I remember the first time I saw and heard Andrea Bocelli. It was 1997 on public tv during fundraising week. How do I remember? Am I some kind of music memory savant? No. I remember because I was wallpapering my kitchen.

That was what I was doing when the phone call came. A friend had died; he had been very sick for some time. He had survived a lung transplant that extended his life a few years, but he had begun to fail again. I remember thinking about his wife and how lost she must feel after such a long struggle.

That song always makes me think of her. “Time to Say Goodbye.” It isn’t actually the correct translation of the Italian lyrics, it is a phrase added to the song in English to make it suitable for another event, a retirement. (I think the correct translation is more like “I will go with you.”)

I remember seeing her at the hospital after his transplant. I remember how sick he had looked before the operation and how well he looked afterward. I remember her giggling and happy when he came home from the hospital. She adored him. And he loved her. You could see it on both of their faces. You could hear it in the way they spoke to each other.

I remember him using the time after the operation, he felt so much stronger, to make sure everything was good at the house – he made curtains (yes, he could sew; he had been a boy scout!), painted, remodeled. He wanted the house to be trouble-free for her when he passed and he worked hard at that.

I remember the stories they shared about how they met. I remember them bringing dinner to us on the day we moved into our house and telling us about some of their own homeowner experiences. I remember them together. Until he passed away, I don’t really remember seeing one without the other.

It was hard to get her to come out after he passed. She stayed, for a while at the house he had he had so faithfully prepared. Then I lost track of her. I heard she moved in with her son. She was truly heartbroken after he passed away; she missed him so much because she loved him so much; or maybe it was because of the way he loved her,  Either way is just lovely.

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