Wednesday April 9th started off as another usual, busy Wednesday for me. Teach throughout the day, then finish with a performance for someone's recital and a rehearsal after that. The one big difference about the day was that my extended family was stricken with the news the night before, that my cousin was reaching the end of her battle with Lung Cancer. I had not heard back from my brother or cousin on Tuesday night so I had to ask about the situation on Wednesday morning. The news at about 10am was devastating. My cousin Cindy, the warrior who decided to take on cancer without chemo, finally stopped suffering. Everyone around her had been seeing her fight through countless surgeries, treatments, medications and she took it all in stride. When I saw her in December, I was amazed at her positive attitude and outlook on things. She seemed like a train, moving forward at a steady pace with no thoughts of getting derailed. An attitude that I feel was beneficial for everyone around her, as my family can be very emotional.
When I read the texts "she just passed" and "Cindy just lost her battle to cancer" 10,000 thoughts rushed into my mind. Luckily I was sitting down because so many things happened instantly that I honestly don't remember my initial reaction. All I knew was that I needed to get it together because the day wasn't over. I excused myself from work and went home with only thoughts of my cousin and the last time I saw her (I was able to sneak my cello into the hospital and play for her). Truthfully, this was the catalyst for keeping the right attitude going. I need to get it together as there's people depending on me to perform with them, The Show Must Go On. Since I am not able to travel to say my final goodbye, it made things a bit more difficult to deal with.
All I could really take comfort in was the fact that I was going to make music that night and it would lift my spirits. We weren't able to run through the piece before the recital (as planned) so we were just told to "be as awesome as you were on Sunday." If having an emotional burden wasn't enough, now I have to step it up because it's go time. Did I tell anyone there what was going on? No, because the focus of that night was not my emotional state, it was Brian's recital. Regardless, we were going to make music. As it turns out, once we started, things felt normal again. For about 5 minutes, I was able to come back to a state of mind that I was ok with. I was able to experience joy, happiness, and most importantly comfort.
Though I wasn't sure exactly how things would go, I knew that for at least a brief moment, things were going to be ok. Nothing was going to take away that feeling I get when I play music, and this time there was a bigger purpose to making music. I wasn't there just to help fulfill a recital requirement for my bro, I was there to seek comfort in something that will never let me down, and it worked.
Sometimes we go about our business with no thought to the outside world and we get caught up in our own little bubble. While I strive for and admire such focus, I caution you to be more sensitive and in tune with your surroundings. Our lives are filled with so many precious things that sometimes we don't fully appreciate what we have until it's gone. Though nothing can bring my cousin back, I can always reflect on last night's performance of "you've changed" and remember how it helped me get through something so difficult, like the death of a loved one.
When people say "the show must go on", they're not trying to be insensitive or rude, they're simply wanting, for a brief moment to transcend into a different state of mind. A state of mind in which one can enjoy all of the wonderful feelings that music brings into our lives. Though I'm still deeply stricken with sadness over the loss of my cousin, I'm happy she will feel no more pain or suffering. Rest in Peace Cindy, you will be missed dearly, I love you very much!