Once, there was a girl named Amore. She looked a little tomboy with her short, golden hair and blue eyes. She lived a carefree life between her family, friends, school, the beach, and her dogs — a normal, happy life.

One morning though, everything changed. Amore was told upon waking that her mother would never return home.

“Why?!” asked Amore in absolute horror.

“Your mother is dead. She’s with God now,” replied the firm voice.

The brutal announcement made Amore feel like the sky had fallen down. You never expect the sky to fall down, the sky is always where it is meant to be.

And that’s exactly how Amore felt about her mother. Hadn’t her mother always been where she was meant to be? Not anymore. Amore was numb.

Soon after the announcement Amore was sent to her grand-parents’ home. When she reached there, everybody was crying, screaming, sobbing, and the telephone was ringing, non-stop. Amore and her siblings kept to themselves in a corner of a room, hiding in fear and confusion of what was happening.

In the months that followed their mother’s death, they all moved to their Babcha’s (Grandmother, in Polish) home. Babcha would now take care of them. Amore couldn’t grasp that her mother was gone. She would see something on TV that she knew her mother would be interested in and go to the phone to dial her number before reality hit her. It was as though the brain would not accept that her mother was gone forever. Her mother kept turning up in her dreams. More upsetting were the dreams in which Amore knew her mother was dead in her world and she’d try and beg her to come back.

At night, Amore clung to her Babcha, sleeping in her bed, wrapping her legs around her like a little monkey for security. Eighteen months later, Babcha was diagnosed with ‘general cancer’ and she, too, left, suddenly and brutally. This time Amore didn’t shed a tear, no signs of sadness were expressed; instead, however, rage, fear and insecurity were boiling inside of her. From this moment on, Amore decided to safeguard her heart with a thick, brick wall so nobody would harm or enter it, she thought. Little did she know how well her name ‘Amore’ (Love, in Italian) suited her and would become the blueprint for her life’s quest.

A few months later, her father re-married. Amore and her siblings became a new version of the Cinderella story. Harshness, threats, verbal abuse and punishments were over-ruling in the new family set-up. Distance was the solution for the newly married couple. Amore’s step-mother was as wicked to her as Cinderella’s step-mother. Her way was to divide in order to rule, and so Amore and her siblings were sent off to boarding school abroad. Even forty years later, isolating Amore and her siblings from their father, depriving them of basic, the basic human nourishment called love remained the step-mother’s way.

Year after year in between these forty years, Amore grew weaker and thinner, internally and externally, with serious symptoms of famine. She was skin and bones, left to starve.

Amore became so hungry that to anyone who found her pretty, or funny, or intelligent, generous, sexy, anything… she’d barter herself, in exchange for some nourishment.

When there was no food left or none to satisfy her taste buds, Amore moved to the next restaurant and to the next. She found herself even at times breaking into homes, stealing left overs from the family dining table, like a thief in the night. Nobody understood her behavior and she was severely criticized. She wasn’t aware of her behavior and shed many tears when she was reprimanded or judged for it. Her behavior became a habit, her coping mechanism to survive the world, despite destroying herself and others on the way. Amore’s heart was empty and the void was becoming deeper and deeper.

To cut a long story short, Amore started to introspect, and awareness started to dawn on her. She believed that feeling adequately supported whilst having such a chronic illness would definitely have a long-lasting impact on her life. She was committed to changing her life in a positive way that would fulfill her. She decided to seek help from doctors to heal her hunger issues that had now become a cancer, taking her over completely.

In her search, Amore hopped from ‘doctor’ to ‘doctor’, ‘healer’ to ‘healer’, ‘expert’ to ‘expert’, and stopped only when she finally met a true doctor, healer, and expert, a master specialist that had the perfect scalpel to remove all the metastases — this  cancer of lacking that had spread throughout her.

“To treat malnutrition of love,” said Amore’s master specialist, “It’s important to address it at its source. Firmly believe in yourself, let go of all insecurities, love yourself deeply and I will prescribe you a devotional template.”

“That sounds simple, but where do I start, doctor? How do I do it?”

The specialist smiled at Amore in His gentle and calming way and continued…

To be continued…

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Chantal Om Espitalier-Noel

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