When my wife and I visited Rome we would stay at a magnificent apartment right on the Tiber at Ponte Sisto.
I had been to Rome many times before I met Margaret, and the city already had a lock on my heart. But being there with Margaret and her kids made for a new and even better experience.
Margaret took to Rome, well, like a Roman. She loved walking over the bridge to shop at the market in Campo de’ Fiori. She’d come back to the apartment exhilarated, with armfuls of flowers and food and gifts.
A few months after Margaret died, putting some of her ashes in the Tiber right there by the apartment building became a thing I felt I had to do.
Margaret’s son, Andy, came from Abu Dhabi to join me. Her daughter, Alice, could not be there in person, but she called in to sing Margaret’s favorite aria (‘O Mio Babbino Caro’). We played it on Andy’s phone as we put flowers and her ashes in the river.
After the river ceremony, Andy and I rode bikes to Testaccio and put some of Margaret’s ashes in the Protestant cemetery. It’s a wonderful place that is pure Margaret: Lots of flowers. Fragrant bushes. Tea olives. Cats. Palm trees. Keats is buried there. So is Shelley. And now Margaret is there, too. (Albeit somewhat illegally!)