Tuesday, June 17
I woke up somewhat haunted. I can’t remember the last time I dreamt about my grandmother, or, should I say, when my grandmother had last visited me in my dreams. But, I woke up this morning fresh from a conversation with her. It was strange to wake with tears streaming down my face. I felt such an intense connection and felt, well, haunted.
Because it was so real. I felt every essence of her - the tone in her aged voice, the teardrops in her huge, almond eyes that would well up with what she would call ‘happy tears’, the warmth of her heart, the beauty of her smile, the fine lines in her otherwise smooth, ageless skin, and the gentle embrace of her frail arms. The last memories I had of her brought back to me in the final moments of my dreams.
And I remember what she had to tell me. She had a message for me. It was about love, actually. She told me to go ahead and fall in love with Jean. She told me to just let it happen. She had met him, back in 1998, four years before she passed on. Jean had sent her a video he recorded (he’s a camera man), when Pavarotti sang live in Paris for the World Cup. Fireworks were part of the finale. And, of course, the best part for her was when he sang Nessun Dorma. The history of the Three Tenors singing on the eve of the final match of The World Cup began in 1990 in Italy, when Pavarotti sang Nessun Dorma. My grandmother loved that Jean sent her the tape.
Funny, when I was at the Sitka Center for Arts & Ecology for a writers workshop back in April, I kept thinking about my grandmother. I think she was with me, as I wrote a piece of prose that was inspired by catching fireflies with my sister and my cousin when we were little girls and, most poignantly, watching the fireflies the evening following the afternoon we buried our grandmother. She has been with me lately, watching over me, but now, sharing her wisdom. She wants me to be happy, she wants me to be loved. And she believes Jean is the right person to give me the love I deserve.
When I woke up this terrified me. I don’t even know where to begin with this. He did send me a wonderful, warm email about a week ago. I hadn’t responded because I have been thinking about it too much. I had been resistent, mostly because I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to live in Paris. I know most women would think I’m crazy. I just love my life here. So how do you make it work with someone who’s a million miles away? My grandmother failed to clue me in on that one.
And while my grandmother was fresh in my mind all day, tonight, on America’s Got Talent – a young man sang the opera song Nessun Dorma – which brought me to full tears. Not only because it’s an amazingly beautiful song, not only because it’s Pavoratti’s anthem, but because it was the definitive opera song that my grandmother loved. We had an opera singer perform it for her at an Italian restaurant in the DC area for her 80th birthday. And, when she passed away in 2000, just after I returned from a nearly three week journey throughout Italy with my mother and several of our cousins, I learned that Turandot was included in the 2000-2001 Washington Opera season. I brought my mother with me, as I had season tickets. The music of Nessun Dorma wove in and out of the opera and hit its aria finale toward the very end. I had chills throughout the opera, anticipating the finale. When the baratone belted out the powerful aria, my mother and I looked at each other. We were both overcome with tears and emotion. And I felt my grandmother’s spirit right there with us. It was so precious and so meaningful to me. To this day, I cannot hear that song without being overcome with emotion, memories, grief, love and tears.
The singer on the television talent show was this large teddy bear of a man – he was electric. And so emotive. He was teary eyed thinking about his family, most especially his mother. It was heart-warming, but, more importantly, this guy was fabulous. And though his choice of song he perpetuated this wondrous message I was getting from my grandmother – a continuation of feeling her near me, reminding me of her message.