Thinking About Friendship

Tomorrow I am attending a zoom get together for a friend who passed away. Sadly, not my first. A cousin died during the pandemic, also too young with a lot of life left to live. Tomorrow’s service is for a dear friend who died earlier this month after a battle with cancer. He was Roman. We’ve been friends since 1993. I have so. many amazing memories with him in Rome, where he showed me Palazzo Farnese, Campo dei Fiori, places to eat along the Tiber, and other Roman experiences. He had a great, thick, fun, Roman accent. Sometimes he would do it on purpose and speak in Romanaccio. He looked just like Eros Ramazzotti in my view. I met him when I lived in Bologna, hung out with him all the time the summer I lived in Rome and then in the late 1990s, early 2000s we lived in Milan at the same time for a many years.

We spent a lot of time hanging out and we went sailing with other groups of friends as well, and had hours and hours of conversations about a huge range of topics. We both left Milan and moved to New York at the same time and then developed another part of our three decade friendship. Those first years back in the States after so many years in Italy, 15 to be exact, were hard but he was here to smooth the way and Italy came with him. We always spoke in Italian even if his English was perfect. After sometime, he and his wife moved back to Italy but we’ve stayed in close touch throughout it all, for years. I knew there was no escaping the cancer that he had, a particularly hard one to survive, but I hoped he would have a lot longer. I just saw him in Milan in late March. I feel so fortunate to have made it in time.

A have a huge hole in my heart right now. Friends, real friends, old friends are not that easy to come by. Long standing relationships and people you can count on and recount your life from many points of view to are frankly even fewer.I have a lot of friends but not of that length and not many who span my two country life- Italy and the US. He was definitely one of them and one that I knew would set me straight when I was not being realistic, another important quality of a friend in my view.

Much more rational than I am, he left me with some important thoughts about what really matters in life. I don’t know if his role as a guru in the last months was one he enjoyed at all. I can say I admire how he lived his life these last yeasr and he has made me all the more grateful for everything and for every minute. Andrea caro amico mio, grazie del amicizia vera di tutti questi anni. Mi manchi e mi mancherai sempre.

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