Jonathon's Closet

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'll regret this when I have to get up for work tomorrow!

I’m having a hard time finding my Christmas spirit this year. I strongly suspect you’ll hear me mention this again, as this issue seems to be popping up almost daily right now. I wish I felt more Christmas-y, I just don’t.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from the director of the local community band. They had gotten my name from the director of an orchestra I played with several years ago. The band was badly in need of an experienced soloist. Yes, I still play, but really only for myself. I haven't "really" played since Don died. When tonight began, I had only practiced with the band once, and with the quartet twice. But it’s somewhat like riding a bike …

Today, the community band performed for 3 large nursing homes. The residents all seemed to enjoy it, and I think the musicians did as well. And the staff at each location thanked us profusely for coming.

No, I really wasn’t in the mood to play Christmas carols. But seeing as I was a soloist in 2 of our numbers as well as part of a featured quartet, I couldn’t very well not attend, now could I? Anyway, it was a good excuse to dress up, so out came the black velvet dress and the ankle strap pumps, dangly earrings, and fur jacket. Trust me, I don’t get to do THAT very often!

I spent the better part of today with the band, playing Christmas carols. We would play a 45-minute set, then pack up and move on to the next location. We played at 4, 5, and 6 o’clock. Quite a hectic schedule, especially considering that our group of 72 was traveling in a caravan of nearly 40 cars! Try parking those in your average nursing home parking lot! And then navigating the icy parking lots in high heels!

As our quartet broke off from the group for a final performance destination, the high heels thing – UGH - 5-inch spikes on an icy parking lot! You can see it coming, can’t you? Took a small slide, didn’t fall but twisted my ankle enough to SNAP THE HEEL OFF MY PUMP! This necessitated a quick trip home to change shoes (and tomorrow I’ll have to drop that one off to have it repaired!) And, being the computer addict I am, I of course took the time to check my e-mail and forward a few messages to friends while frantically changing my torn stockings!

Our quartet performed for the local hospice center. We arrived at 6:58; 2 minutes to spare, which might just be a Christmas miracle considering the side trip home for the shoe emergency! There were a few patients, several family members, and a handful of staff. Our “stage” was a centrally located “living room”.

We softly played the 7 carols we had rehearsed and then prepared to leave when a nurse approached us. “We have a guest,” she quietly explained. “He won’t be with us much longer, doubtful he’ll make it thru the night. He has no family, just a staffer staying beside him. Although we’re doing everything we can, his pain is great – and the music is soothing. Can you stay and play a little longer?”

How do you say no to a request like that? The answer is simple – you don’t. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to softly and gently repeat the same 7 carols, as it was the only music we were carrying. Thankfully our group of 4 is made up of very accomplished musicians who are quite capable of “switching things up” a bit and improvising some interesting interludes. So we continued to play as we were asked. Softly we played long into the night.

And that’s why I’m posting this at 1:30 in the morning, EST, bleary-eyed and weary, my body aching as well as my heart. We played until James left this earth, and then I drove home, tears gently rolling down my face in the icy night air.


  • Kate you are truly an angel. If you don't know that already, let me tell you. I find myself re-examing my life after I read your blog (all for the better too).

    I know life can be worse and I know it can be better but you are a dear soul who touches so many people you don't even know.

    I hope you find some Christmas spirit this year because you TRULY deserve it. Thanks for being a hero for so many of us. Personally I'm a bit lacking in the Christmas spirit this year too with DH gone. But you help me everytime I read your blog.

    Thank you and Merry Christmas

    By Blogger navywife6, at 5:00 AM  

  • I'm here to tell you that your Christmas spirit is right there...obvious to all those around you and all of us who read your blog. You may not feel it, but it's there.

    James was a lucky man to have found you on his last day. We should all be so lucky as to leave this life in such a peaceful way. I hope you realize the beauty of the gift you gave him.

    By Blogger Catherine, at 5:47 AM  

  • That is the Christmas spirit if ever I heard of it.

    By Blogger Oh, The Joys, at 5:52 AM  

  • I can not add anything to the above comments. They have said all that is in my heart. When I go, I hope to hear music like yours calling me home. James was truly blessed.

    By Blogger Lemon Stand, at 6:56 AM  

  • That's quite a story, a very special story. I think you just need to let your Christmas spirit out, it's obviously in there. Sometimes we have to force ourself out of ruts and to put on happy faces...and when we do, things are all the better.

    Merry Christmas!

    By Blogger Mrs. M, at 8:05 AM  

  • You are so amazing. I really can't put it any better than that.

    By Blogger Roe, at 9:36 AM  

  • That is beautiful. I hope I have as wonderful of an exit from this world.

    By Blogger angela marie, at 9:43 AM  

  • I worked in a nursing home and my great aunt was a resident. With all that is wrong with those places they are usually staffed by caring hearts that do their best to make the days easy and fun for their people.

    Do not mistake letting go of what is past for unfaithfulness. If you try to walk forward looking backwards you will usually get hurt.

    Love what you had, treasure what you had, but share the love you have NOW with those who are here.

    The poor soul you played for has gone home in peace. Let your soul enjoy the love it is finding here.

    Not breaking a promise, you loved him his forever, but loving again.

    Let him go, girl and go be with your man that is here now, no regrets.

    By Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo, at 10:08 PM  

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