The last time I traveled to Italy, I went with my dying husband Vittorio and our two toddlers. We stopped first at Lourdes to pray to a cure, then to see his family in Rome for a final visit.
Thirty years later to the month, my "now" husband Bill surprised me with three weeks in Italy. By assigning me responsibility for planning the trip, he inadvertently placed me in a quandary. I wasn't sure what to include in this trip. Should I take Bill to places rife with memories of Vittorio -- the only places I knew? And, should I take him to visit Vittorio's relatives?
Bill was open to both revisiting places and meeting Vittorio's family but I had misgivings. Had Vittorio and my marriage been the usual boy meets girl love story and not a priest meets nun and falls in love story, making this decision would not have been so difficult. This difficulty was compounded by the fact that one of Vittorio's nieces had reprimanded me for remarrying, saying that I'd betrayed her uncle's sacrifice in leaving the priesthood for me. Further complicating the issue was the fact that nine years ago, our beautiful 24-year-old daughter Francesca died a violent, unresolved death and I wasn't sure how I could explain what even I, her mother, could not understand?
How was I to make this a trip that would resolve my concerns? How would Bill and I make this a trip uniquely ours? What happened is another story.