08 November 2009

finding words

I have never been the best spoken-word communicator. I was always a shy kid, retreating to the piano or other creative endeavors to really give voice to what I was feeling or thinking.

It is the same now. I have a hard time actually putting into words - aloud - everything I am feeling and how I am handing life at the moment. Combine that with the fact that K seems to be on my mind constantly, and I just have a wonderfully inept lack of conversational skills at the moment. Writing things down is a little different...there is a delete key, and the freedom of time.

Once again I am so very thankful that at least in theater, people GIVE me lines to say, so I don't have to worry about it - ha! My inner introvert smiles. And, as far as the rest of my time goes during the day, I can play very well the part of "executive assistant extraordinaire."

Last evening I had one of those aforementioned inept moments. I went to see an orchestra concert at my alma mater here, and it was a celebration of Ernest Bloch's music. Mr. Bloch had been the first director of said institution of higher learning, and his grandson and great-grandson came to bestow some treasures for the library and students.

The program was stunning. Absolutely stunning and moving. It has been a long time since I was able to sit in the audience of a 'classical' music concert and just . . . listen. And be moved. And take in the whole experience without forcibly silencing that part of my brain which constantly analyzes and critiques 'classical' performances. The first part of the program, "Baal Shem" - violin and piano in three parts: Contrition, Improvisation, Rejoicing - brought me to tears. It was a beautiful piece of live creation...something very special.

Right before the second half began, I was speaking to one of my favorite former professors, and we were talking about what I had learned from my time there in Grad School, and so forth. I knew what I wanted to say, but I wasn't forming any cohesive thoughts and suddenly I burst out - totally a non sequitor - about Katie and then I apologized and said, "I can't find my words about anything these days." As the lights dimmed for the second half of the program, my sage professor grabbed my hand and said, "Then stop talking. And listen to the music."

And that's what I did.

Bloch's Sacred Service is subtitled: A Sabbath morning service according to the Union Prayer Book for Cantor, mixed chorus and full orchestra:
Silent Devotion
Returning the Scroll to the Ark
Vaanachnu [Adoration]

The entire experience of listening to Sacred Service was impressive, to say the least. The text (all Biblical) was a reminder to me that I am not alone and that God will hear my calls of grief and questioning and anything else that comes up. I know of all this - but to have a whole concertized reminder is really something else.

On that day will the Lord be One and His name One.
And now ere we part, let us call to mind
those who have finished their earthly course
and have been gathered to the eternal home.
Though vanished from bodily sight,
they have not ceased to be, and it is well with them;
they abide in the shadow of the Most High.
Let those who mourn for them be comforted;
let them submit their aching hearts to God,
for he is just and wise and merciful in all his doings,
though no man, no man, can comprehend his ways.
In the divine order of nature, both life and death,
joy and sorrow, serve beneficent ends,
and in the fullness of time we shall know why we are tried
and why our love brings us sorrow as well as happiness.
Wait patiently, all ye that mourn, and be ye of good courage,
for surely your longing souls shall be satisfied. -Vaanachnu

06 November 2009

I will admit that I have had two glasses of wine tonight prior to writing this.
I came in from rehearsal and - having spent the better part of my down time between work-allergy shots - rehearsal - in tears, I decided it was time to crack open a bottle of Katie's favorite Italian fizzy wine.

And crack it open I did.

However, having lost a bit of weight over the last 7 months (30 pounds and counting), I cannot hold my alcohol like I used too, and am now a little tipsy.
Oh well. Nor to worry - I have too much singing to do this month to abuse any alcohol. Tonight was extenuating circumstances: Katie's mom had asked for memories of Katie ... so, tonight, I wrote a reallllly long letter about her for her parents.

But earlier today...it was Fort Hood that sent me over the edge. I am already in a delicate balance of just making it through my day in one piece without bursting into tears...every unoccupied moment is consumed with memories of Katie and I am having a hard time breaking that cycle. Good for me, though, that I have my job, and three shows this fall to concentrate on. BUT Fort Hood. WHAT THE F*CK happened over there?? It just sent me into a tail-spin thinking of all the people I love and care about in the military, living and working on bases around the world and I just...it was the last straw on the camel's back of my holding-it-togetherness today.

In talking to a friend also realllllly affected by Katie's death....I admitted that I am not angry. I am not at that stage - I don't know if I ever will be. Mostly I still don't believe it. I saw her body laying there with my own eyes...saw the horrible color of lipstick they put on her (she would've complained) and yet? My mind DOES NOT GRASP the truth. And when it *starts* to grasp it - if I think about it too long - I burst into tears.
And then? The most irrational part of this... grief... is that I feel guilty!! Guilty that I was one of the last members of her "extended" family to see her alive, not her parents or sister. Also - stupidly enough, I feel guilty that we share a name - spelled differently - so that whenever I talk to her mom, she has to hear the same name. All of this is completely irrational and ridiculous, I KNOW...but it's still there, and I don't know what to do with it.

I ... I don't know. I don't know what to do. Counseling? More crying? Being really busy to the point that I just don't have time to think about anything (that'll work until Thanksgiving...we celebrated all major holidays together with our families)??? I am not sure yet. But it's always in these wee hours of the evening or morning that are the hardest.

(Lest I be all doom and gloom....there is still much to be thankful for:
Thankful for K's family and her two beautiful boys and wonderful husband.
Thankful for myself getting healthier.
Thankful for loved ones all over the world.
Thankful for being alive.)

05 November 2009


This is not good: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_fort_hood_shooting

Our soldiers do NOT need to be worrying about being shot on their own US bases.

FORT HOOD, Texas – The U.S. Army says 12 people have been killed and 31 wounded in a shooting rampage on the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. Lt. Gen Bob Cone said at a news conference that one shooter has been killed and two suspects were apprehended on Thursday. He says they are all U.S. soldiers.
The shooting began around 1:30 p.m. Cone says that all the casualties took place at the base's Soldier Readiness Center where soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening.
He says the primary shooter used two handguns in the attack.

New(er) article from SFGATE: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/11/05/national/a124633S09.DTL

04 November 2009

Life vs. Art, part ...infinity

I am singing the below in public in 12 days. It's not easy to sing right now, but such is life. And art. And ... something about 'fake it till you make it' and 'the show must go on,' and hell, even method acting. Why not?
The past two weeks have been the absolute worst and hardest 14 days of my life-to-date. That is not to say that there have not been any roses among this thorn patch - there are several - but I feel as if the "He will not give you more than you can handle" promise from God has been liberally tested. This period has been more difficult than my mom's heart attack and more difficult than my father's heart valve surgery (don't get me started on *my* genetic pool)...and all I know is that I am still crying myself to sleep at night. And probably will continue to do so for a while.

But...the music plays on...maybe there is some catharsis in my near future (life) from this near future (art). God knows. Hopefully He'll let me in on it, too.


I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.

Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted.

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As their tear your hopes apart
As they turn your dream to shame.

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came.

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather.

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seems
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.