Several months later we received a visit from the physician’s mother, who told us that the night he died, Dino had asked Mary to stay after her shift, because he was not feeling well; he was afraid that perhaps these were his last moments. Her mother told us he had “died in Mary’s arms,” this last a reference to his daughter Mary from whom he had been separated 40 years ago when she was sent to Greece to be treated for poliomyelitis.

If my father had died in the prison it would have been almost impossible to find his grave, because the prisoners were usually buried anonymously, if they were buried at all. Sometimes they were thrown into a swift flowing river. But he died in the prison hospital in Tirana, the capital, and here, because of the presence of foreign embassies, the system tried to present a better face: Cosmetics for its deep wrinkles.

Hospital room