*My body is here in Italy, but my heart and thoughts are in Kellogg with my mom, who is combating the effects of her Vascular Dementia. I appreciate the updates my brother has sent me, but it is hard with the time difference to know what is going on. I am glad and very grateful I am here at my friend’s house with her husband and their wonderful hospitality, preparing to execute her dream of having a retreat, but as I read my brother’s Bill’s words that say, For now, I try to enter Mom's world and answer her questions and I try to help her understand where she is and keep the conversation going. I think she's frightened. I hope that having family nearby during much of the day helps her feel more secure, part of me wants to be that family that is there helping her feel more secure and loved. And with the traveling, and change in time, and rhythm of the days here so far, it is hard for me to even grasp all that is going on in Kellogg at this time. After Bill posted in his Three Beautiful Things about dealing with Mom, there was such an outpouring of love from friends and family, many recalling their similar experiences with their parents. It was quite encouraging to read all the love and support.
*As I was laying in bed first thing in the morning, doing some things on the computer, my phone rings, and daughter Cosette is calling. She is in Pocatello at Idaho State University with five of my Gear Up students for a Youth Summit. What a wonderful surprise to talk to her and find out how the week is going, and say hello to a couple of the KHS students attending the Youth Summit.
*But my journey has taken another path during the next few weeks, as I am here in Italy, and continue to experience wonderful things. A slow, leisurely start to the day. Coffee on the terrazza. A drive to La Spezia to go to a mall, and have lunch at a place where you grab your food off a conveyor belt, including sushi, miso soup, lime jello, tempura shrimp, egg rolls, potstickers, etc. It was quite a fun experience. Here is a look at some of the choices going by on the conveyor belt at Kikko Kaiten Sushi La Spezia.
*I am still not used to the time change, and I was dragging a bit after lunch. April gave me a piece of candy called “Pocket Coffee”, and it was amazing how it perked me right up. That was good, because our next agenda item was shopping for groceries at a store April describes as Fred Meyer-like. I really enjoyed going through my list, and figuring out the items I needed. I did pretty good. We didn’t get everything purchased we needed. We will have another trip tomorrow to buy meats and fresh produce. But before we left the mall, we did have time to enjoy some more gelatto. Today I had one scoop of coconut, and one scoop of coffee flavored gelatto.
*Our shopping outing took about 5-6 hours. By the time we arrived back at Villa Magnolia, we were ready to relax and have some dinner that Kellee and Tina put together. The day before I had purchased a bottle of wine called Capsula Viola so we could raise a toast to April’s mom Vi Vergobbi, who she is dedicating this retreat to, and was an inspiration to April for moving to Italy and renovating her beautiful home.
*As the day comes to an end, I long to be in two places. But my path has taken me to a small village in the Northern Tuscany region of Italy, so I am making the most of this time here in this beautiful part of the world, enjoying my lifelong friends, and enjoying making new friends. I continue to pray each moment I can for Mom, for my brother, sister, husband and daughter who are lovingly taking care of her, and for the moment when I will be reunited with her back in Kellogg.