A woman's hair is blowing in the wind.

GriefSPEAK: A life of sighs, cont. – Mari Nardolillo Dias

By: Mari Nardolillo Dias 

Daniella 2022 (excerpt from “Life of Sighs” by Mari Dias. Cont’d) 

After decades of searching, always one step behind her throughout the entire continent of Europe, I finally found my Zia Frankie. I wonder if she knows that Mother suicided. I’m thinking as identical twins she must have experienced a shift in the earth’s gravity. Perhaps the Earth’s axis tilted a bit. Felt like she lost a limb. Something. 

I miss Zia, more since mother’s choice to be swallowed up by Narragansett Bay. I booked a red eye flight from Boston with a layover in Montreal and then landing in Brussels. Fortunately, the Béguinage in Bruges where Zia Frankie is staying is only an hour by train from Brussels. There is no need to book a hotel. I’ll stay with Zia. I won’t let her out of my sight again. I understand that she is ill, which is about the only thing that could stop her from moving. I will nurse her back to health. 

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. Nothing is keeping me here. I am proactive and make an appointment with my PCP. Leaving no stone unturned. Wish I had. She completes her examination, shows concern and refers me for a CAT scan. “Better to be safe than sorry”, she tsked. I went. They referred me for an MRI and then on to an ultrasound with contrast while performing an endoscopy. I am not worried, just aggravated. After all I don’t have any symptoms. And if you knew my PCP you would understand how thorough and paranoid she is. Afraid she will miss something. A young newbie who is paranoid and afraid of getting sued. You know how it is. 

It seems this time she didn’t. Miss anything that is. Two days before my flight I was told I’m going to die. “Well, of course everyone is going to die,” said I. 

“Not within a month or less,” she responded. 

This diagnosis couldn’t have come at a worse time. Luckily, it is too late for any treatment, so I close up the house, call an Uber, and head for Logan airport. 


Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.

She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to: