Life continues in our valley. I thank all of you who have commented, thought about us and prayed over the last days.
Over the last three months, our thoughts and days have been filled with Franco's illness. While we were trying to get our project done and our new room finished, our thoughts were across the street, with our friends. They allowed us to be there as often as we wanted, and we spent a good deal of time with Franco, right up to his last day. I am eternally thankful that we had that time with him. We watched as his family took amazingly good care of him, but it was always coupled with a deep sense inside of them that they could not do more. They could not make him better.
I have learned a great deal through this experience. I have never been so close to a terminal illness before. I suffered from the distance when my father was ill, only being able to visit occasionally. I was present when my father passed away, but I know the labor that went into keeping him going prior to that, which was shouldered primarily by my mother and my sister. In spending time with Franco during his last few months, I felt able to give forward some of what I could not give to my dad. This is a great comfort to me, and the fact that the Parodi family accepted and understood this was wonderful.
It hurt like hell to watch Franco suffer. The release of his suffering, and the love that he brought to us and to so many others lets us breathe easier. Of course we will miss him, every single day. But with the gifts he gave to us, the things he taught us, we also have the ability to honor his memory by going on.
In case you are wondering what these pictures are...
The first was taken after this fabulous team of four moved my kiln for the third time. Beppe, Franco, Aldo, and Micha are enjoying a post -back-breaking- work-aperativo.
The second was taken a few years ago during the spring. It's not Franco. Franco is actually driving the tractor. Aldo, his buddy is on that pallet. They came up here to trim our fruit trees. Aldo came riding up ON THE PALLET. It scared the bejezuz out of me, to be honest, but we figured they knew what they were doing. We drank an aperitivo together afterwards, I remember well.
Oh, the good old days.
We are lucky to have the memories.