by Melinda Gallo

Duality of emotions

This morning when I woke up, the sky was grey. I felt a strong sense of joy inside of me, but a veil of melancholy was definitely present too. At times, however, I find great comfort in sad songs and grey skies. I like the duality of my emotions. I am fine with feeling love and joy pulsate through me while a sense of sadness washes over me. I know that the sadness is not permanent, but I know that I have to let it run its course and not fight it off.

For some reason this morning, I decided to open up a notebook that I keep near my bed. Itís a notebook in which I wrote to my mother after her passing. I had forgotten what I had written and was curious to read it. I was living in Florence when she was diagnosed with cancer. I left my beloved city to be with her and didnít return until 2004. For me, Florence not only accepts and embraces me, but she has also nurtured me through grief.

I felt a desire to run up to Piazzale Michelangiolo this morning after the melancholy set in. I wanted to clear my head, feel my heart beat, and take in some fresh air. My favorite part about going up to the piazzale is the ability to admire the city from above. It allows me to take all of Florence in at once and also to gain some perspective on anything that is affecting me. Even with the cool temperatures and a misty rain falling on me as I ran along the Arno, I felt better with each step. When I arrived at the piazzale, I looked up at the sky and saw gaps in the grey clouds where the sun shone through and lit up a part of the city. My face softened and it was the first time I had smiled all day.

Being up at the piazzale, I thought some more about my mother who only came to Florence once the year before I left it. She liked it, but I think she preferred Paris. After her only visit to Florence, we flew to Paris before she returned to the US. For me, the two cities are special because I was able to share them both with her.

Later in the day, the sun shone through and my melancholy slipped away. I felt comforted by the duality of my emotions because I didnít feel either one pulled at each other, but just sat side by side. Sometimes when I feel a twinge of sadness rise inside of me, I wonder if it will stay forever, but I have slowly realized that it always dissipates. Well-being is like the sun, even if clouds come and hide it, it is always there. My beloved city has instilled me with great wisdom and love, and for that I will always be appreciative.

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