On July 20 of 2020, my family came together for dinner with heavy hearts. July 20 is my dad’s birthday and this would be our fourth one without him. We were soft and somber but together and willing to be present with each other’s grief and memories.
I clicked my phone so I could connect to Bluetooth and play some music. My sweet little device reminded me that a dear friend of my family was performing live on FaceBook. Michael Waite was there, live as could be from 2000 miles away and amidst yoga and amidst COVID, singing with his familiar and soothing voice. I typed in the comments that we were tuned in and that it was my dad’s birthday, thanking him for sharing his talent with us on this marked day.
Mike ended his song and introduced the next song as the one he (Mike) played for the father-daughter dance at my wedding 12 years ago.
Honestly, if you’d asked me that morning what song was played for that special dance, I would have had to spend significant time trying to remember.
Alas, Mike knew it and played it…but not before becoming emotional and therefore exposing his genuine compassion and intention behind singing this memorable song. It was literally music to my ears. There was something profound about the intention behind the music.
I later (weakly) compared it to getting a take out meal versus having your favorite home-cooked dish. Food, music, art made with love are different from the commercialized version.
I wondered how this gesture of intention and kindness could have such a powerful impact on my spirit. I have spent many days considering how the memories of my dad are what bring me comfort in my grief over losing him. How that few minutes listening to Mike was a portal into a special memory (that I hadn’t thought about in a long time) and how there was the integration of that memory into my grief.
This was possible…
Living in the memory is not always scary or wrong. When we stop living in the moment it can be a slippery slope, but in grief, spending time in the memory as a source of comfort can bring great integration and hope.