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PERSONAL REFLECTIONS.

JUNE, 2004

 

Kathy: June 12, 2004

Hello,

It is a sad week for us. We heard on Thursday that our good friend Paul Gefell died in a work accident. It has made it difficult to be here right now, and we are spending time grieving with each other. Our good friend's Mary Rose and her family have been inviting us over to spend time with them. We may go over there tonight, but haven't felt much like being with people. In a few days I will be able to write again. Until then, you may want to visit the page I put on the site that is a memorial to Paul.

In grief,

Kathy

Kathy: June 17, 2004

Well, we are healing. It has helped us to call Peg every day and talk with her, and listen to her process. Thank you to all who have sent their notes of sympathy. Each one has helped us to feel connected to our community in Rochester and begin our healing journey. We also appreciate the way that the family just jumped in to make our presence felt there - Jordan sent flowers for us, April and Angela made food and brought it over, Carly flew back to Rochester to read what I wrote at the service and give Peg support. They all did us proud.

We actually are emotionally dealing with two losses - the other being our community here in Sicily. The days are growing short as we approach our departure on June 24th, my birthday. There is so much to do and so little time. My cousin, Linda Letta and her husband Tom Mitrano are here with us and they are a big help with everything. Most especially, with helping us to plan our going away party on Saturday. We are so delighted that a lot of people have said they are coming.

As usual we continue to learn a lot and I am taking very good notes so that if I don't have time to write a long reflection before I leave, we can do it when we return to Rochester. People have told me that I should continue the page when I return. I know for other past powerful experiences that the processing afterward will reveal more insights - so plan to keep following for some time.

Today we are off to a last visit to Santo Stefano and then onto Mt. Etna for a trek up tomorrow. Peter had set his heart on getting up Etna so that he can see the rare plants that grow there. We will return in the evening to share cena and good bottle of wine with Linda and Tom who are visiting Taormina.

Love, Kathy

Kathy: June 26, 2004

Wow, Mt Etna was great. We took the autobus up to the top crater and walked down. It was surreal experience with black lava stone all around. At times it felt like we were walking on another planet. We selected a couple of special lava stones from the top to bring back in memory of Paul. Before going to Etna we stayed at Parco Statella, a beautiful agriturismo in the north of the Etna area. This was a perfect setting for a hotel with a park all around. One of our highlights at the top was meeting and hanging out with the guides. We promised them we would put their photo on our website. On the way back we drove through the most beautiful fields of wild flowers. When we returned home we were met my a Linda and Tom who had prepared for us a delicious dinner with a bottle of fine Sicilian wine. What could be better?

The next day was frantic as Linda, Tom, Peter and I busily prepared for our big going away party at our apartment. It turned out that the day of our party was also the day of the Feast of San Calogero. It is a big celebration in the town with fireworks and a procession. We joked at the party that the town was also honoring us with fireworks which we viewed from our windows. The party was typically Sicilian with Giuseppe grilling sausage on the terrace, the wine flowing, and lots of talking and laughing. Linda made an excellent dish of caponata which I thought was brave of her, since she would be cooking for Sicilian women. However, they loved it and many people asked her how she did it. I guess we learned something from that.

All our friends and acquaintances came to the party. Our little apartment was packed. The most fun was the singing, which would have gone on into the night had we not stopped it at 1:00 am so the neighbors could get some sleep. Someone brought a guitar and their were song fests that turned into contests for who could sing the loudest. We laughed a lot until the last person departed and the sadness was overwhelming. People shared with us later that it was so good to go to a party where everyone was welcome.

The rest of our time was spent saying our final good-byes, figuring out what to do with all the gifts that people had given us and the volume of books we had accumulated while here. Some friends have agreed to bring things to us in the states and we are storing some things here. Giuseppe and Maria drove us to Palermo under a stunning Sicilian sunset the night before our departure.

 

Kathy: June 30, 2004

"When you open up yourself to the living, all things come pouring in on you."

Chris Williamson

This morning while listening to Chris Williamson sing these lines, I wept. The tears were for so many losses. All the beautiful faces of the people in Sicily passed before my face like a colorful collage and it hit my heart. Our transition back here has been filled with people from the moment of arrival - a distraction from what was lying below the surface. On Thursday afternoon we were welcomed at JFK airport in NYC by my daughter who looked beautiful and greeted us in true Carlita style. She carried two signs - "Happy Birthday Mama" written in silver glitter and "Welcome Home: now that you're back we can get rid of Bush" written on a big poster in marker. We laughed as we loaded 5 gigantic suitcases and 4 big carry-ons into her little car leaving only the passenger seat for Carly and I to share. From the window we saw a large tour group standing enjoying our packing scenario as they waited for cabs. We waved them good bye and headed home. Arriving at our home was a surreal experience - at first we were hit by how green everything was. The trees on our street and bushes in our yard. Thanks to my friend Coni , our yard was beautiful. Thank you Coni and all our friends and family who helped to keep things going for us at home - my sister Angela, our son Jordan, Steve, Valerie and our neighbors. We are so lucky to have all of your support.

The next day we were in the company of lots of family members at the wedding of my nephew, Michael and his new wife, Nisha. It was so good to reconnect with everyone. I hope to continue to write my reflections and also to return to Sicily next year.