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Chapter 19: The end

The renewal of vows in Spain in 2015 and the end of this journal

I have always loved weddings, I think a wedding represents everything special and unique a romantic woman like me has been dreaming all of her life.

My first civil wedding was interesting and special because I had never attended a civil wedding, and this is true up to now, so I had no idea of what I could expect from it.

It turned out to be really unique because of a few factors such as: my mother in law being the Mayor’s secretary and me being a foreigner.

I think this contributed in making it last longer and it was more meaningful, less aseptic.

During the whole ceremony, I was facing the photo of Monsieur Mitterand on the wall and the Mayor, the Notary of the little town where Jacques was born in Savoie, in between two beautiful Lakes: le Lac d’Annecy and le Lac de Bourget, had the colours of the French flag on him so to me it was very impressive.

And I said “oui”, instead of saying “sì” which was in itself very exciting to me!

The second religious wedding was, of course, the most meaningful for me, we celebrated it in front of God and being a believer, that meant everything.

To be honest, I have my own opinions about weddings; they are, as I said, very romantic, beautiful and special, but I would never stay with a man because I am married.

Even if I am a Catholic, I believe divorce is a holy thing.

If you don’t love someone, with your heart and your soul, you can’t stay together: reasons like staying together for religion purposes or staying together for the kids or for the family are wrong.

I am not a good Catholic in this, I know, but unfortunately it is what I think.

You stay together because you love each other.

Only for the sake of love.

I am very radical in my own beliefs, sometimes they don’t correspond to what people think or the Church or the State say but I only follow my heart.

In 2015, we would have had the 25th anniversary and we celebrate on the 8th September which is the date of the religious wedding.

For months, I thought of different possibilities, I did not want to do what everyone does here in Italy; I always look forward to doing something unique.

That year we organized a holiday in Spain, one of our most favourite parts of the world; the year before Jacques and I were in Madrid for a week so we decide to take Alex there.

We organized two weeks in Spain, six days in Madrid and almost ten days in Chinchon, a picturesque little town full of charm, where Francisco Goya – the famous Spanish painter – stayed in a very pretty home near the Cathedral where his brother was the priest.

The Cathedral overlooks the small village, it’s up on a hill and we were so lucky we rented a fantastic apartment over the main square, almost an English cottage with old beams and a balcony which was our little treasure and where we spent most of the evening eating and drinking my favourite Rioja wine.

While I was organizing this trip, I had an idea, I would have contacted the Priest at the Cathedral in Chinchon asking if we could renew our vows there.

I googled “ priest in Chinchon” and found en email address.

Oh my God, I was so excited that I could do it.

I did not tell anyone!

My plan was to organize everything without telling Jacques nor Alex.

I was hoping we could really celebrate it and that would have been THE most meaningful wedding for me because our son would have been with us and, after 25 years, it meant we really were happy together and we had found the love of our life.

I sent an email in Spanish and I was afraid this Priest would not receive it or reply.

A day later, mid - July, I received his reply.

The Priest was so excited and happy of my proposal but unfortunately, the first week of September he said he would have been on holiday but asked me if I could accept to have the ceremony carried on by a young Priest who would have been the one replacing him while on holiday.

I replied immediately thanking him and saying that it was perfect, I just needed to know his name and how to contact him.

He informed me it would have been a young Priest, Don Carlos, and he said that I should go to the Church once in Chinchon to make arrangements.

That was an amazing plan and I was sure that it would have been such a surprise for both Jacques and Alessandro.

I did not take any fancy clothes with me otherwise Jacques might have noticed; we had our usual summer clothes, just took one pair of long pants for him and a nice dress for me as we do every time we go somewhere , just in case.

That was not important at all.

We spent a fantastic holiday in Madrid, visiting the most important monuments, El Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum and another very interesting one, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

Madrid is full of character, people are warm and kind and we loved just walking along the boulevards or the little streets or being in the shops or at the Mercado de San Miguel staring at all beautiful food, vegetables, desserts and wines.

We left after a few days, rented a car heading to Chinchon and it was even more spectacular there.

The countryside is so dry and evocative, I thought I was wondering in Miguel Cervantes novels, olive trees and beautiful small vines everywhere. When we arrived, we could not believe how beautiful it was.

The owner, Jesus, could not do enough for us, the apartment was so charming and clean and full of character, Alex had his own room and we also could take advantage of a tiny balcony, which was really small, but perfect for our dinners at 10 pm.

We visited lots of villages or small towns in the area, among which Toledo that Jacques and I visited previously in 2014, and I may say it is one of my most favourite places on earth.

Toledo used to be the capital of Spain before Madrid became capital in the 16th century.

The Alcazar, its centre, the Cathedral, the streets, the landscape and most of everything El Greco home and its museum absolutely fascinated me.

I am in love with this Greek painter who left Crete to go to Venice where he worked and learned the art of painting.

In Crete, he was doing byzantine icons, that’s why he has a very special style with very elongated bodies, hands and faces. He was so much in advance in terms of style and colours. One of his best colours was the red he learned from the great Italian painter Titian while he was working in Venice.

His paintings are so meaningful and magnificent that I cried in front of St Peter’s painting. If you have a chance, google it and look at his tears, he has got some tears falling from his eyes, it is really moving.

Toledo and everything regarding El Greco are worth a trip!

Because he lived in Spain for so many years until his death but his origin was Greek, he was called El Greco, which means The Greek.

The third day we were staying in Chinchon, I had to tell Jacques and Alex what I was planning to do because we had to chat with Don Carlos prior to the W-day.

We were having dinner, one evening, in our special romantic balcony and I told them what I had organized, and they were very excited about it and loved my idea.

The following day we went to Church but Don Carlos was not there, so we asked someone in the street who told us where he lived.

We went to his home, rung the door bell and said who we were.

He was expecting us one of those days so he asked us to go to Church and meet him at 7 pm the following day to have a chat.

That was really amazing: he was so friendly and kind with us, he wanted to know everything about us.

I speak Spanish and Jacques understands a little, but he trusts me, he has to…when we got married in Italy, he had to trust both me and the Priest because he did not understand a word of Italian at the time.

I loved the fact that Don Carlos – same name as my Father and I think that was a sign – was so much interested in our story and willing to say a few words about us and let us exchange the rings again.

But I would have never thought that during Mass, the whole sermon would have been about us.

Oh my goodness, I was so embarrassed.

We organized for the 7th and not the 8th September because there was a funeral already planned and we did not think it would have been correct to have our renewal of vows done at that time.

That day we had lunch at Alcalà de Henares where Cervantes was born, we visited his home and spent a fantastic day. Bought some saffron that I still use for my risotto.

In the afternoon, we went back to our apartment, showered and got dressed. Nothing too fancy, as I said, but my little red dress was pretty and I felt it was perfect for a ceremony in Spain.

I put a little back jacket on my shoulders because I dislike going to Church without my shoulders covered.

When we arrived at Church, we decided to sit in the second front row.

I remember I was very, very moved, I think also Jacques ad Alex were.

The Mass was a usual Catholic Mass and we followed it very happily.

At the time of the Sermon, Don Carlos did the whole speech about us, he mentioned how we met, the Gulf War, that my Dad had passed away, that my mom was at home as well as my in-laws but we would have called them after the ceremony to tell them everything.

It was a beautiful and warm sermon about love and about giving up everything for the other.

Thing that I did for him when I moved to France, thing he did for me when we moved back to Italy.

After the Sermon, he asked us to go to the altar, he took our rings and told us to exchange them as we did at our religious wedding.

He blessed us and the rings and told us to give a little speech about what was so special renewing our vows - which I did in Spanish and Jacques did in Italian.

That was so moving, I managed not to cry but my heart was full of tears of happiness.

I told Alessandro to take only one picture, which he did.

I strongly believe a Church is a Holy place and it is not suitable to take pictures which could taking the Holy part away.

We went back to our seats but I was holding my eyes down to the floor.

When the mass was over, we turned around to go to one side and waited for Don Carlos to thank him and to give him a thank you note with some money to use for the Church.

Oh, my…I can’t explain, the church was full of people and they all came to us to hug us, to kiss us saying “enhorabuena” expression that I did not know but of course I understood it means something like “congratulations!”.

I think we spent half an hour hugging and kissing all these kind and incredible Spanish who did not know us at all.

In the end, Don Carlos came to us so I could take a picture with him as well.

We thanked him so much, it was absolutely the most meaningful ceremony because Alex, the fruit of our love, was there with us.

We went to the square and it was around 9 pm , we had a few awesome “tapas” and wine and beer and called my mom and Jacques parents.

We just had such an amazing time; Jacques would have liked to take us to a restaurant but I thought that nothing would have been cozier than staying on our balcony, so we had a lovely dinner and spent the evening, the three of us, together.

I can’t say how happy I was.

Having reached 25 years of pure love with Jacques and having Alessandro with us was extraordinary, an experience I will never forget.

I felt grateful and blessed.

This year, in September, we will celebrate our 30th anniversary.

Despite this coronavirus situation, I think, if everything goes well, we will celebrate it.

I don’t want to think where and how, because we are not in the position to know when this situation ends up, but we will and, I have a feeling, it will be something more spectacular, after such a hard period of isolation and worries.

Love makes us stronger - it is not a saying – it is a reality.

Without Jacques, my mom and our son, it would not be the same and I could not cope with it in a serene way.

I just turned 57, a few days ago, and I am finishing today, March 25th 2020 this small journey I started writing the second day of isolation.

I have not written for a couple of days so my isolation today amounts to 22 or 23 days. It’s been rough, not because of the impossibility of going out, but because in myself, despite my happy and positive attitude, I have been and I am afraid of losing someone I love.

I have no idea when this situation will end.

But I have made plans to stay healthy in my body and my soul: I am cooking and creating new recipes, I re-arrange the whole house, I post photos on Facebook, and I plan to learn doing some cooking videos.

I still have lots to say and lots to do.

My creativity is without any limit.

I am not saying I have bright ideas, I am only saying I constantly have new ideas.

I am absolutely incapable of doing nothing.

I love thinking that someone can be interested one day in trying a recipe of mine, reading a few words of my Journal , thus having a good memory of me.

I hope anyone who has been willing to read me all throughout these chapters has well understood that the purpose was not to write a piece of literature.

I can’t do that!

The purpose has been simple: I wished to explain who I am telling you what my life was.

I have not spoken of bad events happened in my life in details and I have not mentioned several on purpose, because this is a Journal of Love, Hope and Happiness.

I have had an extraordinary life even if I am an ordinary person and this is mainly due to that fact that I was offered the freedom to choose who I wanted to be.

Both my parents and my husband have allowed me to be the person I chose to be.

The freedom of choosing who you want to be is the most important wealth I have.

I have never tried to please anyone and I think I have lost many acquaintances and friends because I don’t accept any compromise.

I hope you have well understood how important are to me the integrity of my mind and the dignity of me as a human being.

The rest counts nothing.

Only what we are in our inner self has a deep meaning.

What we have can suddenly disappear while what we are will always be true.

My blog will continue in the future with a collection of some simple poems I wrote in the past, some videos, some travel tips and more recipes.

Everything simple and authentic as I am.

Because…

“ Why should we want to be extraordinary, when we can just be who we are?”


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