Having just returned from a two-week stint in Italy, lots of folks have been asking, “How was your vacation?” People seem surprised by my simple “good” response.

Just good?

Under normal circumstances, I would say fabulous. We did some very cool stuff, saw lots of amazing sights, ate a whole lot of good food, drank quite a bit of good beer and wine, spent quality time with friends, etc. But vacationing two weeks after Mom’s unexpected passing wasn’t “normal.”

I’ve never had to work so hard, mentally, to enjoy a vacation. Nothing against the people I was with, it just took quite a bit of effort to block all the negative stuff from my head and try to enjoy Italy.

Yes, it was good to get away. But the guilt of leaving was awful. There’s so much yet to be done. Plus there are a gazillion other things one thinks about when a loved one dies.

It’s sort of like having a cold. Mornings and evenings are usually the hardest. You tend to feel worst when you are at your weakest. Once you wake up, it all gets a bit easier to bear. Then every now and then things sneak up on you and, wham, you feel crappy again.

I’m slow on the trip reporting for similar reasons. My most-faithful reader is gone. She didn’t comment much — I always gave her a hard time for that — but she enjoyed reading the blog. Her form of commenting was chatting with me about my posts. She was always telling her friends to have a look, too. Knowing that just makes sitting down to do a post doubly hard.

I’ll get the trip reports done eventually.

I’m not apologizing for being slow, I’m just trying to explain why blogging just doesn’t have the same appeal for me right now.

Anyway… back to Italy.

I’m still on day one. That’s the day we arrived. Since we had some spare time on Sunday afternoon, we visited the Duomo (Milan’s cathedral).

Or at least we tried to.

Chaos at the Piazza Duomo

Unfortunately, thousands of other people had the same idea. The Duomo is old (construction began in 1386). It’s very big (supposedly can hold 40,000 people). It’s adorned with thousands of statues, stained glass, paintings, etc.

We were disappointed not to go inside, but neither of us could fathom standing in that line. We’ll have to go back off-season like my buddy Fuzzy who had the place almost to herself when she visited.

Seeing the outside was impressive enough.

Massive Duomo

It’s hard to explain just how big and majestic the place is. Pictures don’t do it justice. It’s hard to convey the sheer size of the place.

Same Picture as Above, Zoomed in on Statues

Click on any of the images on this page for a better view.

Because I had my zoom lens with me, I was able to capture some pretty cool images of a few statues and some other sculptures on the building’s facade.

The last image, shown below, is my favorite.

And that’s just a few of the statues. There are thousands.

Even if Milan wasn’t my favorite city, I’d still like to go back someday to see more of the Duomo.

5 Replies to “Torn”

  1. I can’t imagine the inner turmoil of wanting to enjoy yourself while you’re grieving. Just know that we’re here to listen at whatever pace you feel like talking.

    The Duomo is quite a sight. Amazing what man can do when driven by passion.


  2. I like Fuzzy can’t imagine your inner turmoil since I haven’t experienced a loss like that before. I think it is good that you and hubby didn’t cancel your plans but at the same time I can understand how it can be hard to enjoy yourself and be happy when you have just had a love one pass.

    Write when the muse strikes and we’ll be here. Take care of yourself so you don’t get worn down.

    Oh, and I must say those pictures are gorgeous. The architecture is amazing. And here I thought Notre Dame was big when we went to Montreal. I think I need to add Milan to my bucket list. I am glad you had your zoom lens with you.

  3. Yesterday was the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been years now, still the day is not like any other. The most helpful thing anyone said to me was: “Your grief is yours. It may be similar to others, but it is all yours. And, the only way through it, is through it.” I can’t imagine going on such a trip so soon after my mother’s death, but I can’t imagine my mother would have been very pleased with me if I hadn’t gone. She would have wanted me to go and to have the time of my life. Needless to say I would have gone and been filled with ambiguity…and, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the time of my life. I look forward to hearing about your trip. And, I suspect there is a very good chance your mother will be reading as well, although commenting even less.

  4. Aaaaw, Kath, I’m so sorry. Grief is like that, it comes in waves. At first the waves are coming one after another, then slowly but surely, the space between them will get longer. I’m sure your mom was with you and looking at all of those beautiful buildings right along side you.

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