"The eyes of God upon my people"

Forty-five coffins instead of pews in a parish in Bergamo. The story of a journalist called to recount the drama of his people: "You are not alone, you are not abandoned...".

I work as a journalist for a television station in Bergamo, and we are now at the center of the “Coronavirus tornado”. Bombarded by countless figures, initiatives, angry or desperate emails, fear and colleagues who complain about things that are wrong, it is really difficult not to slip into cynicism or into the protagonism of "teachers", explaining what to do and what not to do.

A few days ago, my boss called me to ask if I was willing to go out and do a report with a camera (which is not to be taken for granted given the situation and the climate of fear) because there is a parish where they take the bodies of the dead before taking them to the crematorium, and "something strange is happening there". I decided to go and, on my arrival, they explained to me that the coffins were not piled up in a warehouse, as had been done previously, but taken to the church to be blessed and that the priest would pray, accompanying (in place of family members who cannot leave the house) the dead on their last journey. A gesture of piety and faith that should not be taken for granted.

Then, I entered and my heart stopped. I had 45 coffins in front of me, instead of church pews. Some labelled with the names of the deceased, others anonymous. I could not deal with it and I began to cry. While I was filming with my camera, I recited prayers and tears fell from my eyes. "These are my people”, I thought: "My people, my people." I tried to be discreet, respectful with the images, professional. But the pain was great.

I went back to the editorial office and I found myself in front of the blank computer screen. I did not know what to write. I was empty. I was reminded of a nurse friend of ours who works in the intensive care unit of the Papa Giovanni Hospital in Bergamo and who called us to tell us about her desperation in seeing the "old people die alone, in an empty room, abandoned". A friend of mine had replied to her: "They are not alone, you are watching them, God is watching them with your eyes". I then understood what I was interested in recounting and I began the "article" with these words: "You are not alone, you are not abandoned...".

Read also - "What am I missing by staying home?"

Returning home, in a deserted city, I thought about what had happened to me and I sent a message to our nurse friend to thank her because, thanks to her and that dialogue, I find myself more human.

Luigi, Bergamo, Italy