Today,(Sunday)is an anniversary of sorts for me.
By March of 1999 I had been working with the four women for a while, had been hanging close to Mudcats for refueling, and had introduced "my" music and my autoharp to the women. I was getting SOO frustrated at work, about things I was seeing with the music and my inability to articulate it or document it.
I turned to Mudcats for help with using music for therapy and unlocking brains. None of you knew at the time, about the terror and losses I had been through (before the fire). I really DID mean it, when I said in that thread, that I received MUCH more than I gave there. Every day, I had three of those women telling me they loved me loads, and a fourth woman whose eyes lit up and who came alive when I walked through the door. Each day, those women gave me lessons in what REAL courage and patience with what life puts on our plates means, and they gave me the courage to keep going....and Mudcats continued to supply me with music and humor.
There was a flood of helpful, wonderful, some sad but validating, information and links you all gave back in that thread and by personal messages.
One sentence in particular, written by Musicman (Paul), jumped off the screen to me.....
"Pushing through the handicap to access the music"
and I knew he knew, and understood, and had seen himself, exactly what I was talking about, professionally. AND he had a wealth of knowledge and resources that he was happy to share.
That was March 24th, 1999..three years ago.
We talked a lot for a few months, about music therapy, about the loss of a partner, about the struggle to pick up and move forward in life, about music.....and about the creation of the "Farewell" CD he was putting together.
He lives on the West Coast, I live on the East Coast. We eventually made plans to meet in Ontario. I was on vacation, on my way to meet him, when the fire happened.
One of the firemen here told me that, had I been home when the lightening struck, I would not have survived.
We were supposed to meet near my girlfriend's home in Ontario, but Paul heard me sing and chickened out. bg
I somehow found myself in Vancouver, instead of Ontario. My daughter had already told me that everything except the structure of my home was gone, the house was boarded up, and there was nothing needing to be done immediately. and I should continue on my "vacation". I hadn't had a vacation since my partner died, and my daughter was fully aware of how exhausted I was before the fire.
I took the train..four days, three nights..no phones, no demands, incredible scenery rolling past the windows ... and I tried to understand the words "everything's gone". It's a trip I would recommend to anyone trying to comprehend life's chaos.
When I arrived, I met two of THE most caring, gentle, neat human beings on earth....Paul and his daughter, Rita. It was my first meeting of a Mudcatter in "real" life. He filled my ears with music, filled the days with adventures and gave me open access to his music room and its instruments. They both made me feel warm,comfortable, SAFE and loved. It didn't hit home for a while in me that I had lost my music. But he understood it. He had some of the same music I had, and somehow managed to find the time, without my knowing, to make music tapes for me. I didn't fully realize until lots later, how important those tapes were.
I could write a book JUST about the things Paul has done for me, to help me hold together. BUT at a minimum I want you guys to know, that he has helped carry me, through the ups and downs, day in and day out..in the middle of the night and in the early mornings, through the nightmares and fears, filling me with his music, reminding me that keeping the music on was VITAL for me, reminding me to treasure the small miracles when I found them, giving me giggles when I needed them, helping me focus on oceans, "my" mountain and the sunsets and sunrises, giving me back the "lilt" in my step, and always, consistently, an ear to listen. If any other Mudcatters meet him in "real" life, and notice that he walks kinda funny now, with one shoulder lower than the other, it's cuz he's been carrying my weight for a while now. I love you both, Paul and Rita, and am daily thankful that Mudcats brought you into my life. You are a couple of the "miracles" in life, I've learned to treasure.
So......ummmmmmmmmm THANK YOU PAUL!!!