Sunday, February 24, 2013

Just Keep Singing

I find myself searching for physical proof of a relationship that has existed since we were 14 years old:  Emails, letters, texts, photographs, anything that solidly screams yes, you were here just a moment ago; we loved one another.

Like my good friend the year before, my dear friend, Shauna, died suddenly and unexpectedly on January 30th.  Complications of pneumonia.  Something unforeseen befell Shauna and we lost her in an instant.  While I don't expect this space to become a running obituary of friends and family, I do recognize this feeling of paralysis must be dealt with openly so I can move forward.  As it turns out,  I've always had this notion that moving forward is the wrong thing to do, that it's outright disrespectful.  Moving on with my life feels like a slap in the face of theirs.  So, for a year, since Suzanne's death, I've barely moved...or so it seems to me.  In fact, it's been pointed out to me,  I've done more in the last year than I've done in ages, including actually moving, but I've done it with my eyes closed, or my ears plugged up, and most definitely with a wool blanket over my head.  And I'm finally realizing, I can't expect to pay any respect to anyone, living or dead, that way.

I know a lot of people say this about people they've lost but, in this case, never a truer word was said about someone:  Shauna was THE most positive, loving, giving, religious-faith driven person I've ever met.  She never had a unkind word to say, never.  She smiled in the face of a broken heart, a lost artifact, or a dirty diaper.  She strove to lift people up.  Her entire life was giving, giving, giving.  In the 30 years I've know her, she's crossed state lines to support everything I ever did, or tried to do.  Sean never missed a party; there wasn't a type of food made that she wouldn't eat; she loved red wine and salsa dancing and spoke multiple languages.  At the top of Shauna's list of things she absolutely loved and wouldn't miss a chance to do was singing.  Sean would sing at a dinner table if given the opportunity.  We sang at our high school graduation and she sang every Sunday at her church.  She actually spent a year of her life, traveling the world, singing for people.  Sometimes I wondered if she didn't make a pact with herself when she was young:  Try anything once.  I often asked her, over the years, how she stayed so intensely faithful to a god she'd never seen and she just smiled at me, with nary a judgement in her eyes or her voice, 'Oh, Mol', she'd say, 'It's in there...', as if I might get there too someday.  Shauna impacted the world one person at a time.  And then, just a little over five years ago, she changed the life of the man she met and married and together they brought life to two adorable girls.

It's the people that are left behind that suffer the brunt of it.  It's Shauna's family and friends and her two daughters who lose out, we all rationally understand this.  But, what I'm also finally coming to understand is that we're also the only ones who can keep her spirit alive, the only ones who can share her love for life, her positive attitude, that never-ending giving back to others.
And we're the ones that have to keep on singing.

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
'cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you can find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
You see 
Its easy
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
'cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

--cat stevens
(one of shauna's very favorite songs)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Piano: a most sentimental happening

I thought this so sweet and so sad at the same time. A good friend who lived across the hall from me in NYC sent it to me. He was actually the third owner of our old piano and the one who nearly broke his back bringing it down three flights of stairs to the landing in our old building. When he sent me the link, he reminded me that even our antiquarian neighbor, Gita, used to stop and play the keys before she made the long trek upstairs to the top floor.  Piano's are a funny thing, unlike guitars, which can seem a dime a dozen, piano's seem to hold a history in it's keys.  Or maybe in that firm, upright back of theirs.