Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Year of The Concert

So far, 2016 has been a year filled with things I never imagined. I've spoken enough about the awful ones. Right now, I'd like to speak about the good things that took place.

In January, I got tickets for my brother and I to see Pearl Jam in our hometown (well, for these purposes anyway, I'd call Greenville a hometown...... like a band of that level would ever come to La Libertad). They did not disappoint, not in the least. The two of us, and upwards of 18,000 others, were part of history as they played their sophomore album Vs. in its entirety for the first time ever. When they played "Given To Fly" I was in heaven, beaming while thinking of Mom. And closing with "Yellow Ledbetter"? Over the moon!

Then in May, I got to see a band I've loved for nearly 25 years! I've been a fan of The Mavericks since their What A Crying Shame in 1992. They did not disappoint either, but man the crowd did. It was a beautiful Friday night, there by the river, but you'd have sworn they were playing in a cemetery. I actually felt horrible for the band -- they were giving everything they had and not getting as much back. They played slightly under two hours and honestly, I wouldn't have blamed them if they had cut it even shorter. I was a bit surprised that the demographic was way older than I expected. I mean, at 46, I should have been toward the low end of average, not the low end altogether. Lots of 60+ folks. Hey, I'm glad they like the band but c'mon act like it.

Then just last weekend, I got another experience I never thought I'd get: ticket to Chris Cornell in Charleston. It's an odd story but I bought the ticket the Monday after Mom passed, while sitting in the mortuary lobby. Hey, priorities. So I got a REALLY great seat -- I thought it was fifth row, then second but it ended up as fifth. It didn't matter. It was an absolutely phenomenal show. He had an opening act from a blues/roots artist, Fantastic Negrito. And you need to check him out. Seriously. He's that good. Then out came the main act and I was mesmerized. If you have a chance to see Chris Cornell live, DO NOT miss out on the chance. It was two and a half hours (maybe 2:45?  It was 26 songs) that could have stretched into four as far as I was concerned. Did he play every song I would have wanted to hear? No, but then again some of the ones I love don't lend themselves to an acoustic treatment. The ones he did were outstanding, including a few I wasn't expecting to hear......... if you have a chance to catch one of the remaining shows over this tour, then GO!!!!! Seriously.

I have two more to see that are planned: Rick Springfield in August in Charlotte and The Avett Brothers in Greenville in October. There may be another show, if Ticketmaster lets me cash in a voucher from the class-action settlement. Most of the ones on the list, I really didn't care to see.

It's been a good year for music. Music continues to be my sanity saver, my life raft in these changing seas........

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Thirteen Weeks

Today is thirteen weeks since Mom took flight. There have been easier days and harder days. On easier days, I might only shed a few small tears. On harder days, it's an ugly eye-leak after another.

I have been so blessed to have friends check up on me -- say what you will for social media but it's been a godsend for my far-off friends and family to keep up with us. And whenever I get a message from someone just to say, "how are today, really?" I know I'm very blessed. 

I think Maddox has had the hardest time adjusting to Mom's absence. He may worship the ground that Papi walks on, but he was my mom's constant companion ever since he came into our lives. He and Nanny were inseparable. To this day, he refuses to hop up on her side of my parents' bed ... as if to say, "no, she's coming back so..." All he knows is she was here one minute and now she isn't. I took him to see her at Hospice and she tried to pet him. She knew he was there. He didn't hang around her like I would have thought. Perhaps he could sense the impending death from her scent, a body already decaying from organ failure. My brother took him to the cemetery. He laid near the foot of the plot and whimpered. This great, mighty, 120-pound wee beastie, whimpering at the final resting place. Breaks my heart. He's been in a funk now for thirteen weeks.

And for us...... the absence is so real. We're adjusted to it. I think that's all that can be said. I have little bursts of insights and memories hit me, usually driving into work..... They usually make me fan my face and try not to cry too much. We wait, yet again, for December and probate. We've already had two birthdays, Easter, Mother's Day (which was so hard anyway but just multiplied exponentially this year), a family wedding, and now getting prepared to face Mom's birthday that won't be, later this summer. She didn't get to hear our stories about the concert my brother and I attended. She's missing out on so much. So are we. 

But I do balance it by knowing she's free from pain, from a body that no longer functioned well, and from the anxiety that hounded her and she cleverly tried to hide. Mom's death, if nothing else, finally galvanized me to stop hiding my own battles with depression and anxiety. It's made me no longer ashamed to say, "I struggle" ... as she refused to do for herself.

And I think of her every single day.