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Thursday, April 19, 2012

What I did for love.



As I get older, and I engage in writing down my memories, I'm cognizant of the fact that we never know when our last letter will be written, our last thoughts documented.

What choices did I have in front of me, and was aware I had the choices?

I married a couple of years out of college. It was love at first sight, and for me, the things and people I gave up in that decision were not clear until decades later. I wanted to be married, spend all my time with a man I met and couldn't live without.  I had no idea what I was giving up.

 We marry because we fall in love. What happens next takes a life of its own.

Now, forty-five years later, I can count all the times I came in front of a path that was not easy to discern, never black and white,  good or bad.

I gave up my Italian roots and became absorbed in becoming a good American wife, even cooking American meals.  I had no idea that I would see my father only once before he died, that I lost all contacts with my cousins, aunts and uncles, even my two  brothers, after my mother died, and land and holdings in Italy disappeared and were liquidated without my knowledge.

Had I wished to return, even to visit, would have been difficult. My husband and I spent years getting an education, then paying off student loans, purchasing a house, sending our children to school. Our vacations were camping trips, simple two-three days close enough, and inexpensive enough to be affordable.

When we retired and we visited Italy, I could barely recognize any thing or anybody I knew. I had changed; they had changed.  We were all strangers now, with little in common.

We think we know what we are doing.
Life is way too complex to predict.
We take big leaps of faith every day, with many decisions.




32 comments:

Velva said...

Its not possible during our life's journey to know all the consequences-perhaps, if we did, we could not make decisions or leaps of faith.

Everything in life is clearer with time and hindsight, and reflection.

Cheers.

Velva

dianefaith said...

I can't imagine what it would be like to leave country and family, but I do know about making those decisions that radically change a life. Married at 18 and married almost 50 years now, I wonder what would have happened had I had time to grow as an individual. Could have been better . . . could have been worse.

Retired English Teacher said...

I didn't realize you had left Italy when you married. Yes, those decisions, made when we are so young, do carry some pretty heavy consequences that make themselves known as time goes by. You gave up more than most.

The Broad said...

I am very touched by your post. I was in my mid-thirties when I came to England. Coming from East Coast New England the distance while thousands of miles is not nearly so distant as Italy from the Pacific Ocean. But still it was hard for me ... how hard for you without even the comfort of a common language. I don't know how true it is for you, but for me love looks very different now I'm in my 60's! No doubt it helps that I can visit home at least once a year since 1985.

rosaria williams said...

I left Italy when I was seventeen to attend college in the United States. Soon after graduation, I met my husband and got married a few months later. I returned to visit Italy twelve years later, the last time I saw my father.
I've been back one more time.

Brian Miller said...

We marry because we fall in love. What happens next takes a life of its own....how true is that...and you def have the tale to tell...and left much...it is all leaps of faith...

Hilary said...

They are all leaps of faith. Hopefully without regrets.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

We never know the full consequences of the choices we make and the paths we take in our youth. What an impact attending a U.S. college and falling in love with an American had on your life, Rosaria! In finding love, there was also so much loss. While many of us may not have such a dramatic life story, there are times when we all think about choices made and what these have meant -- as well as paths not taken. It's interesting to view it all from this vantage point of life. How could we have ever known then what our choices would mean now?

Elisabeth said...

I'm relieved that we face uncertainties such as life throws up, Rosaria. How dull it would be if we knew it all in advance, rather like knowing the plot pf a novel, or its ending before we can get to read it.

Rob-bear said...

I have a similar experience, all within one country. When I moved from home in Ontario to live on the prairies, I gave up a lot of experiences and relationships. There are a lot of "What ifs" in my life, but I seldom think about them. For me, life is what it is (and was), not what it might have been.

Sightings said...

It's hard to pull up roots; but if you don't then you're stuck where you are. But ... it must be hard to leave your family behind.

Maggie May said...

That must have taken real courage to leave a beautiful country and everyone there, family and friends. That must have been real love that made you do that.
We can never go back. I have been in the SW of England most of my life. I feel I belong here now and if I go back to my birthplace in the north, I find it immensely different from what is in my head. I too, left all my beloved cousins, aunties & uncles...... when I was 8 years. I missed them so much but now I feel really rooted here.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

becky said...

Swept away...sometimes that's a good thing, or not. For you, it seems sweeping away on the wings of love turned out well enough. I remember one post you wrote, in which your mother said, "I'm glad that worked out." I'm glad it worked out for you, changes or not.

Vera said...

Oh Rosaria, you came across as so sad in this blog. I have had many changes in my life, but I am blessed with the ability not to look back but to always look forward. Perhaps that is because I am an Aries person, perhaps because my life has been full of change which ultimately has always been for the better once I have readjusted. For me, the past is done, and God bless the future, and God bless you. Sending blessings and smiles your way.

yaya said...

I have many stories of relatives that left Greece never to return. I can't imagine never seeing my Mom or other family members again, or living in a country that I couldn't speak the language. My relatives managed to live here and thrive and raise families of their own. (without government assistance either) The choices we make are like a ripple in a pond...going out and touching lives other than our own. It sounds like you have had a good life and have made a difference in the world..maybe not the one you were born in, but the adopted country that is lucky to have you!

Lydia said...

This is a soulful essay that told me more about you than I had known before, made me appreciate your sacrifices, and made me wish you might write a book.

I married the first time at 24 and that morning knew I was making a big mistake, as I had never dreamed of marriage and was allowing myself to be swept along by some weird tide. It lasted six years, then I was single for 15 years before I married my husband. I do not think we'd have the 17+ years together that we have so far if I had not had the 15 years alone prior to "us."

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. you did take a huge leap of faith .. especially not being in the land of your birth. It takes courage and you were right - you are having a wonderful life .. and we can't look back, though you seem to have lost family and friends along the way.

With thoughts - let happiness be your letters now ... after all it is what you did for love. Cheers Hilary

rosaria williams said...

Thank you all for visiting, for leaving your thoughts here for me to read.
I'm a happy woman; but, even in happiness, there are holes, empty spaces, wishes that go unfulfilled.
Perhaps, this is why we write, or paint or make music.

This summer I'm bringing together a tad of this dream right in my front yard.
Stay tuned.

She Writes Here Now said...

I am so fascinated by your story. It touches me because I have parts of my own life that look like yours, but for such different reasons.

You don't romanticize, but instead you simply tell of the way it is and was and many people have such a hard time admitting to the conflict decisions leave that exists without perfect resolution. Life is all about not only our choices, but those of others and we are left to make of the lot what we will.

I struggle greatly with my own choices in this season and yet they are choices made many, many years ago. I want to find peace with myself for doing the best I knew how. Reading honest posts helps ease the pain of my mistakes and reminds me life is what it is. We have so little control, no matter how huge our good intentions.

xxamy

She Writes Here Now said...

I wondered, and I think I know the answer is a resounding yes, but would you do the same again?

rosaria williams said...

Responding to She Writes Here Now:
Would I do the same again?

The answer is Yes!!! Any other answer negates all the rest that is good and loving and defining.
Had I returned to Italy, I would not be writing this in English, to start. I would not have had the children I had, the experienced I had, the growth I had.

I am who I am because of that choice.

Amanda said...

we think we know what we are doing.... oh boy, so true --- i think life is the way it is to keep us from seeing too far ahead.....with any luck, we learn each day to relish in the sacred moments in front of us. but you are right rosaria, we do take big leaps of faith every day. and if we had a choice, i wonder if we would want it any other way?

Rachel Cotterill said...

So true - you can never know how things are going to work out, or what would have happened if you'd taken a different path.

oceangirl said...

What blessings to have those years with your husband.

Rosaria, I have a new address for my blog. It should be on my profile. Thank you Rosaria.

Kikit said...

i somehow felt sad after reading this post but we all need to sacrifice for something or someone dear to us. hugs.

That gentleman's lady said...

I understand what you mean.

I try not to regret those choices though, because I know I've made the best choices I could till now.

You have had much joy though, yes?

rosaria williams said...

JOY in big heaps and carts, enough to wipe tears, warm the chill, straighten me up for those days when life cuts you in pieces. Joy and peace.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, I know exactly what you mean, Rosaria.

Journeyin' Lady... said...

Hindsight is always interesting isn't it? If I would have. . . Maybe I should have, then... I wish I had, things would be better... I've always thought that our life will take the path it should if we go with our intuition.
Sounds like you love the life you chose but have lots of hindsight about what might of been.
Really good blog today!!!

amalia said...

ciao Rosaria ,bella la tua storia
un saluto dall'Italia

erin said...

this reminds me of something by kundera. let me find it. from the unbearable lightness of being: "We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come...We live everything as it comes, without warning..."

and so in a way we give up, but mostly we continue on in our linear forward fumbling path gaining and gaining and gaining:) but then i can say this as i've been fortunate enough to read your family's history. it stays with me.

xo
erin

Pat transplanted to MN said...

As we journey through life when we pause to look back over our shoulders, the past changes shape. I have had many of the same thoughts you expressed here as we prepare to go to PA next week, my old home, not as far as Italy, but with no more family, some distant cousins who are off on their own lives. I joke that when I want to see my relatives, I go to the cemetery, but that is telling and chilling. But lately I find my mind meandering, oh what if I had not gone to CA, if I had stayed in PA. It is so true that the choices we make when we are young make our world's different and our paths diverge. Hindsight....should'a's...oh my.