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Widowed mother of three hired in place of husband who died of COVID-19

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Ian Dyball | Shutterstock
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The town knows each other and helps each other.

Even today there are people who do good in silence, without chasing the spotlight. Many have died during this pandemic, even relatively young members of the work force. This has deprived their families of their fundamental emotional and economic support.

Widowed with three children

Among those who have died is a 54-year-old Italian mechanic, Erminio Misiani, who died on March 25, leaving behind his wife, Michela Arlati, and three children aged 20, 16 and 14. During the first days of mourning, Michela received many gestures of solidarity from her neighbors and friends in their town of Monza e Brianza near Milan in northern Italy, where the family lives.

Michela told local news outlet Il Messaggero, “There are no words to thank the whole community for all the good they have done for us. I hope that all the other families who found themselves in our situation may also have received all that we have.”

“Anyone in a situation like this would have done the same.”

A great gesture of human kindness passed in silence, veiled by the discretion of the protagonists and the uproar of news about the many deaths caused by COVID-19. Michela, despite her sorrow, had immediately informed the company her husband had been working for since the 1980s, Lei Tsu (an Italian textile company, named after a Chinese empress associated with silk production), that Erminio had died.

The following morning she was contacted by her husband’s employer, Benedetto, who manages the textile company with his siblings Cecilia and Pietro Terragni. He was calling to tell her that if she was interested, they would be happy to offer her a job at the company. It was a decision they made as a family, including the siblings’ father Marco, who still closely follows the company he built.

Pietro explained the decision to the news outlet Merate Online:

“It seemed normal to us. I think anyone in a situation like this would have done the same. Bellusco is a small town. We all know each other and help each other… We already knew Erminio’s wife and we didn’t hesitate at all. We’ve formalized the contract and in the next few weeks she’ll start working.”

It’s a simple gesture of generosity that will allow this widow, crushed by grief over the sudden loss of her husband, to look to the future with more hope and greater peace for herself and their children.

Michela told Il Messaggero,

“It’s difficult for us to adequately express our gratitude to the whole community: from our family to our friends, from the administration to the local police to all the people of Belluno, and not only them. Our pain for the loss of Erminio is truly immense, but it’s a cross that we’re able to bear thanks to the help of many ‘Simons of Cyrene.’ We don’t even know if we deserve all this.”

Michela began work at Lei Tsu on June 1. We can only imagine her feelings as she takes her first steps in the places where the earthly impact of her beloved Erminio is still present and alive.

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