February 13, 2017

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Hi Dears,

I told Steve, if he could play the introduction to a tune I used to play for him all the way through, without having to edit anything, I would share it and channel another entry. He did it on about the 10th try. Well, he gets nervous, for some reason, when he's recording--perfectionist jitters. But I also have given him, by way of thought-impression, as his teacher, that when you practice, you think you aren't making mistakes, because you gloss over them. It is only when you attempt to record it, that you realize how you have been habitually stumbling over the same old notes. That makes you nervous!

But here, Steve has done it--and again, through impressions, I will try to give you a little of the background. First, I think you should hear the tune. Steve has played it as much the way I used to play it, as he could. This is listed, in the book I played from, as "Sing to Jehovah," and as a credit, it says, "From 'Tod Jesu' by Graun." Steve looked up a performance of "Tod Jesu" and couldn't recognize this portion in it, but we will accept that it is in there.

Does the ending make you want to cry? It does for Steve, every time. But he is remembering that I played it for him during the winter, when I was sick from tuberculosis. Our medium, the one who first brought us together, said that I was the strong one, and that I reassured him. And this is exactly what this song was. I would pour my heart into these songs, when I played for him, as though I was singing to him (which I sometimes did, also). This was like a reassuring lullaby for my husband. You know, ladies, that your husband is also a child, at times. We know it all too well. And we cuddle him when the world can't see. Steve found the following poem, written by Mathew but then "borrowed" by another writer, with Matt's somewhat wary consent, as that writer was actually making light fun of him. But the poem is Mathew's, and it is to me, after I had passed. See if you can tell what the "back-story" is, here:

I look for thee, dear one, in vain,
Thy fairy form I cannot see;
Oh, that my eyes might rest again
On what was once so dear to me!

Full oft I’ve stood when morning’s sun
Effulgent beamed there o’er the way,
And gazed, like an enchanted one,
To see thy needle swiftly play.

And day by day I’ve vainly sighed,
As on thy lap thy work did rest,
And with sheer envy could have cried
To think those trowsers were so blest.

And then when thy glance met mine own,
How sweetly beamed thy answering smile:--
A kindlier smile hath never shone,
And many an hour did it beguile.

My heart took strength amid its gloom,
Thy glance the sun that cheered its powers,
Reviving it to fresher bloom,
Like spring’s warm sunshine on the flowers.

The “Absent One!” that cannot be;
For though by fate we’re forced to part,
Thou ne’er canst absent be to me--
Thou’rt ever present in my heart.

Steve remembered it in a flash. He said, "She used to be darning my clothes, in the dappled sunlight streaming through the window, and she was so very beautiful, that I envied those trousers on her lap! But she knew my every thought, and every whim...and sometimes she would catch me looking at her in that reverie, and she would gently smile, set her work aside, and beckon to me. Without words being spoken, I would come to her and lay my head gratefully on her lap, and she would stroke my temples and smooth my hair from my forehead, and sing softly to me. I could feel the warmth of her tummy, feel the rhythm of her breath, and sometimes I would even fall asleep."

Well, that is the feeling he had when I played these very notes, you see. Now, when I arranged for this old sheet music book to show up on Ebay, and urged him to purchase it and to use it, for learning to sight-read, I knew these favorite pieces were in there. Steve could remember which ones I played, and which ones we loved. But this one--what a poignancy! What deep content, and what overwhelming sadness!

But, dears, I reassure him once again, even as it is his own fingers--but not Mathew's fingers, his new fingers, as Steve--playing the notes. Do you see how Love lives on? It is not conquered by death--not by a long shot! Bodies come, bodies go, while love and music and even cherished habits, between the lovers, live on. Nothing is lost.

It is in Steve's hands whether to translate this to joy, or to grief. It is both, of course--and grief has its due. But must the association stay there? I think not. I think this song stands, not as a monument to loss, but as the reassurance it was orginally intended for. It is a monument to Love, not to loss.

Love to each and all,
Abby