21 OLIVE TREES is more than just a book. It is my personal journey of transformation portrayed as a collection of letters and poetry I wrote to my son Blaise, after his death. After each of the letters, 21 fable narratives unfold, further illuminating this intimate look at coping with loss and acceptance that intrigues, inspires, and gives hope to readers looking for answers about life and death, and those who long to transform their grief into something beautiful.
I chose the title 21 OLIVE TREES because my son was 21 when he died, and we are planting 21 olive trees in his honor at Rifugio Isola Del Sole, an animal sanctuary I Co-Founded in Sicily. The olive tree is a symbol of many things, including longevity and peace, and the planting of them, and this book is my way of keeping my son’s story alive. The letters provide an insight into my shift from grief to understanding as I process the circumstances of my son’s untimely death.
Blaise was not only my soul mate, but my partner in crime on so many different adventures. I started writing these letters to him just about five weeks after his passing, which happened in the Western United States while I was abroad collecting stories of hope and transformation in Ethiopia, in early August 2019. He had a brief, yet very intense life here on earth. We lived together on two different continents, traveled seemingly everywhere around the world together, often to the most remote and unusual areas (such as Lappland in Northern Finland). All the while we had amazing and profound conversations, ate the craziest foods and exchanged as much laughter and eccentricities as we did confrontations.