Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No Matter How Your Heart Is Grieving

Sunday I sang in the Women's Chorus Spring Concert. I had been rehearsing the songs since January and although I had thought about the lyrics of some of them with a bit of sadness, I didn't expect any emotional reactions during the concert even though I often have strong emotional reactions to music. I was unprepared.

The first song we sang was a medley of "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and "Once Upon a Dream" from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty." I knew the second one would make me think of Peter A. when he was in middle school and chose that as the solo he would sing in their chorus's spring concert, and I knew that would make me nostalgic. I also knew that these words from the first song would be sad ones for me:

"No matter how your heart is grieving,
if you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true."

It's a pretty song and a beautiful thought, but hardly true.

We started singing and I immediately got choked up with tears in my eyes and had all I could do to keep from crying. In that setting, with the sound so good and the responsive audience, the words hit me as they had not during rehearsals. I realized what they meant and how my wish would never come true no matter how I wished, and the even believing would not help or bring Leif back to me.

It's like that with grief. You never know when it's going to crawl out of whatever hole you have managed to corner it in. You never know when it's going to take over your emotions and you have to fight to keep it down.

There I was, in front of several hundred people, trying to keep the tears from falling and look like I was singing. I did manage to get control of myself, even though the "Once Upon a Dream" sequence turned out to be far more nostalgic than I had expected, and I found myself sad that I could never get Peter A's childhood back, either, though that, at least, is a normal part of life . . . to have one's son grow up.

Sometimes I think of playing music, but I rarely do. So much of the music I like evokes too much emotion.

In just 12 days it will be two years since we found Leif dead. How can it be? How can that time have passed? It's like yesterday that he was here having dinner with us, two years ago on Easter Sunday.

The photo of Leif was taken at Kodomo no Kuni, a woods and playground near Camp Zama, Japan, in February 1981. He was six years old.

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