Why does Venice have to be so romantic?

 

One often hears, as I did from well-meaning friends after my partner Bill died, “you have many wonderful memories of your life together which will be a comfort to you.”

My friends are right. I do have many wonderful memories. And they are wrong, because those memories do not bring me comfort but rather remind me of how much I have lost in losing Bill.

There is a glass display cabinet in our living room filled with memorabilia. On the second shelf, is a small white ashtray, discretely emblazoned with a miniature gold replica of the four horses that adorn the Basilica di San Marco in Venice. The ashtray is something of an anomaly since neither Bill nor I smoked. But Bill absconded with it as a souvenir from a visit years ago to the café in the Excelsior Hotel on the Lido near Venice. (Please don’t tell the hotel management that I have it.)

Bill and I loved Venice and were there several times together.

I was back in Venice last fall on a trip that Bill and I had planned. But then, before we could go, he died. I still went, knowing that he would not have wanted me to cancel.

I spent days wandering around the narrow passage ways that meander through the city, drinking espressos in cafés that we used to frequent, going to La Fenice Opera (we were life-long opera fans), visiting the glass factories of Murano (Bill loved Murano chandeliers), and taking a vaporetto out to the Lido. I sat for a long time in the lobby of the Excelsior Hotel, very quiet now that the summer tourist season was over.

The only conversations that I had during the whole time in Venice were with Bill. Obviously not real dialogues but rather under-my-breath monologues addressed to him, recalling our times in the city, and cursing him, mildly, for not being there with me on this trip.

Venice, for me, is replete with memories of Bill. I treasure these memories beyond measure. Yet they do not bring me peace, but rather pain. It is as if I were holding a magnificent, bejeweled sceptre that, while stunningly beautiful, is simultaneously searingly hot.

(Appreciation to Les Floyd {http://lesism.blogspot.com/} for the email conversations that we had this morning that prompted the writing of this blog.)

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August Farewell, a memoir about my thirty-three year relationship with Bill which ended with his sudden cancer death, and Searching for Gilead, a novel which also deals with love and loss, are available through http://amazon.com,http://barnesandnoble.com

http://amazon.cahttp://chapters.indigo.ca,http://amazon.co.uk.

For more information on August Farewell and Searching for Gilead check out my website at http://DavidGHallman.com where you’ll find among other material a short YouTube video explaining why I wrote August Farewell http://bit.ly/jZrEbf

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2u_-_venice

 

 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Why does Venice have to be so romantic?

  1. Go easy on yourself, David.Interesting that you say you went on that trip because you knew Bill wouldn’t have wanted you to cancel. Wouldn’t he kick your arse if he knew that every time you thought of him, it hurt? 😉

  2. Venice is a place that is meant to be melancholic (it’s one of my favourite cities too) so I can only imagine how it has to be to be there with the grief of a loss like this. Bill’s memory must be the reason behind all the good you can do while you’re still among us. The pain will be gone and the blessing will come. It’s not granted as you’ve been told by people who just meant you the best. You have to give it the place in your life or it will be obliged to stay on the edge waiting for it. Yours sincerely, Alessia

  3. Nora Miller

    I understand what you say here, David. After several years of letting me go off on birding trips, my husband starting going with me. In the final few years we had together, we went birding together everywhere. In the years since his death, I find I cannot go birding anywhere that we went together. No joy there, only memories. But I learned that I could go to new places or locations nearby where we had gone together, and through that, I developed new memories of the place that were not tinged with him. It’s still poignant and still nostalgic, but not so painful, and maybe even a little happy. It will happen–you will have moments of joy without him. I tell myself I am "enjoying for two".

  4. charlie cochrane

    What a handsome couple. Time’s the best healer. It took me years to be able to think about my Dad with something like pleasure rather than loss. But it isn’t easy and nobody should guilt you into feeling bad because it isn’t happening for you yet. *big hugs*

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