I woke up from a dream last night. My wife Lizanne, who passed away in 2001, appeared. She was no longer sick, but she was delicate. She only appeared for a moment, and in her way she kindly tapped me on the shoulder. Remember. Outside the wind was blowing.After all the jacks are in their boxesAnd the clowns have all gone to bedYou can hear happiness staggering on down the streetFootprints dressed in redAnd the wind whispers Mary
We all run around making busy lives for ourselves to fill them up with meaning. We are like the little goti glass of Venice, made from left over scraps of glass, all different. All fragile. But still we step outside in the wind, and we run. And run. Competing in a race we will never win. But still, we run.
When I awoke this morning I had an email from a friend in Italy. She simply wanted to tell me about someone who would no longer be in the race. This person had passed on. I had just met this person’s husband at Summa; in fact I was scheduled to visit them last week when I was near Venice. But time and circumstances blew me in another direction.A broom is drearily sweepingUp the broken pieces of yesterday’s lifeSomewhere a queen is weepingSomewhere a king has no wifeAnd the wind, it cries Mary
You might be of royal lineage or you might be just like most of us, but we all run the same race. Some of us run longer than others. For those who are taken early, it’s difficult for those they leave behind. Husbands, wives, brothers, mothers, sons, daughters, lovers. When it happens, a door closes in a cave and we are turned around in the dark and told to run towards the light. And that can take years. Like the finest wine.
What do you say to someone who has just lost their mate? I have found nothing that can comfort them. Nothing comforted me. The closest anyone came was a friend of mine, Martin, who whispered into my mind, “May her memory be a blessing.” Years ago I wrote something similar to a cousin who, in a short period, lost her father, her husband and her son. I have never heard back from her. So it’s different for different people. No one thing works. Nothing ultimately can comfort the grieving soul, save time. The cure is also the disease – time.The traffic lights they turn up blue tomorrowAnd shine their emptiness down on my bedThe tiny island sags downstream‘Cause the life that lived is, is deadAnd the wind screams Mary
Every time I go to Italy I think about the Jesuit priest who prepped me for my first Italy trip. He had been a whopping 25 or 26 times, and he was a tremendous story teller. “Son, just remember your first trip won’t be your last. Don’t try and see it all in one trip.” 42 or 43 trips later I have barely begun to scratch the surface; even though I tell many Italians about their Italy they have never seen and do not know. The irony of it. One like me who can barely put together a sentence in the Italian language, but who has seen more of Italy than most Italians.
To my friend and those near and dear to her who just lost their wife and their mother and their friend I can only wave from this shore the simple white handkerchief of love and loss. I’ve been there; I know what you are going through. But that won’t help any of you in any way. Other than to know there are many of us who are further down the tunnel and there will be more light, someday. Not in a year. But someday.
Will the wind ever rememberThe names it has blown in the pastAnd with his crutch, it’s old age, and it's wisdomIt whispers no, this will be the lastAnd the wind cries Mary
In memory of Marie Brandolini d’Adda
written and photographed (in and around Venice) by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
Lyrics by Jimi Hendrix
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