I have played music since third grade. Music has always been a huge part of my life. It was a passion that we shared.
I have this theory that there are "natural musicians" and "learned musicians" Learned musicians can play whatever is in front of them with work and practice (me). Natural musicians have a direct conduit from the brain to instrument. The music flows effortlessly and beautifully. This was Robert. He is hands down the most gifted musician I have ever seen. He could compose beautifully. We could play music together completely. He wrote pieces for me for clarinet. He arranged for vocals and it was awesome. Our lives and our souls entwined with music. It was ever present in our home.
Fast forward to the months following the accident. I did not have within my being the physical or mental stamina required to touch "his" piano, my clarinet or anything relating to music. It was devastating to me on so many levels.
The fact that on March 29th, 2008 music was like oxygen to my brain and on March 30, 2008 it became a tortuous reminder that my world was sucked away in an instant. To touch "his" piano made me physically ill. I was consumed by the realization that he would NEVER play with me or for me again. His students would never learn from him again and our son would grow up without sharing the piano with him. It was brutal and it was too much to bear. So I avoided it.
That fall, I was invited to play in a community band and although it made my heart hurt to do it alone, I chose to do it. I chose to try and find myself and rediscover the joy in music again. I told myself I had music before him and I would kick myself later if I didn't hold on to music for me.
For four years now, I have been going to rehearsal, playing in concerts and practicing through tears and memories. Literally, there were rehearsals that the silent tears flowed the entire time. The first concert I let the tears stream down my cheeks. I left the stage sobbing so hard I couldn't breathe all because he was not in the audience. He would never be there sitting next to munchkin to cheer me on, and I would never get to sit in an audience with munchkin and cheer him on. That hurt. It took my breath away.
But I came back, and I kept coming back. And I kept pushing through. I have played pieces that I played with him. There was a piece that we played in high school together...I swear I could hear him playing his trumpet. Then we played a piece originally scored for a brass quintet "Saints Hallelujah" by Canadian Brass. Seriously go to you tube and search for it. A medley of the "Hallelujah Chorus" and "When the Saints go Marching In". I didn't know if I could keep it up but I did. I pushed through the tears....more tears than I care to remember.
Each season was filled with a mixture of dread and hope.
Well this week it was different. This time I walked in...I still had the memories and the anticipation. But this time, this time I didn't lose it. Not only did I not have the tears running down my cheeks, but I finally felt a sense of peace about myself. I hope that I have finally found a way to rediscover joy in music. We are playing a full slate including one of my all time favorite pieces.
For that I am thankful. For that I am hopeful.