For years I observed Dimitra, the mother of 4-year-old Melina Paraskaki, in the courtrooms and in the corridors of the courts. I would venture to say that her presence was always heartbreakingly subtle. A petite girl who was suddenly changed and matured by pain. Quiet, noble, introverted, sad…In contrast to Manos, her husband, who shouldered and communicated the entire weight of this tragic case, Dimitra remained silent and always out of the public eye. Manos the voice, Dimitra the silence. It wasn’t just the pain of unspeakable loss. She was lost too. She had lost herself.

Almost eight years later, Dimitra found the courage to open her heart and share through Cretalive, thoughts, feelings, situations… The fullness of time. “Now I’m ready,” she said, awaiting the decision of the Three-member Court of Misdemeanors of Eastern Crete. It was more like a soul deposition than an interview. For several moments she could not hold back her tears and I could feel, at intervals, the knot in her throat.

Dimitra was born and raised in Sweden. She came to Crete and specifically to Neapolis permanently in 2010 when she decided that Manos was the man of her life. In 2011 she gave birth to their twin daughters, Elli and Melina. Her joy was indescribable, despite the difficulties with two babies in her arms. When they were now four years old and started kindergarten, she felt that their lives had started to get in order since she too could work.

But their happiness did not last long. He remembers the morning of the fatal operation like it was yesterday. Melina was crying a lot, she didn’t want to go into the operating room for the operation. Her parents were trying to reassure her. They had brought along toys and coloring markers. “Here, we’ll paint here when you get out of bed and come to the room” they told her. But the child continued to cry. A nurse took her in his arms allegedly to show her the Christmas tree. They went inside. The door closed. End. Tears run down Demeter’s cheeks. “I don’t remember if I got to kiss her… Everything happened quickly because she was crying.”

Elli made stairs with bricks and left them outside at night for Melina to descend from the sky

When Melina “turned off”, Dimitra suffered a severe shock. “I was crying the whole time but I was calm. A strange silence…”

Even today he feels bad that the first thing he thought of was to run to Elli. He was sleeping at a friend’s house. It was the first time that the two sisters were separated. “I woke her up… She asked me where Melina was. I told her to heaven. Melina also got her red flag in the sky,” he told me.

Elli didn’t just lose her sister, she also lost her parents, in a way. He lost what he knew. At first he didn’t like us. He wasn’t even looking at us. He wasn’t eating. He was sleeping with the grandparents. He used the bricks to make stairs and at night he left them outside for Melina to descend from the sky. With her mind she was trying to find a way to get her sister back».

Dimitra was lost for a long time. “I slept day and night. I refused to get out of bed. I had resigned. They made great efforts to lift me up… When at some point my mom left, Elli and I sat on the floor. He looked me in the eyes and said “now it’s just the two of us”. If it wasn’t for Elli, we both would have ended our lives.”

He turned to a psychologist, he went to a spiritualist, he started reading about religions.. He was desperately looking for a way out and an answer for people’s souls. She longed to feel that Melina’s soul was there around her.

As she confesses, even when they were burying the child, she believed it was a lie and would rise. “My mind was playing such games. Then I had a great need to talk to mothers who had lost their children, to ask them how I will continue to live and if there is hope for the pain to subside.”

In November 2016, Andrianna “entered” the lives of Dimitra, Manos and Elli in the most beautiful way. “I really wanted this baby for Elli and I was struggling to be well. This baby was a blessing to us all.”

For years Dimitra struggled with regrets, guilt and depression. She felt bad when she caught herself smiling at a kid’s joke or at a school party. For years, together with Elli, he also called Melina, out of habit. The two children were inseparable. Where one was, there was the other. She worked a lot on herself to be able to stand on her own two feet, look ahead and not be afraid to smile.

On Friday, September 29, Elli will celebrate her birthday. They will all be there. And Melina. In their hearts.

By Evangelia