a journal of...

A journal among friends...
art, words, home, people and places

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

This is the Song

Home now, I am listening to the soundtrack that some months ago my brother asked his brother-in-law Mo to put together and give us for his memorial this past weekend.

It's a peaceful, beautiful, still-cool June morning, sun filtering through the trees and warming up to the idea of warming us as the day grows.  I've waited until this moment to play it so I could hear it pure, if you will.  Elton John's on now.

My gift is my song and this one's for you...

As with the soundtrack of everyone's life, its lines are what we remember Tom for.

Keep Me in your Heart for a While
The Weight
Over the Hills and Far Away
Heart of Gold
How Long Will I Love You
Peaceful Easy Feeling
Uptown Funk
Message in a Bottle (I hope that someone gets my)
Closer to the Sun
Time of Your Life...

Lots more.  Two discs full.  I started, unintentionally, with disc 2, entitled Follow the Sun. 

But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on

Ironically, there wasn't much sun for our gathering; it rained every single day for a week, and in the few hours when a vague clearing allowed, we could walk on the beach, go for a swim, stretch our limbs a bit, keep umbrellas at the ready.

 All the other 90% of the time we were together in one house or another, where there was a lot of talk and a lot of food (we are who we are), some drama, some pain, a lot more things to laugh over, and much more than that to be thankful for, mostly each other.

And you can tell everybody, this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words...

And there was music, lots of music every night.

Music in the ceremony, music in the video his son and niece made for us to reflect on his life, music long into the night when we played, one by one or in twos and threes, and everybody sang.  My brother Charles had written a song for him, which Tom had gotten to hear back in February, and he sang it again for us.

I hereby apologize to poor Jean's neighbors for the din of forty grownups shouting Boardwalk at the top of their lungs, but I also admit I'm not sorry. For a moment, whoever we be on our own, we who gathered were singing the same song.

...how wonderful life is while you're in the world

In my mother's youth, every family event rang with piano, strings, voices...opera, folk, popular, dance. Meanwhile, children ran in and out, cooks cooked, aunts danced, men weighed matters, stories passed on.  She and her father would think ours was nothing new, but would surely be pleased that somewhere in the genetic material passed on to us, the impulse to song continues.

So, yes, we got the message in the bottle, Tom.  We know who you were and still are. We know who we are, too...the ones who keep playing your life, who keep it turned on.

There's a reason that our favorite time of day, the one we get up in the morning to meet, the one we take most photographs to keep, is sunrise. 

Even if on some days, as my sister's wall reminds her, you have to make your own sun.


    for the love, for the sharing, for the words that say what my heart feels, but my words are inept at expressing.

  2. So eloquently expressed! In times of loss, family and music (and kick lines!) are powerful healers. I will hold last weekend in my heart forever. As I read your words, I'm reminded of some other lyrics:
    "One day, you'll look
    To see I've gone
    But tomorrow may rain, so
    I'll follow the sun."