For me, the year 2009 started out with hope despite all the dismal predictions and real-life challenges I saw everyone around me grappling with. A couple of weeks before Christmas last year, almost everyone at my office got the word: Layoff. However, instead of feeling completely devastated, I — in my eternal optimism — decided to make this turn of events into an opportunity.
“Perche’ No?” I said to myself — why not?
At the time of the layoff, my husband, parents, and I were already neck deep into the planning of a summer 2009 trip to Ireland and Italia. But despite the layoff and my plans to lay the groundwork for starting my own small business, not to mention the bleak economic news in general, we decided — we’re going anyway! We said to ourselves, “Perche’ no?” In fact, we were feeling so great we decided to extend the trip from three weeks to five. With no corporate-mandated return date, perche’ no? And so the title of this trip was born.
And then something happened that changed our lives. Less than a month before the beginning of the trip we lost a very dear friend in a tragic car accident.
Janis Del Pozzo was not only one of the most sweet, gentle, generous, loving friends one could hope for, but had also become a member of our greater family. She was my first-born son’s future mother-in-law. She was the precious mom of my equally-precious future daughter-in-law. For the last few years, the Del Pozzo-Brovelli-Colangelo-Morgan family has spent holidays together and numerous backyard BBQ’s and birthdays at each other’s homes. Our lives had become happily intertwined.
Just a week before the accident, we had been celebrating together at the Italian Festa in Sacramento, reveling in our mutual Italian-ness.
Then one morning our lives were shattered. And we no longer felt that promise of 2009. We found ourselves asking, “WHY?” — “Perche’” — instead of “Perche’ no?”
That question is unanswerable, of course. We are still reeling. But we know the living must go on living, even it means embarking on a long-awaited trip to Ireland and Italia tinged with great sadness.
And so we went. Jan would have wanted that. Our glad plans were colored with grief and our once exuberant perche’ no’s were replaced by agonizing why’s.
The Viaggio 2009 began on Thursday, September 3, my mom’s birthday. We celebrated on the plane as we headed to Dublin. And I knew as the trip continued, I would make every day of it a celebration of Jan’s life.
I dedicate the memories of this Viaggio 2009 to a very special woman:
Janis Del Pozzo
And then we flew across the big pond.