October 13, 2015
We’ve been enjoying the area very much, even with the rain. When it’s not pouring, we spend a lot of time on the grounds of our agriturismo. R + R love running through the vineyards, climbing on tractors, pointing out bugs and collecting rocks. When it is pouring, Rocky heads out to the patio so he can splash his feet in puddles of rain. Rhône prefers playing Legos indoors and writing and illustrating stories. His latest is called “Spooky Ghost Town/Lots of Castles.”
Yesterday we went to the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera, located right next to the Piaggio factory. Our littlest one is a motorcycle aficionado so we figured he’d love looking at the Vespas. We were correct. Today we had a fantastic lunch in the small hilltop town of Lari. Jonas had Bistecca alla Fiorentina and we shared two pasta dishes – a ricotta ravioli with pumpkin cream sauce and fusilli with sausage and wild mushrooms – both made with hand-kneaded Martelli pasta. This famous pasta is created in a shop down the street by seven members of the Martelli family.
After lunch we had gelato, which gave us plenty of energy to scale walls (almost) and climb several steps to reach Lari’s castle. The views from the top were breathtaking. I found myself in awe of the sights and so happy to be with my family. At the same time I felt twinges of sadness.
Last night I learned some heartbreaking news. A friend of mine’s son died. He was 17 years old. I can’t stop thinking about this young man named Bodie who took his last breath two days ago. I keep thinking about his mother, my friend Makrae, who brought him into this world and watched him take his very first breath, and how she will spend the rest of her life remembering (sometimes joyfully, sometimes wistfully and sometimes tragically) everything that happened between that first and last breath. My heart aches for her and her family and I pray that they will find peace and comfort in the coming days, months and years.
Facebook is an interesting phenomenon in that you can instantly know about and celebrate a friend’s joyful life event, or on the flip side, grieve with someone as they suffer an enormous loss. In the bible when Job lost his family and his possessions and he was afflicted with illness, his friends sat with him on the ground for seven days. They didn’t speak because they saw how great his suffering was. They supported him in the way he needed at that time. That is my hope for Makrae and her family, and for all my friends and family members who have lost loved ones and are still grieving. I hope that they will feel love and support from all angles – from near and far, and most importantly, from above.
I’m not used to all this rain. It’s been so dry in Southern California for years. We just get a sprinkle here and there. Anyway, the Tuscan rain has got me thinking. It’s about time for a rainbow. I’ll be on the lookout for one. And when I do see one, I’ll think of Bodie.
Update: The day I wrote this, I did not know Bodie’s cause of death. I later learned it was suicide. His mother, my beautiful and brave friend Makrae, now works with The Kim Foundation in Nebraska, which advocates for mental health services and provides outreach and support for suicide survivors (those who have experienced the loss of someone through suicide). You can click on the video within this link to hear Makrae’s story in her own words.