As I went for my morning walk today, I had to stop and admire the nature around me: I was stricken by how beautiful and green everything was.

I don’t live in an exciting area of Italy; actually, it is most likely the most boring of all. Yet the countryside can be beautiful, when the sky is blue and the rice fields are almost ready for reaping.

My positive thoughts were short lived, though. They have been interrupted by a phone call from my mother, who let me know that a cousin of mine who was just in her fifties, has died of cancer.

She had been ill for a long time, so this wasn’t a surprise, but it serves as a reminder of how I need to live in the present, appreciate the now and stop thinking about the past and worrying about the future.

Life is too short, and too fragile, we must learn to appreciate what we have and live every day as if it were our last.

I will be attending her funeral on Friday and I wish there was anything I could do to help her family through these difficult times.