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I Will Find You

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Spain - Alcalá de Guadaíra - Portrait of Lidia Acebo Fortes, 69. It took Lidia Acebo Fortes decades to learn how to deal with the loss of her son José Manuel. It was a period marred by depression, legal battles and public appearances - university talks, TV programs, a personal book that was presented at the European Parliament - which eventually helped her cope with the pain. “Every time I speak about him I feel something burning inside me”, explains the women. “I will never forget my son, but I can’t let what happened destroy my life”. Acebo Fortes was 16 when she fell pregnant of José Manuel. The boy was premature and was placed in a hospital incubator. His father used to visit him twice a day - the mother was staying at home to recover from the delivery. The baby looked healthy, and was rapidly gaining weight, but on the morning of the 17th day Acebo Fortes woke up with a ominous presentiment. She immediately called the hospital to check on her son. A nurse told her not to worry, the baby was fine.That same night, when her husband came home, Acebo read desperation in his face. The doctors had told him the baby had died the night before. “That’s impossible, I called this morning and a nurse told me he was fine!” Acebo Fortes told him. Her husband didn’t know what to say. A nurse had taken a baby corpse from the cold room and showed it to him through a glass. He was wrapped in cloth and the father couldn’t tell if that was their baby. Acebo Fortes’s concerns grew even stronger the following day, when her husband came back from the burial and told her the coffin seemed empty. “He had carried it and felt it was too light”, she explains. “He was a carpenter, he knew very well how much a coffin weighed”.