Life, loss, music

She has called me twice, declining to leave a name or number.  She doesn't like choral music.  That, she says, is too much like church.  If I want listeners, I should be playing waltzes, marches, and peppy overtures.  I say that doesn't fully represent life, or our listeners.
 
It was a tough week in our house.  Our beloved Maggiecat, a busy cat who always made her presence known, began to fail on Monday.  By Wednesday, it was clear what we had to do.  By Friday, she was gone.  And in the midst of our sadness, my friend Jean dropped me a line:
 
I wanted you to know how comforting, inspiring and calming your music was to me and my Mom this week. I had your program on and WXXI all the time in her room... they told us that hearing is the last sense to go. She died peacefully Thursday after a very long life. She was a classical pianist and I know that what you were playing was perfect. And your voice is also so calming it truly eased a difficult situation. You never know who you are reaching out there so I just wanted you to know you make a difference in more ways than you know...
 
Jean's loss, and ours, led me to think about loss, life, and music.  We busily buzz through our days, assuming that our world is the norm.  But as we shop at Wegmans or do our jobs, someone else's world is very different.  As Peter, the girls, and I sat at the vet with Maggiecat, someone was having a beer on the beach at Marge's.  As Jean sat with her mother, I was doing my job.  This is a lesson I've learned over and over in my many years in radio:  The world is much larger than my studio.  There was the caller who phoned me when Pan Am Flight 107 blew up over Lockerbee; her best friend was on the plane.  Then there was the listener who called in during a jazz shift, just after watching her mother die at the hospital.  When she climbed into her car, I was playing Amazing Grace by Hubert Laws, and it got her home safely.  She wanted a copy for her mother's funeral.
 
We can't walk through life in sorrow, but we must always have a corner of conscious compassion.  That angry customer ahead of me may have just spent a sleepless night nursing a sick child or a dying kitty.  When I program music, I think of each show as a sine wave, undulating up and down, slow and fast, brash and contemplative.  And I hope that, somehow, I can touch each listener's needs in some small way.  And while a peppy waltz will show up in every show, there will always be a moment of contemplation, too.  That's life, and that's my job.
 
 
 
 
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Comments

Julia's loss and music

My condolences for the loss of your family pet... and congratulations for doing your job so well. It's the passion, both in the music and your selections, that sends the message. It may be "your job." But, in reality, it's more than that. And you do it well.

JO

Pet loss

Sending you and your family sympathy in the loss of your feline family member. Hope that in the days to come, the sorrow will grow less painful and be slowly replaced with fond remembrances. Similar experience a year ago this month, with our beloved miniature dachshund (18 years old). Time truly does bring healing, albeit slow. Long time fan of the show, thank you for your contribution to my day's enjoyment. I appreciated your remark about needing to maintain a "corner of conscious compassion." Good words to live by.

Johnny & JT--   Thank-you

Johnny & JT--
 
Thank-you both for your kind words.  They mean the world to me.
 
Julia

Your post on love, life and loss

You are a deeply compassionate being. I am sorry for the loss of your pet. Life is certainly not made up of all perky waltzs. All things must be embraced. Thank you for your truely compassionate nature.

For me through the loveliest and darkest moments in my life and my small families life there has been an intense appreciation for all of the arts. Music has been an enormous shared healing source for myself, my two children and my deceased husband. As I see it living has been about acceptance through grief, healing and growth.

namaste
gschulz

Thank-you.

Your comment took me by surprise--I hadn't read this entry in a while. I will take it, with your lovely remarks, into 2010. Peace to you and yours in this coming new year.

Julia