I bet you wondered, any time you read the birthday letters I wrote to Ed after he died, whether I’d write them to you, too, when you were gone. You never asked me, but I bet you wondered.
Well, so. There are ways that losing you is harder than losing Ed. My father may have been the cornerstone of my sense of who I was, he may have been larger than life, and he may have been the one I always asked for advice, but you know what? None of that could make him my mother.
You were the one I always wanted to make proud. You were the one who set the standard. You were the one with the image and the vision of what I could be, or should be. And I will probably never feel like I came close to measuring up. And yet now it all comes down to me to shoulder what I can of all your burdens and works.
I guess I have three songs.
You bought that piano in 1979 so I could take lessons. It cost the princely sum of $150 when the nearby high school was getting rid of it. I don’t even know how you got it to the house, though I would bet on your uncle Jimmy playing a role. I was in third grade and I hated to practice. I hated sounding like crap, when you would sit down and just play this. But as the years wore on I learned why practicing mattered and even if I never, despite years of lessons, practiced anything hard until I took up guitar, the sound of you playing this piece punctuated my life with you.
And for making me practice even though I probably never measured up, and for so many other things… I suppose that I judged you harshly.
And just in case nobody else you raised is thinking of playing you a song or two today, here’s one they should be singing to you… in a performance complete with incongruous set.
Thank you, Chris, for the way you never stopped trying. I miss you so very, very much.
I think I will have an ice cream sundae for dinner.