Sunday, April 12, 2015

Death and Music as a Part of Living

New Entry from Word Press  9-12-15

I am chasing down memories to find new ways to put together my life's story and works. Through the practice of writing I'll capture essences of people I love(d) along with people who helped me develop. I do not intend to make these stories maudlin or self-aggrandizing because that is not the true purpose of my life. Sometimes I do tend to be all about me--but that's when I've I've isolated myself from my friendly companions.
I selected Storm Chaser for the title of this blog because I often go headlong chasing after things that lead to interesting outcomes.. One example of this took place when I lived in Tucson, AZ. I'd spot where the rain was falling in Tucson's valley and drive quickly over to it to enjoy the rain falling on me, my car, and whomever was with me.
I suppose this may indicate a spontaneous personality but that is part of who I am.

 Below is an earlier post I made at the passing of a great friend, Bevann Garnes. It ties in with another post that follows hers. For it was during her dying days that I took Bevann for a ride in my little car and I played Freddie Mercury's Barcelona album for her. The look in her eyes and her smile told me what she later exclaimed. She loved the music the juxtaposition of rock and opera and the glorious voices of Mercury and Caballe. I was thrilled because when you love something and introduce the "something" to someone for whom you care it's fantastic when they love it too.

On April 1, 2015, one of my best friends passed over. That is a lovely euphemism for "died." In our Western Culture we don't like to think or talk about the one thing that happens to all of us. I think that is one of the things I'd like to write about here because my friend, Bevann Garnes and I spoke of dying often. The subject came up, most likely because of our ages. More often than not, however, the subject of dying came up because of our thoughts and beliefs and spirituality. My lovely and loving friend was deeply spiritual but she allowed for those of us who waver on the concept of absolute belief in the hereafter. The reason I give is that in fact belief is based on accepting as fact that which we cannot prove with certainty.

So now I turn to look at those moments I spent with Bevann so as to explore life and death.

Whenever someone I love or look up to passes on, I turn to music. I usually play music I shared with the person who is no longer here. I feel better because music has always been important to me. I don't carry the LPs or 45s or CDs all with me because I lost so many in my many moves.

So before Bevann died I visited her and mentioned the lead singer or front man for Queen. Well she knew the group when they were newly out. I just discovered them and Freddie. I found his showmanship so refreshing from the old guys who just stood and sang. Even my first favorite Perry Como was from a long line of ballad singers who played up the stiff dude singing.

While Bevann's health began to deteriorate, I had the chance to introduce her to Freddie's solo work and most especially his Barcelona with Monserrat Caballe. I'd never heard of her but when she sang on Freddie's rock opera both Bevann and me just fell in love with the music. It was perfect for us two old gals. We even missed a turn to get to Bevann's doctor's treatment center. 

While we both enjoyed the album, we had other music in common. Long ago before Bevann became ill she walked to a jazz group playing at one of my son's fatherhood conferences. She sang with the group and showed her singing background.  Of course, she was a teacher and counselor for one of the local tribes in AZ. She took in a child for two years hoping to give him a home and a lesson in boundaries.
Bevann was wonderful. There were few topics on which we couldn't converse. Like me she was opinionated she just was a milder version. Now that she's gone, I'll have to prompt myself to be effective in sotto voce.

I think through memories and music I'll keep Bevann in my heart. I know that certain old Puerto Rican songs bring my Mom and Dad to me along with cousins and Aunts and Uncles who are no longer with us. Music was at the beach, in our homes and in our friends' homes so I hope that people will use music as they heal from the loss of anyone who was close to them as they travel to the other side of death.