“He always wants to tell how he was eating risotto alla Milanese, and how he couldn’t finish because we had to yank him from the table to escape because everything was turning upside down,” Urru recalled in a telephone interview.
To this day, she hasn’t served the saffron rice dish at home. “I can’t bring myself to cook it,” she said, breaking into tears.
Maria Papa has another sort of flashback trigger: She was in her church in Wallingford, Conn. one day last spring when she looked around at the pews and “all I saw were people’s heads and life jackets” — a memory of the scene inside Giglio's church where she, her daughter and hundreds of other survivors spent the night after the evacuation.
In one pew that day in Connecticut, she said, she thought she saw Dayana Arlotti, the 5-year-old Italian girl who was the youngest victim of the Concordia, killed along with her father. Her body wasn’t found until Feb. 22 — nearly six weeks after the grounding.
“I think of that little girl all the time, wondering how scared she was — and to die like that?” Papa said. “I cannot get this out of my head, and being a mother, I never will.”
Papa’s daughter, Melissa Goduti, was also on the ship celebrating her Jan. 12 birthday. She doesn’t experience flashbacks. She simply can’t stand being in malls or casinos anymore: too many people, too many floors, too few exits, just like the ship that night.
She said she couldn’t go to the Giglio anniversary even if she wanted to, having taken a 55 percent cut in her marketing commissions because of the time off she has needed for medical appointments.
She said she understood the closed anniversary commemorations: “They owe it to the individuals and their families who did pass away.”
Sunday’s commemorations, which are being organized by the Giglio municipal government with Costa’s support, begin shortly after dawn. The huge rock that pierced the Concordia’s hull and remained embedded in its mangled steel is being returned to the reef where it belongs, along with a plaque.
The local bishop will celebrate a Mass in the island’s tiny church where many survivors spent the night, and rescue teams will be honored. A memorial in honor of the 32 dead will be unveiled. After an evening concert, a minute of silence will mark the exact moment, 9:45 p.m., when the Concordia ran aground.
And the Ananias family will be far away — dealing with their trauma.
Daughter Cindy, a pre-dental student, dreams she’s constantly walking on a tilt; the family clawed their way up nearly vertical hallways — walls that became floors and floors that became walls — as they tried to find a lifeboat in the dark.
Her father, Dean Ananias feels guilty, wondering why his family survived. Mother Georgia is desperate to find the Argentine family from Mallorca they met during the evacuation. At one horrible moment, when the ship began to roll, the Mallorca father handed Georgia his three-year-old daughter, apparently thinking she could better care for the baby as they all struggled to keep themselves upright.
Georgia held the baby for some time. But at a certain point, as the ship listed violently, the baby began to slip from her grasp — and she handed the infant back.
She assumes the family survived, since no one matching their description figured on the list of 32 dead. But she hasn’t seen or heard from them.View Entire Story
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