Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Bonnie Raitt Strikes Again

If you want to follow the Bonnie Raitt reference, check out last week’s blog entitled “Love.”

This is going to be a very long blog. It’s a love story. It’s going to take me all day to write it, I can tell. I want it to be as perfect as it can be and I want to do it justice.

We all have core issues, whether we are aware of them or not. I have several. One of them is abandonment. I assume eventually I will be abandoned. I know love won’t last forever. And the reason is generally my other core issue. Underneath all that strength and self-esteem, I think I am not loveable, not desirable, not wantable. Of course I will be abandoned.

I’m no stranger to loss. Loss isn’t distributed evenly in life, but almost everyone has experienced loss. I have a pretty good size measure of it in my life. I don’t fear it, I just keep dealing with it. But I always worry about the loss that will be the straw that breaks this camel’s back.

When it comes to relationships, I try hard not to be jaded. I don’t want to be naive, but I don’t want to be pessimistic or create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Strangely enough, I see my fears most when I am in a healthy relationship. I guess it’s because there is something worth losing so I battle my inner panic that I’m going to be left any second.

I met Jay playing cards. I didn’t start playing cards to meet men, but there he was. I instantly liked him. I found out later, he instantly liked me too. It took a few weeks, but eventually we had our first date. In the parking lot, he asked me for a second date. And that was it, we just spent almost every day together after that. We just couldn’t help ourselves.

I tried to keep a reign on my heart initially. I even went on other dates. Whenever we would talk, Jay was always in tune to me. He knew my fears and worries. He would say things like, “I’m just talking here. I’m not going anywhere.”  Or, “I feel bad that you worried even for a minute.” When life was busy and we were in the middle of something, he would stop and say, “But Darcy, there is nothing more important than us.” And we would stop whatever we were doing and just be with each other for as long as we needed. He was amazing.

Six days after meeting me, Jay told me he loved me. He knew it was probably crazy to say, but he couldn’t help himself. I told him it was ok because I knew I loved him too, crazy or not. Sometimes, it just happens.

We are 50 though, and know that the future is precarious and unsettled. I stopped believing in forever a long, long time ago. Jay doesn’t even process time or future. We talked many times about all of this and finally came up with: We love what we are together. We have no intention of stopping it. That was it, the definition of what our love meant. I loved it. It was brilliant. Love means millions of things, but this was ours.

One of my favorite things, was how we called each other by our names. I would say, “My Jay” and he would say, “My Darcy.” He would often say things like, “What would my Darcy want?” or “I got that because it is my Darcy’s favorite.”

I quickly began to trust us because I had never felt like this before. All the evidence was there. Because Jay was there. I mean, he was really there. Shortly after we started dating, I had to attend a funeral for someone my age. I knew it was going to be really rough. Without hesitation, he came. My dad was in the hospital for a procedure. Without hesitation, he was there. He came with my favorite Starbucks and then sat there until my dad was released just so I could escort my dad while he went and brought my car around for us. I never had to ask. He always offered because he wanted to be there. He likes taking care of people. I’ve never met a male version of me before.

Jay would sometimes say to me, “I feel two feet taller now, just walking down the street.” I totally got what he meant. I was surprised at what a surprise one person could make in your life. Mine was definitely changed for the better.

One of the biggest events, was my annual fourth of July party. It’s quite a thing. Lots of people, 12-13 hours. Jay, on his own, offered to help with everything. In fact, he wanted to share the expenses. He set things up the day before. He waited on everyone the whole day. He was a better host than I was. I got phone calls and texts and comments after that day about Jay and what an incredible pair we made. It was a day to be remembered.

He also volunteered his life, his history. We told stories a lot about growing up. He has pictures all over the place. His walls, his phone, his computer. He was always showing me something. He took me to the house his family lived in when he was very small. He took me to the house where he brought up his children. He wanted to know about mine. We watched a video of my mom so he could see who she was. We had long lists of things we wanted to talk about because the only thing stopping us was the time to do it all.

Jay told me that he read once that the relationships that last, are the ones where both parties think they are the lucky ones. I thought that was an excellent thought. We would banter over and over with each other saying, “No, I’M the lucky one…” And he would tell the world if he could. He talked to everyone in my life. One night at a fire, he had a very lengthy conversation with one of my friends. She shared things with him, and he did with her. He told her that he had to pinch himself because he couldn’t believe he went to lunch and fell head over heels. When he met my sisters, he told both of them that he was in love with me. I would love to hear about the conversations he had with his friends, telling them how happy and lucky he was. He would expect people to tell him to slow down or imply that he wasn’t seeing everything clearly, but no one did. Not even his therapist. Everyone was just thrilled for him and for us.

Then there was all the fun stuff. The compatibility stuff where we just plain enjoyed the same things. My friend told me how happy she was to see me doing so many things. Finally, she said, finally someone who is active and doing things. You’ve waited a long time for that, Darcy. You guys are always doing something cool together. So happy you and Jay found each other.

Picnics were amazing. Walking hand in hand, just about anywhere. Concerts where we laughed and danced all night. Dinners, lunches, breakfasts. Movies, drive-ins. Festivals, camping, parties. Fires, comedy clubs.

The laughter was so healing. It may seem like a small thing to share the same sense of humor, but trust me when I tell you it is not. We could have gone on the road the way we could roll off each other’s lines. He would repeatedly tell me how fun it was that we always got each other’s references. Growing up at the same time lends itself to knowing the same SNL skits, movies, songs, and so on. Jay would do these facial expressions and voices that would have me rolling. One night we had been packing boxes, and the next morning he asked me if we had been drinking and he forgot. We were laughing so hard while we working that our stomachs had hurt. It just was so natural for us. So much joy.

And then there was the music. Music is part of my soul and always has been. But Jay loved music in a way that I have rarely encountered. I found myself reconnecting with music because of him. The radio was on more. I found my playlists and found myself reaching for it. Whenever we were together (which was all the time) Jay would have a playlist ready for us. He came to Karaoke one night where I have been going for a long time. He had never done it before, but he walked right up and sang, “I can’t help falling in love with you” in a romantic Elvis voice. He made it crystal clear that he was unashamedly singing to me. As soon as he hit the last note he walked over and hugged me in one of our embraces. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I know almost every person in that bar. And most of them told me I was glowing and they were thrilled to meet him because he obviously adored me.

How could I not mention the chocolate? We both love dark chocolate and Jay made sure there was always a supply. He preferred 65% cocoa, so I adjusted from my usual 85% because it was a small sacrifice to make. After a couple of weeks, somehow we discovered that he thought I preferred 65% so we were both trying to accommodate the other one. We laughed over our misunderstanding, both wanting to please the other. Now THAT is what relationships are supposed to be like.

But my favorite? It was the dancing. That touched my heart and set me on fire. A girl considers herself lucky if she can find a guy that will dance at all. Most guys don’t. Period. I will never forget the first time Jay took me dancing. We got out on the floor and I had tingles from head to toe. I knew he liked to dance, but I had no idea he was an amazing dancer. He is skilled but also fun. He is incredibly handsome but he is never so sexy as when he is on the dance floor. We danced and danced. Fast, slow, didn’t matter. We could be silly or serious. During a slow song, during that first dance date, he told me he knows it isn’t the proper protocol, but he could see us dancing to that song as our wedding dance.

One time, we were out dancing to a band he had found online. There were four to five different women who couldn’t wait to talk to us during band breaks because they said we had made their evening. They just thought we were the most amazing couple- fun, sexy, making everyone smile. Hell, the band even came up and introduced themselves to us. One woman took a bunch of pictures and texted them to me. I am never that girl. Never. I am never the one on the floor that everyone envies. I am always the one watching with envy.

We danced all the time at home. We would dance in the shower full of soap. We would dance down the hall to get to a room. We would dance naked sometimes. We loved dancing. And it was beautiful.

But life isn’t all fun and games. Especially for 50-year-old adults. There is life to be lived. We would be there as best we could for each other, helping with tasks and errands. He had to close on the house that he raised his kids in so we would meet there. We would spend hours in the hot weather, no air conditioning, and work on the garage and basement. It was dirty, hot, smelly work but we did it. There would be a bump in the road every here and there, but overall it was mostly amazing. We would get tons of stuff done.

We started swapping cars because it was easier for him to move things in my vehicle. I loved sharing each other’s cars and helping each other. He had to move his apartment too so we also spent hours packing boxes, rifling through things, purging stuff. There were movers to call, apartments to visit, etc.. Again, some minor bumps in the road, but I loved accomplishing stuff with him. We have different skill sets and I would think about what an amazing team we were. Between the two of us, we could do just about anything I think.

And then it suddenly broke down.

Jay apologized for starting something that he couldn’t finish. He realized that he has too many things to work on in his life. In fact, he feels he can only do one thing at a time, which is obviously a huge problem because no one gets to do only one thing at a time. We all have to work, take care of our health, our homes, our families. Life requires multi-tasking. For Jay, a relationship is the dispensable item on the list. For me, it is the foundation for anything else. Love is never a bad investment. Never.

His perspective is very, very different from mine. I saw hours of working together under tough conditions but laughing while doing it. He saw the few moments of stress as overshadowing the rest. He sees that he was making picnics for us when he should have been working on other things. I see a picnic that he thoroughly enjoyed with someone he loved. That same person then helped him with hours of labor packing and cleaning. Surely there was so much more benefit than cost. But that is my view.

I told him that accepting his decision has been very, very hard. I saw us as gifts to each other. We were both clearly starving for what we offered to each other (and both verbalized exactly that). I know without a doubt that my life with Jay was far, far better than my life without him. And from everything he said, everything he showed, his life was far better with his Darcy too. But that’s my opinion.

I know when you truly love someone, you have to want what is best for them. Sometimes that means giving up what you want. I love Jay that way. So I want to be able to say that as much as it hurts me, as much as he is what is best for me, if I’m not good for him I need to walk away. The problem is, in my heart of hearts, I don’t believe walking away is what is best for him. I know it’s not my place to say, but I don’t believe it. I can’t make myself believe it. I do have to accept it though.

I had been processing this with my counselor Scott as it was starting to happen. In psychology, we call it sabotage. No one can say for sure, but to us it sure looks like a classic textbook case. A man struggles to make progress, meets someone who he loves deeply, she happens to have a lot of skills and experience that directly correlate to the things he struggles with. He walks away instead of trying to make it work. His brain tells him he doesn’t feel love from me. Why? Because I make a joke while we are cleaning that directly relates to an activity we did the day before that I thought he would think was funny. Instead, he feels like I am jabbing him. So the hours I spent on my hands and knees cleaning for him didn’t feel like love to him. It didn’t feel like I cared when I kissed and hugged him every few minutes just because I like to touch him. He misunderstood a joke. Sometimes it felt like he had to work hard to misread me.

Now I am going through the embarrassment of telling people. They all react the same. No one can believe it. Everyone is shocked. Two of my friends actually cried. One person said, “No Darcy, this isn’t just a loss you have to face. This was different. He was different. I would have opened up  my heart to him too.” I never for one second thought either one of us was perfect. But when you look at the big picture? I knew we were lucky that the issues were so small in comparison to the very large great things. And everyone else saw it too. They thought we were lucky, just like I do. Just like Jay used to.

Sometimes, it hurts so much that my throat closes off and I can’t breathe. I can’t even imagine hearing music now that isn’t attached to him. We had a special playlist for the bedroom. We would sing lyrics to each other while intimate. Who does that? Jay and Darcy did.

This camel’s back is broken. Shattered.

I feel so dumb. I am 50, not 15. How did I not know to not let a man into every corner of my life? Now I have nowhere to go or be without the touch of his memory. Then I go back to my friend’s comment and I feel a little less dumb. Everyone around us admired our love and connection. I wasn’t a fool.

I told Frankie, my son, about him. It has been years since I told him that someone was going to be around. I told him that I wouldn’t even involve him if I didn’t think that this guy was going to be around. He just said, “they always leave anyway, Mom.” I haven’t had the courage yet to tell him he was right again. Once again, I fucked it up with my kid. I thought I had it right this time.

I don’t want anyone to tell me I will get through this. I hate hearing that. I don’t want to. Getting through it, leaves me where I was. I don’t want my life back before I met Jay. I am sick of the existential crisis I live in. No one to love. Lots of friends and support that I am blessed to have but feel terribly guilty because it doesn’t make me happy. I am grateful, but it isn’t what fills the hole in my heart. Then I feel like shit because I know I’m lucky to have so many people in my life. I hate that existence. I want the life I had with Jay.

Bottom line? Bonnie Raitt wins again. I can’t make him love me. I can’t convince him, even though I tried. I even begged him.  I know his heart, and if he knew exactly how much this has hurt me, it would devastate him. But his answer is that he should have broken up with me sooner. I told him he should have never taken to me lunch. Never started. But that is not the answer I want him to come to. I want him to finish what he started. I want him to not walk away. I want him to realize what we had and how damn lucky we were to have it. I want him to realize that working on us would open up a whole word of opportunity to work on all the other things he wants to work on. A loving, supportive partner who works equally hard on herself would be a gift, not a deterrent.

I want him to come home to his Darcy.

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Losing

The older you get, the more you lose stuff. Am I right? A couple of weeks ago, my friend Catya lost a 20 dollar bill she needed to pay for her ticket. She found it a few days later. Then last week she lost her debit card. Bad streak. What was worse was the time and frustration it cost to get it replaced.

We were walking in the woods this week and ran into Glo. She had lost her dog. Her dog is also a border collie mix life Taffy. Taffy and she have gone on many romps chasing deer or other critters. They always come back. This time though, she had been gone almost an hour. We divided up and eventually she came prancing down the lane looking like she didn’t have a care in the world. Taffy has that one mastered too.

I started rehearsals this week for this Christmas show I am super, duper excited to be part of. I printed out my music and I faithfully practice every day. That is nothing compared to what it’s like to be with this ginormous group of talented women singing in person. I held my own, but had to mark up my music here and there with proper notes, rests, pronunciation of words, etc.. I was feeling pretty proud of myself and competent until I got home and realized I lost my music. Good one. Sure, I can print out another set but it won’t have all my valuable notes (no pun intended) and reminders.

Things can lose things. Take my car battery for instance. This week it lost its charge. Lost its power. Got “drained” they say. Now the dealership has the car because we don’t know WHY it lost the charge. Not having your car start is always a pleasant, unexpected addition to your day.

Then there are losses that can surprise a nation. One word: Hilary.

I lose my patience a lot lately. I don’t know why, but crisis, or just plain people needing me for something doesn’t usually happen at convenient times when I have nothing else to do but be altruistic. So I lose my patience and say things in my head like, “Really? Can’t I just do such and such without having to do such and such?”

I have lost my mind too many times to count.

I have lost my sanity equally as often. Some would say I haven’t gotten it back yet. Hell, some might say I never had it to begin with.

What I really want to know is, WHY THE HECK CAN’T I LOSE A FEW POUNDS???

More proof that life isn’t fair :).


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Frankie

I’m learning a lot about cross-country this year. I’m also learning a lot about where the schools are all over Western New York. It’s crazy. Fifty minutes to drive to the school, and the race is about 11 minutes. At first, Frankie told me I didn’t need to come to the meets because it wasn’t a big deal. But one week I was running late and I got a call on my phone. Hmmm… I think in spite of what he says it’s important I be there. You know teenage boys. They want to keep their distance, so this sports thing is making me feel warm inside.

I can’t even possibly explain what it is like to ride home in a car with him for 50 minutes. But I’m going to try anyway. A video would be much better, but if they know you are recording them, the gig is up. Anyone with a teenager knows that the seat next to the stereo buttons is the most important seat in the car. Usually, if I hear a song and forget myself and start to sing or dance, that is Frankie’s signal to change the station. I know, he’s a punk.

Last night was different though. It didn’t matter what I did or not. He was on a roll. Fifty minutes of flipping through stations. Rap is not one of my favorite genres. That is, unless Frankie is the one doing it. When he knows all the words it always amazes me. But when he doesn’t? He makes crap up on the fly and it absolutely kills me. It makes me laugh, then it scares me. What the heck goes on in that kid’s head?

Whatever station is next is just that. Classical. Frankie makes up a quick rap to classical about how the Pilgrims (I assume inspired by his upcoming favorite holiday of Thanksgiving) had developed the first flutes (inspired by the flute song on the radio) the sound of which would lure turkeys to the feast (inspired by the lone live turkey that was sitting by the side of the expressway).

Jazz? No problem. He starts dancing like a very, very chill dude. He mimics a guy who is probably mellowed up by smoking weed, and talks about being “jazzed as shit” by the way the melody has carried him.

Suddenly, he breaks from music entirely and sees a car in the other lane crossing over into ours. He yells at the top of his lungs, “Hey mister! You are smothering me. Smothering me I’m telling you. Man, I need my space!”

Spanish station? He starts chattering rapidly the speed that Spanish usually sounds like. He doesn’t know much of anything in Spanish except counting but he can make stuff up like no one can. He is especially good at the Canadian stations. He is the star French student at school so he throws out random words that sound like he’s fluent.

When I finally get home and walk in the house, I tell Dad I am exhausted and there is something wrong with my son. Without skipping a beat, Frankie puts on his most serious face and says, “Mom, that really hurts my feelings. Besides, that never happened.”

Many times his humor is inappropriate for his age, but he gets away with it because I crack up laughing. He’s funny as hell and creative too. He just tells me that I need to get out more because I’m amused too easily. He has definitely come a long way from his newborn picture that is the logo for Baby Coop Publishing. Did you know that was his actual picture? That cute, perfect newborn face.

Anyhow, I was going to blog about all my new genetic knowledge. Then I was going to blog about “Oc-fuckin-tober” as tomorrow is the six-year anniversary of Tim’s death, which I celebrated by having my first full-blown panic attack in several years. But instead, I decided to write about my nutty kid. He was a bright spot for me. I’m sure words don’t come close to making you laugh the way a video would, but I thought I would try.


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A Challenge for You

I’ve written about the months that I spent helping my dad downsize his house for a one-bedroom apartment. If it wasn’t such exhausting work, I would advertise my organizing business more. I mean, we had only had one extra box left. The day we moved him we also had all but one box unpacked. That stuff doesn’t happen by luck.

I try to always keep a Good Will box going. Whenever I notice something we don’t need, I get rid of it. So when I make a concerted effort to do a house purge, I am always shocked at how much I have to get rid of again. It’s amazing how fast it builds up.

Summer asked me one day when I was driving home from Dad’s if it made me want to go home and throw all my stuff out. I said no because I was usually too exhausted to even move my arms. But it stuck in my head. Damn Summer. She has a way of doing that.

I gave myself a goal. I want to try to get rid of one thing in my house every day for a year. That would be a lot of items. I wondered if six months was more realistic, but so far I’ve been doing it. I’m not even sure what day I started.

I started talking to my neighbor’s about music. They recommended I download Itunes so I can upload my music cd’s onto my computer. This is kind of cheating, but now I am ripping one cd every day. Then I check all the songs on the list and delete those that I don’t like at all. The ones that I think are ok but wouldn’t really choose to listen to, stay on the album. The ones I actually want to hear go on the playlist. It’s amazing (at least with the ones I’ve started with) how few of the songs on an album I actually want to hear. After that, get this… I am putting the actual cd in the give away box. I’m going to get rid of all of them.

That will probably take up several months so that is why I say it is kind of like cheating. But I plan to keep getting rid of things. Americans are massive consumers. I don’t want my kids to ever have to deal with all my stuff. I scan what I can and then get rid of it.

That is my challenge to you. You don’t have to ditch your cds, but pick some sort of time goal and get rid of one thing every day and see what happens. Almost everyone who downsizes feels relieved. There is so much freedom in having less to take care of. People who hold on to their things, tend to be the ones who are always trying to get more or worried about getting their share. There is no freedom with that.

Go ahead and share your stories. My writing is getting boring anyway. Let me know if you take the challenge, or let me know if you have already done some purging and felt good about it. Happy garbage day 🙂


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Sing It Anyways

Thanks for all the love and concern from last week’s blog. And it may seem odd to say, but thank you to everyone who was able to be angry with us and for us. Pushing us to get over it was not helpful and it certainly was too soon. I don’t have a great update. Basically, there is nothing we can do because the laws are geared to help perps and not victims. We will have to cough up four grand to get a privacy fence if we want to continue to live here. We have had serious conversations as a family about moving, but for now the fence will have to do. I don’t think we could sell the house anyway without the fence because it is too obvious of an issue.

I considered last week’s blog a memo to the universe that we are done handling hard stuff here. Someone didn’t read it though because I got a call yesterday from my doctor’s office. The nurse informed me that I suddenly have full blown diabetes and need to make immediate changes for this life-long disease. What? Out of the blue? Obviously, they didn’t get the memo. However, due to a bunch of reasons I don’t want to take the time to write, I requested another test which I took this morning. Results will be in next week. I have legit reasons to suspect the test results they got might not have been accurate. I have postponed panic until the next set of results. (By the way, it is NOT helpful to tell people they just need to improve their diet or that diabetes isn’t a big deal. ESPECIALLY for those of us that have already been spent on handling ridiculous amounts of stress and loss. There is no simple life-long disease when you are already at the end of your rope.)

But the good news? Well, I am in a show that is opening tonight. It’s all music from Broadway shows. Last week I was quite panicked about it. I didn’t know how I could possibly get up on stage and sing and smile and be entertaining. I could barely function. I felt empty inside. I just told myself that it would have to be like all of those times I have to pull up my big girl pants and conduct counseling sessions. I just do it. I just have to. And most of the time, it ends up being as good for me as it is for my clients.

Three rehearsal nights this week, then three performances. Six out of seven days. How was I going to pull that off with all that other stress?

Turns out, it has been the best thing for me. You can’t really sing and stay down. It’s just not possible. Music feeds my soul. By the way, theater people (for the most part) are also extremely funny and entertaining to be around. Spending so much time there immersed in music has been healing for me. Or at the least, an excellent distraction from neighbors that hurt us and brand new diseases to learn all about.

I only get my parts right slightly more than half the time. So you should come see it. Either you will be impressed with yet another thing I can do, or you will get to laugh your ass off at me when I’m the only one that raises the wrong hand and then freaks out and makes it even more obvious that I screwed up. I already have my comedic lines ready for my duet in case I totally blow that one too. It’s in East Aurora at Hamlin Park, tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm, Sunday at 2:30. Come and forget about the tough stuff for a while.


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Ode to a Dancer

Today I want to write about someone who I lost recently. In total, I only interacted with her three times over the last year. I engaged in many conversations about her, but only had direct contact with her a handful of times. Yet, I felt like she made an impact on my life. She inspired me. Some people are just like that.

First, let me say that she was Irish. That says a lot, right? I’m sure she could drink me under the table with her eyes closed. Her personality was larger than life. Her life’s motto was, “I’m not here for a long time, but I’m here for a good time.” She is one of the few people who could boast that she lived true to her philosophy, true to her ideals.

The last time I sat at her kitchen table, we were ironically talking about my mother and the experience of her death. My mom and I were close as close could be. Everyone was worried about me losing her because I depended on her so much. But I was one of the people who was able to accept her passing the most easily. Why? Because she was ready to go. We had sincere, deep conversations and she was completely at peace with moving on. She felt she had a fulfilling life and was prepared- and actually looking forward to- meeting the God of her faith.

Mrs. O’Dea chimed in about how she identified with some of that. The conversation turned to some of the frustrating ways that the medical system dealt with my mom and how she unnecessarily suffered. This led to her sharing a story about her own medical condition. She had been living a miraculous life the last six years. She had an issue that the doctors wanted her to be treated for and she made the decision to defy treatment and the odds. And she was sitting at her table six years later, enjoying life more fully than most people do.

She was a dance teacher in her younger years. I’ve seen pictures of her. She was truly stunning. I ran into her about a month ago out at a store and told her she looked like a movie star. I wasn’t trying to flatter her, it was the truth. It wasn’t because of her looks in and of themselves, but the way she carried herself. Confident. Bold. Colorful.

We usually ended up talking about karaoke. I regret never following through on going out with her, but you know how time passes and before you know it, it’s too late.

What I won’t forget about our last get together, is her enthusiasm about her latest favorite CD. It was all Disney music, but they were performances by folks like Ella Fitzgerald. The conversation would be going on full force, and she would suddenly hush us all up. “Listen to this part,” she would say. And she would close her eyes dramatically and then say something like, “Mmmm… that was gorgeous.” As a musician myself, I loved watching her. She truly let the music move her. She was genuine and she was contagious. Then she would announce, “If you aren’t going to sing and you aren’t going to dance, well, you might as well be dead.” She rocked.

Then there would be moments when she would talk about her son and how much she loved his curly, blond hair when he was a baby. The fondness in her voice and the softness in her eyes, is something only another mother can truly identify with. It was like he was still four years old, rather than the 45-year-old man he is today.

Anyhow, how ironic that less than two weeks after our visit and conversation, she died suddenly. Loss of any kind can trigger your own history, but this one definitely hit me. She was 72, just like my mom was when she died. She had been married to the love of her life for 51 years. My parents had been married 52. Even though I may not have known for a long time, knowing her was a GREAT time.

I have often closed my eyes in the last week and just remembered her face while listening to that music. I want to live my life like that. I want to allow myself to savor moments like that. Especially because I know all too well, it can all be over way, way, way too soon.

Thanks, Mrs. O’Dea. You will be sorely missed, but remembered with great admiration.


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Journey

Even though I’m a trained musician, I’m a big nerd when it comes to music. I know songs, but I don’t know the group that sings them. I might not the name of a music group, but I won’t know the names of the singers in the group. And I rarely listen to anything current so I’m massively outdated.

When I sing at Karoake, I don’t sing anything current. How could I? I don’t know anything.

When my friend asked me if I wanted to go see Journey and The Steve Miller Band this week, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t been to many concerts in my life. In high school, I saw Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin. (Hey! That’s one name I actually know!) Later in life I saw Billy Joel. When Tim was sick I flew to Chicago to see Carole King and James Taylor.

I was getting ready to go to the concert on Tuesday and told Colin about it. I told him I had no idea what The Steve Miller Band played but he told me I would recognize a bunch of songs once I got there. He was right, I did.

I haven’t been to many concerts so I can’t compare. But I had the time of my life. After I got over the shock of having to pay $11 for a single beer, the rest of the night was easy.

Of course, I can’t shut off my sociology mind, even if I want to. I found it fascinating (and fun) how you can interact with total strangers because you are connecting at some event. I mean we were high-fiving and yelling at the top of our lungs, acting like we were all best friends. Then the last encore is over and everyone walks quickly to their car without even a backward glance. Not even a goodbye. Cracked me up. Good fun.

There were some of those not so shining moments. One of the guys in our row (of course, even with how “close” we all were, I didn’t even know his first name) leaned over to yell something and poked me in the forehead. Even broke the skin. He gave me a slurred apology, but I still have a small mark in case I forget the great time I had there.

A while later, I was standing with both hands high in the air singing at the top of my lungs. I was holding that 11 dollar beer in one of my hands when suddenly, SWOOSH! It was gone. In a flash. Same nameless forehead poker wacked my beer out of hands and sent it sailing down the row. I got another slurred apology. I looked around and saw some people looking shocked at the spilled beer on them and asking each other where the heck it came from. I yelled down to them and apologized. But you know how friendly concert folk are. The lady gave it back to me because it wasn’t empty. Hell yeah, I drank it! That damn thing cost 11 bucks!

Mostly, it was just a blast to know all those songs and remember what it was like when I was young and listening to them. I was saying that Frankie even knows a lot of Journey songs. The guy ahead of me asked me how I got him into it because he couldn’t get his seven year old daughter to get into it. I told him Frankie hears it in school during gym class. I am quite positive if he knew how much I loved them, he wouldn’t have gotten into it so much…lol!

Great night. Singing “Open Arms” and “Don’t Stop Believing” along with dozens of other songs was just a blast. So next time you want to go to a great concert, don’t forget to invite me! (P.S. I will let you pay for the beer!)