Life in Music…

The great jazz trumpeter, Louis Armstrong said, “Music is life itself.” I’d like you to think about that for a moment.

Each generation has its own music and remembers songs that had an impact on them. They may bring feelings of joy, sadness, melancholy, or remembrance. Songs can reflect major milestones in our lives with great clarity. In all likelihood, if you are like me, when you reach your senior years the songs you remember most vividly, will be songs you heard over the first decades of your life.

The greatest feeling we as human beings can feel is unrequited love. That “First Love”. The one where you really don’t understand all the feelings but they sure feel good. Happiness abounds, you can hardly wait to see your love again, you talk on the phone for hours, (unless your on a party line and your Dad yells “Hang up the damn phone! Other people want to use it.” Buzz kill.), you want to hang out together, hold their hand and hope the teacher, or anyone for that matter, doesn’t see you.

Then, in most cases, we have that inevitable break up. Whether you are the dumper or the dumpee, breaking up is hard. If you’re the dumper, you have to screw up the courage to have the “we can still be friends” discussion (yeah right!) and break his/her/their heart. If you’re the dumpee, your life is over. You just know it.

But, a funny thing happens. You fall in love again, and probably again, and again. You fall out of love and then miraculously you fall back in. The joys of love.

Finally, you may meet “the one”. The one you are convinced with your heart and soul is your life partner. Whether that turns out to be true is immaterial. Maybe saying “I love you” feels different and you just know.

You may decide to fully commit and get married or form a life partnership. Something that is a little more permanent in your mind. With luck and a lot of care, it may last a lifetime.

You may have children and once again you’ll see the world through a different lens. Hopefully, the children will be raised in a loving home and will pass that love on to their children. You tell them you love them and freely give hugs and kisses. You do the best you can.

Your life is good. You have challenges, we all do, but by and large, they pass, and you take time to sit and think about this moment in time. It might be the sun shining and warming your face; watching your spouse do something you normally wouldn’t notice but today you see it and you feel good; you see children playing and laughing; your dog chases a ball and comes back for more; and you think, what a wonderful world. Your heart is full.

The complete opposite of love is loss. That gut wrenching, all consuming grief at the loss of someone important to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a spouse, family member, or a close friend. You feel it..hard. We take solace from our family and friends and we grieve. Eventually, for most of us, the grief changes because we can give up the grieving but we don’t have to give up the loving.

In New Orleans, they have a tradition of taking the deceased on a slow march through the streets to the cemetery while a brass band plays a slow lament. Once there, the person is interred and as the attendees leave the cemetery, the band goes into a high energy march signifying that the soul is free. A party usually follows. The following song exemplifies this approach and it’s also one of my mother’s favourite hymns. It’s worth listening to the whole song if you have the time.

The Bourbon Street Stompers

One of my challenges in making this post was the number of songs that can fit a circumstance. I changed several times. If you were to walk through your life with song, what would your playlist look like?


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