Friday, December 3, 2021

Jupiter

Earlier this fall to celebrate my wife's birthday, we drove to the urban jungle for an overnight stay and to visit some of her most desired places. In the evening however, we had some time to kill and after searching the local calendar, found a brass quartet playing in a church and decided to stop by. Although they were all very good musicians, the concert itself was unremarkable until for the finale, they decided to play a musical piece that I know very well. It brought tears quickly to my eyes but salve to my soul in a way. More on that later in this post.

On the third anniversary of my mom's death, as I have done the previous two years, I opted to remember the occasion by doing something my mom loved to do and went for a hike along the river. My wife's schedule didn't allow her to get the time off this year and for reasons unknown to me, the local school system cancelled school a couple days early (in the leadup to the Thanksgiving holiday) so my two girls had time on their hand and so the three of us set off. It was a chilly day but in the trees and with the sun shining it was pleasant as long as we stayed moving. I enjoyed seeing my girls having fun and running off ahead of me while remembering mom.


During the last months of my mom's life, my oldest daughter happened to be learning the song Jupiter by Gustav Holst on the violin. Mom really loved listening to her play that song as did I. On that last day that mom was conscious, my daughter played that song in the living room while I sat by mom's bedside and seeing my mom listen and smile to it is a memory that has stuck with me. It will probably be a song that I will always associate with that particular time in my life and I was reminded of it that night listening to the quartet. I'm okay with that.





24 comments:

  1. What a grand memory - and tradition.

    The Planets is, in my estimation, one of the greatest and least valued works overall in the 20th Century. Everyone knows Mars; few know the rest of the sequence.

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    1. I'm not sure I've heard them all in one sitting but I would like too someday.

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  2. That's a great piece of music -- and yes, worthy of precious memories! Glad you got out for a scenic walk.

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    1. It was a nice day for a walk and for memories.

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  3. I love that memory. Music is so powerful and emotional. I enjoy a lot of classical music, thanks to my dad. (that's all he ever played on his turntable) I have fond memories of Dad taking me to concerts as a child since I shared his interest in classical. That's wonderful that you got to hike with your daughters-a special memory for all of you.

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    1. Classical music really has never been a part of my life, at least until my oldest starting playing pieces set to piano and violin. I probably had heard Jupiter sometime before but it never really made an impression until my oldest started playing it on the violin.

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  4. I liked the shadow pic and am listening to the song right now. The strains are familiar to me, but I can't think where I have heard it. I know that I have though.

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    1. I really liked the shadow picture as well and I almost didn't turn around and take it because I knew our shadows would be in it.

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  5. I'm a great fan of Holst's "The Planets".

    Lovely post, Ed, and I especially like the photo with the shadow of you and the girls.

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    1. I listened to the first three after posting this. I need to load it up and finish the rest. Some are familiar but some aren't.

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  6. Nice tribute to your Mom. Nice memory.

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  7. Very nice memories, and an active way to re-enact them being outdoors.
    I had a 103 year-old hospice lady, who adored listening to little Jackie Evancho singing some opera tunes. My patient had been in New York operas as a young lady, but gave up a future of fame to marry and have children. She totally transformed back to her stage when she listened to her opera tunes. Linda in Kansas

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    1. I have very good memories of hospice and their care. True heroes!

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  8. I like the shadows of you and your girls. They are posing with their arms pointing to the sky above while you snap the picture. "Jupiter" is a very evocative piece and it is fitting to associate it with your dear departed mother each time you hear it.

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    1. I forget why they did that. I almost didn't take the picture because I didn't want my shadow to be in it but then the girls came and started hamming it up beside me and I couldn't resist. Then it became a favorite.

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  9. Wonderful story. The last time I saw my mother smile, after she had slipped deep into dementia and seldom had any response, was when my daughter sang to her. Great memories for you and your daughters.

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    1. I bet you treasure that memory as much as I do Jupiter.

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  10. That hike along the river must have been very soothing.

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    1. It is one that I always enjoy though doing it on the anniversary of my mom's death can be hit or miss for good weather. This year I lucked out.

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  11. I am not familiar with that piece of music but it is a lovely memory for you. Forever Young always reminds me of a good friend that passed away in his prime, and whenever I hear Eric Clapton's "Tears from Heaven", it reminds me of my husband.

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    1. Both excellent songs as well. I suppose my latching onto it is part of the grief process. I'm just glad it was a nice song and not something like the Macarena.

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  12. What a wonderful way to remember your mom with the girls. I'm listening to your music as I write this. It really is a beautiful and powerful piece. I've never heard it before and thank you for sharing it.

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