Happiest of Fridays to you all! It is one of the most beautiful days of the year so far in our neck of the woods.
Today I woke up with a song in my heart and playing in my head. A song that is powerful and deeply meaningful to me and many of you, of this I am certain. A song that cannot help but humble me to the ground in tears, yet can leave me feeling empowered and never alone.
This song has particular meaning for two very important people to Chris and I. One being Chris’ dad’s mother, Mary and the other being my dad’s father, Derry.
When I met Mary Leslie, Parkinson’s Disease had much control over her body. At first, I ached for her, and for her family. Quickly, however, I realized that this woman did not allow this unforgiving disease control her spirit. She asked me about myself and about my love for her grandson. Her smile was intentional and incredibly beautiful. As I got to know this woman who was so cherished by her family, I learned that she had a real love for the music of Josh Groban. I watched her listen to him sing once and could almost feel her heart as his magical voice filled the room. I have never since listened to a song of his and not thought of Mary Leslie. We were honored that she was able to make it from Minneapolis to Stillwater for our wedding. I had the privilege of attending a memorial service of Mary’s life a few years ago – the world lost an angel, but Heaven certainly gained one.
The particular song of Josh Groban’s that plays ever so loudly in my head today is, “You Raise Me Up.” Have you ever really listened to the words? Paid attention to what it speaks of? If not, or you could use a reminder, here is a link to the lyrics.
The summer before Cooper turned one was rough for my grandfather, Derry. His body was failing him. One of the more emotional times in my young adult life was watching my dad and his siblings during this time. I ached for them and knew there was nothing I could do to ease the pain. I always knew Derry to be stubborn and a bit hard-headed, but with that I knew he was a strong man. Near the end, it seemed as though he felt trapped in a weak body, one he didn’t recognize…one which he didn’t have much control over. I will never forget one afternoon at Mike & Carol’s house that summer. Several of us were sitting on the patio with grandpa in his reclining chair. He was exhausted and his spirits were particularly low. He gestured me to lean in close so he could use as little energy as possible, and he quietly said, “I’m so ready to go. But it is so hard to die.” It stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t know what to say…so I didn’t. Instead I leaned in and pecked his wrinkled and scruffy cheek. He mustered up a slight grin and closed his eyes for a quick nap on a warm summer day surrounded by family. Not too many weeks later, he let go. As the family prepared his memorial service, we gathered what seemed like hundreds of photographs to compile as a slideshow…one of the songs chosen to play near the end was, “You Raise Me Up.” To this day, I cannot and will not listen to the song without thinking of him and the day his family and friends gathered to remember him.
I’ve made a short video for Audrey, dedicated to Mary Leslie and Derry Ebert. It is a small glimpse into her life inside my belly…
Only in reading through the lyrics once more am I reminded of one little line. One line that before I didn’t think too much of…one line that sings, “…each restless heart beats so imperfectly.”
ARGH, It won’t let me upload the video here, so if you want me to send it to you, let me know. I can email or text it quickly and easily…sorry for the inconvenience.
Love and hugs to you all.