by Melinda Gallo

Daria Bignardi alle Oblate

While I was flipping through the giornale (newspaper) last Sunday, I found an article about a libro (book) called "Non vi lascerò orfani (I won't leave you to be orphans)" by Daria Bignardi. The word orfano (orpha) struck a chord with me so I read the article. The author, an Italian giornalista (journalist), began writing this libro about her family three weeks after her mother had passed away. I saw that Daria would be speaking at the Oblate, our new biblioteca (library) on via dell'Oriuolo and I felt a great desire to see her speak.

Not only was yesterday my fifth year anniversary of returning to Florence, but it was also a reminder to me as to why I left in 1999. I came to Florence with the intention of writing and stayed for two years. I moved back to the US after my mother found out that she had cancer, and then stopped writing after her passing in 2001. My moving back to Florence in 2004 was significant for me not only because I wanted to live here again, but I also felt it was where I could finally grieve. The greatest gift to myself was staring my blog, which turned out to be the impetus for me to begin writing again.

After buying my fiorino (florin) yesterday, I walked to Piazza Repubblica to check out Daria's libro at the libreria (bookstore). I opened it up to a passage about her father's passing and how she too thought she could somehow cure her father. My whole reason for going back to be with my mother was that I honestly thought that I could cure here, or that I was supposed to somehow.

I arrived early at the biblioteca and considered just walking around before it started at 5:30pm. Fortunately, I decided to walk toward the entrata (entrance) of the sala (room). When I arrived, it was already filled to capacity. There wasn't one empty seat and people were standing up along the sides and at the entrata. I wedged myself into a small crowd standing in the back of the sala.

The new sindaco (mayor) of Florence, Renzi, arrived through the large doors and walked down the center aisle to take his spot on stage. A few minutes later, Daria arrived and sat down next to him.

The woman who organized the event, Anna Benedetti, summarized the book quite well before passing the microphone on to Renzi who talked about how the book had touched him. He said that he found it interesting that in Daria's writing about death in her libro, she was celebrating life.

Daria was the last one to speak and was very humble and warm. I found it inspiring that she took a tragedy in her life and turned it around. One thing that touched me in the article on Sunday was a quote Daria had recited, "Quello che veramente ami non ti sarà strappato That which you truly love will not be taken away from you."

I believe that love is a wonderful gift you have to hold onto when a death occurs. I look forward to reading Daria's book to see how she dealt with her loss and how she returned to love.

I enjoyed the presentation for Daria's libro and was pleased to be reminded that there is always a silver lining if I take the time to look for it. One gift for me was returning to Florence and the other was starting my blog. Both are great sources of joy for me that I am thankful for.

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