari, Porsche, Alfa’s, Maserati, etc to name but a few.
- Claudio also loved his sport and board games as well as funny movies and sitcoms especially ‘Friends’. He enjoyed evenings with his friends playing poker. Loved playing chess and backgammon with friends and customers. Loved playing card and board games with his family.
- Enjoyed a game of squash and tennis.
- Every year that he owned the pizzeria, he would always close the pizzeria over the festive season in December for two weeks and take his family away locally or overseas. Claudio has travelled to Italy, Mauritius, UK, Australia, Pangkor Laut in Malaysia, Dubai, Seychelles, Malta, Taormina in Sicily, Sardinia, Maldives, Zanzibar, Serengeti, Malawi, Victoria Falls in Zambia, Mozambique, Cancun.
- A few months before his passing, he took part in the Ferrari Day at Kyalami and raced around the track and also went to Monza to watch the Grand Prix. Claudio never ever missed a Grand Prix - he was Ferrari-mad!
- Had a beautiful home built in Mpumalanga in the bush which overlooks a dam - a very beautiful setting, very peaceful and tranquil – to retire to one day. Spent two weeks there in December 2008 for the first time after it was completed.
- A brutal tragedy, Claudio died from a fatal clot to the lung (Pulmonary Embolism) in his restaurant on the evening of 08 January 2009. There was no sign, no symptom, no warning – just like switching a light off.
- Claudio has built up Lucio’s Pizzeria to what it is today through hard work and family sacrifice. This restaurant is his gift to Bimba, Giuliano and Armando and his legacy must live on.