Enjoying every moment. Music can carry one through life’s moments, if not more, when things are tough

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I learned this weekend about the passing of a family member who lived a very long, long life. Each year, he affirmed his faith in his chosen way of life ‘no smoking, no drinking, no marijuana.’ He’d tell me about how pot had been introduced when he was but a young man, playing sax in clubs in downtown San Francisco. He lived by night at the clubs, during the day, made his living working hard.

He hadn’t always been healthy.

Crissy Fields, the Place. 2010. Catherine Herrera.

My uncle had been sick often when he was young, and he shared with me how it was that my great grandma had fought to save him from double leg amputation as the doctor was advising then.

Instead, his father taught him how to work hard, essentially, to change his mind-set about who he could be. His father looked to hard work to prove the doctors wrong. Well, that change came later. First, there was music.

As one of the older children, he was close to his mom, and of all the kids, he picked up music more than any of the other nine brothers and sisters. He had been given a saxophone, and he practiced. Not just during the lessons his mom gave him personally. He played at night, lying on the roof with his brothers and sisters when they were hot on a warm night, on nights when their stomachs grumbled with hunger. Music calmed their stomachs until they could fall asleep.

Change mind-set.

Discipline was a survival mechanism, it allowed for the energy for him to work day and play sax at night.

His wife was the engine that made his train go along the tracks as it did, down a beautiful path, with many ups and downs, of course, boulders of personal size that impeded progress even through such a long life.

Dinner at 4 p.m. One half glass of red wine. Lots of music.

I will miss this uncle such that only these two short days later, I still do not want to believe its true, as if when one gets older, suddenly, too much deep thought of being gone forever is simply too close for the mind to really grasp the concept for more than a short while. Death, or the possibility of death approaching, requires a serious acceptance of our temporal existence, and such a thought makes everything else practically meaningless. So, we protect meaning, and let go instead of those who came before, a trusting being within knowing, one day, I too shall join them and will be welcomed by their love when once again we meet.

Funny thing about seeing people you love leave their earthly bodies, the comfort lies in knowing your angels are right there on the other side.

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