Today is All Saints' Day, in Italy the day of the dead. It's the day that everyone visits the cemeteries to take flowers to the graves of relatives who have died. The flower of death here is the chrysanthemums (never give an Italian chrysanthemums as a present!) and by now the cemeteries will be awash with chrysanths of all shapes and sizes.
I have only in-laws to visit here, and they had mostly died before I knew them. I've lost my own parents and grandparents, and that leaves a sense of loss far beyond the two years it is "supposed" to take to get over a bereavement. But, however deep the loss, when older generations die there is a sense of naturalness and inevitability about it which is quite different to the shock of the death of someone younger. This afternoon I started thinking about two friends of mine who died when they were only in their early thirties, both of whom had changed my life in ways they probably never imagined. Their deaths hit me very, very hard. Tom, David - this post and these chrysanthemums are for you.