As we walk through life, we experience life in many ways. We record a highlight reel of memories that store little pockets of energy embedded in us. It is a rollercoaster; just when you feel like you’re at the top, you find yourself descending, helpless in front of the forces of gravity. Before you know it, you’re at rock bottom, dwelling in your grief. You feel as though life comes to a stop, and you’re alone, picking up pieces of your heart. There is only so much you can adhere to yourself.
Laura Formentini’s book TwentyOne Olive Trees portrays the journey of grief through a collection of fables and poetry. A companion you can take with you wherever you go. The book is carefully etched with the emotions of someone who knows what it all feels like.
Joy and grief are a part of life’s rollercoaster. With that being said, everything has an end, and so does this rollercoaster ride. This begs the question when we die, where do we go? Is there more to life than eventually turning to dust?
The thought of oblivion is frightening, the sheer nothingness staring back at you as you question yourself.
Have I lived enough?
Are my loved ones happy with me?
Amidst these questions, we, as beings, search for our purpose, our reason for being. How morbid is the reality of knowing that everything you are working for will eventually turn to dust?
It’s humbling yet devastating.
Behind Laura Formentini’s beautiful book is a heartbreaking story of loss. The passing of Laura’s son, Blaise, served as the catalyst for this important piece of literature. She was on her trip to Africa when the news first reached her. To know that the worst has occurred, and you can’t do anything about it, is a pain unfathomable.
Blaise and his mom were explorers, two soulmates tied together as they traversed the globe, etching their epic tales while in motion. A love that truly transcends space and time.
The book stems from a place that is raw and true. For readers going through the same, it is the perfect shoulder to cry on in times of disparity.
We often feel helpless. The feeling of not being able to do enough overburdens your shoulders as you try to adjust to the harsh truth. Laura channels these hard-hitting feelings in her book, which resonates with the reader on a deeper level.
One can vividly experience her emotions going into each character in her fables, with the pain pulsating through her poems. When going through grief, you often find yourself alone and visionless, but Laura’s book pulls you out of that state of darkness and gives you hope to believe in.
But what makes the book so special?
Life After Death
Laura shares her take on what happens after death.
The book shows the reader the way of hope. It highlights the concept of transformation. That life was a process of metamorphosis that eventually would transform you into a butterfly, leaving your chrysalis behind.
We all have our struggles as we go through life, and coping with losing a loved one is one of those struggles. After death, the person lives on in the form of energy stored in memories that will live on forever.
Even though our lives may never be restored, the moments you shared with your loved ones will live on forever. The legacy you leave, the people you meet, and the world you create for yourself make life worth living.
Laura had her metamorphosis while grieving Blaise’s passing. She decided to vent her thought process in her book. From a disparity, she sowed her olive tree, which gave birth to twenty-one pieces of wisdom to share with the world. Her olive tree is now a shade too many currently experiencing grief.
The key is to accept the laws of nature and the process of birth, death, and transformation. But that isn’t the book’s only message in the quest to ease our burdens.
On A Lighter Note
In a time when TV shows and movies are the most vivid depictions of human thought and storytelling, the ones embedded in our memory are the stories grandma told us. These stories didn’t have flashy characters or plot twists, except morals and words of wisdom that we carry with us forever.
Laura Formentini has beautifully narrated fables with the same folk-fantasy-driven aesthetics. The reason behind this choice was to ease her readers into the bitter realities of life, delivering serious lessons with a lighter tone. She believes people are too caught up in the mundaneness of life. They have forgotten how to smile and enjoy. The story helps you indulge yourself in beautiful tales that’ll help you escape the overwhelming sadness.
The title of her book is a tribute to 21 years of Blaise’s life and 21 anecdotes of wisdom we should always remember.