It’s easy to have regrets after losing a loved one. Some regrets are big (why did we let 9/11 scare us away from Italy in 2001?) Some are ridiculous (why didn’t I go to med school so I could have saved him?) And some are smaller, seeping from the fabric of everyday life.
My late husband Charles was a music lover with a stone cold memory for any piece of music trivia you could throw out. He could sit down at the piano and just play. When he was a teenager, his family gave him an electric bass, the biggest desire of his heart at the time. It was in pristine condition over 40 years later when he died and I passed it on to our younger daughter. I’m still friends with some of the guys from high school who played in “The Us Group” with him back in the day and, if you’ve read “Hey, God? Yes, Charles," you know there was a fun conversation about the band between Charles and God. A decade earlier, when all the guys hit their late 40’s, Charles reunited with every single member of the original band for some fun and rock and roll reprisals. He never aspired for anything beyond good listening, picking with friends, and entertaining others. At home, his instrument of choice was most often his Spanish guitar.
I know it’s a small regret in the scheme of things but I wish I had stopped more often to listen. Really listen. We were such a busy family but he often found time to pick up his guitar and play something familiar or work on picking out the chords for something new that had grabbed his interest. I might pass him perched on the edge of the bed or plopped outside on the porch, guitar in hand. I wish I had delayed dinner, or the laundry, or checking homework just a little more often – to do nothing more than give him my full attention and enjoy the gift of music he brought to our home and our family. Charles always said he wanted a rock ‘n roll funeral but, until he died unexpectedly in 2007, I never thought about that or the day this music would in fact stop in our house.
Maybe it’s my age, but the music seems to have stopped for a lot of folks lately, Merle Haggard to Prince. I am gratified it continues elsewhere from the walls of my church to the halls of Music City. And I can assure you - I listen every chance I get.