I have many things on my list to write about, but life and death take precedence. I wish this post weren't about the latter. Yesterday a gutsy, funny, fiercely independent woman, a member of my business networking group, died after a long battle with cancer. For two years I saw her every Wednesday morning at 7AM, when she joined the rest of we bleary-eyed designers, accountants, insurance agents, and sundry other professionals for breakfast in order to promote a post-retirement career about which she was more passionate than any entrepreneur: cabaret singer and songwriter. While the rest of us gave 45-second "elevator pitches" about customer service and the value of planning ahead, Dottie offered snippets from songs about skewering computers and political correctness. She performed all over the country at conventions, hospitals, retirement homes, and other places where people really needed a laugh. She was no Barbara Cook or Bobby Short, but I don't think they could make people smile any wider than Dottie could.
I had no idea of the gravity of her illness, and felt like someone punched me in the stomach when I got the email. The funeral is tomorrow. Baruch dayan emet. Enough already; the universe is overdue for providing me with some really good news.
Really good news -- that Dottie loved others and was loved, and that she was useful in the world. Those things are so UNtrivial.
I am no stranger to deep grief, and I know good news when I see it. Good news, sadly, is rarely disconnected from its shadowy side. May all who loved her feel the comfort of her life well-lived as a grace note in the midst of sorrow.
Thank you so much...your words reminded me of a lot of good things that were very overshadowed at the moment.
I am so sorry about your friend, aa. I think when someone dies, the only good news is that we were honored to know them and that they touched our hearts somehow. And... that knowing them will never go away- it's just changed.
You are welcome. I have been thinking a fair bit about grief lately as I approach the 1st anniversary of my father's death. I envy your tradition's better grasp of such a time than mine. I believe that any shape we can bring, any structure, to the grief process is so helpful. It is not our grief wardrobe, so to speak, but it certainly gives us a place to hang our hats.
Anyway, the reason I am posting again to you specifically about this is that it seems to me that grief can be seen in musical terms -- I am a complete ditz when it comes to music and composition, but it seems to me that grief (even when experienced solo) is orchestral in a way -- with the sound of the timpani coexisting with the flute and the bassoon winding around the sound of the cello. It is infinitely nuanced, in the way it seems that only music can be.
In any case, I hope you are faring well and that your immediate universe has eased.
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