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!)

Andy putting yellow and blue flowers in first
The flowers and water urn made
a long, gentle train downstream
We walked down the riverbank waiting
for the water urn to go under
Protestant cemetery in Testaccio
where we put some of her ashes
A photo Margaret took of Andy and Alice
on the Lungotevere
Margaret in the apartment window
over Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere
As we put flowers and the water urn in the Tiber, Alice sang Margaret’s favorite aria. On speakerphone. From South Carolina. You had to be there to believe it. This is the actual recording…