Music to Heal

Ecclesiastes 3:4: "There is a season for everything: a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance."

My mom was an amazing woman who overcame many adversities in her life. She was a survivor, my hero, and little did I realize... my best friend.

My father died when I was 9, so she became my everything. She was my number one supporter, but she was also my mom, so there were many times we did not get along, and those are the days I wish I could take back... but I can’t.

My emotions are all over the place lately. On June 22, 2018, at 3:52 PM CST, my mother lost a short but brave battle with brain cancer. She was 75 beautiful years old. Some would say she lived a "full life," but it wasn’t enough for me... it never would be.

Mom LOVED to dance. She loved music, not so much that she would just sit and listen to it... she was usually out working on some project, keeping herself busy. But when she did listen to it, she couldn’t help but move her body to the beat.

Music.

All of us can relate to hearing a certain song, string, or chorus and having a wave of emotions from every point of the spectrum take over. Shortly after my dad died, the song "The Rose" by Bette Midler came out. It became an anthem for my family to remember my father, but in a very, very sad way. That song stayed with me my whole life, and at 54 today, it still brings me to tears.

There is another song, though, that had a more impactful prominence on my life... "You Are My Special Angel" by Bobby Vinton (1963).

I got to spend the last 2 weeks with my mom, taking care of her, laughing, crying, and just sitting in silence. Why it never occurred to me to put music on for her, I have no idea, but I didn’t. I remember one day her looking at me and starting to cry, apologizing for becoming a burden and worrying about what was going to happen to me. She wasn’t a burden; she never was, and I told her that. I felt blessed in a way that God gave me the opportunity to be with her in the last 2 weeks of her life. As for me... "I’m ok."

The struggle is daily, but thanks in part to discovering yoga and meditation... and yes, music... I have slowly clawed back and begun to heal.

On June 22nd, 2018, shortly before my mom would take her last breath, my brother looked at me and asked, "What was the song dad loved to play for mom?"... remember, I was 9 when my father died.

It didn’t even take half a second, and I blurted out, "You Are My Special Angel" by Bobby Vinton... and I was right!! Mom had begun to struggle a little, so in my brother’s infinite wisdom, we put on the song and played it on repeat. I don’t remember a lot of that day, but I do remember the moment my mom heard the beat... "Angel... Angel... whoa, whoa, whoa"... you saw the tension on her face begin to soften, her body began to relax, and by the time the song started to play a second time, she took her last breath with the most dignity and peace that we could have given her. She was in Heaven dancing with my dad.

As you can imagine, it took a long time for me to be able to listen to that song and not break down sobbing. One day I was in my kitchen washing dishes, feeling sorry for myself, missing her and hating everything in life. Why did she have to go like that? Why did she have to suffer? She didn’t deserve that. I was angry with God. I had the radio playing in the background with the oldies... some of the best music was from the '30s and '40s. My heart was heavy; I was angry, looking up and talking to God when I heard a song start in the background...and the words, "Heaven, I’m in Heaven."

I stood there for a second, stunned...then realized it was no coincidence. Mom was telling me it’s ok..."I’m in Heaven." I think I sat there and just cried... sad, but a sense of relief had come over me. She was ok... she was in Heaven.

All songs come to an end though...so as the next song came on, and I cannot even make this up...I heard... "Angel, Angel, whoa, whoa, whoa... You are my special angel, sent from up above...".

Coincidence? No.

Today, almost 6 years later to the date, I can play that song and smile... though I may shed a tear, my heart smiles because music truly does heal.

On June 23rd, 2018, I wrote: "Ecclesiastes 3:4 There is a season for everything: a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. We weep because we are sad, we laugh at the memories that were made, we mourn only because we were given the chance to love you in the first place, and we dance because we know that is what you are doing right now in heaven with Dad. I will never be the same without my mom, but I am who I am today because of her and more proud than I have ever been in my life to call her my mom.
You are my special angel, through eternity, I’ll have my special angel, here... to watch over me."

Her response...
Heaven, I’m in Heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak,
And I seem to find the happiness I seek,
When we’re out together, dancing cheek to cheek.

– Fred Astaire

Author