Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Schedule-Ends and Beginnings

I am between sessions at the moment. We ended the year with a spring recital and awards ceremony. The May month ended with two weeks of lessons to go over the guild report cards and get fun summer music, and then, poof, they were out the door to soccer, baseball, band concerts and final exams.

I did four great days of judging at MacPhail Center for the Arts. The students were well prepared and musical. The building is new, and state of the art! It has a main lobby with big screens announcing upcoming events. The office I was allowed to use had two grand pianos in good tune, and there are several group classrooms and concert areas, on 6 floors. It is near the stone arch bridge, the Guthrie, and some fine dining.

I ended my 3 1/2 year position with my beloved church on May 15. They ran out of money to pay me. I understand this, and their desire to not ask me to do the job for free. They are hoping to find volunteers to step forward. I am struggling most with the request of the pastor and the council to step away from the church for a period of time, called the whole summer. I agreed to this request, I was technically part of the decision making process, but it is so difficult to know that all my friends are making music and I'm not with them. Twice per week, the group is hanging out, having music therapy, and making a new way. I'm proud of the work I did to get them up and running, but I'm still grieving.

My father has become a permanent resident of the nursing home. He has declined significantly over the past two months, and the final diagnosis is residual radiation. Most people are fine with the dose he was given, but Dad was not, and it's still sitting in his head, gradually cooking other connections. He can no longer use his legs and they are using a machine to put him on the commode, in his wheelchair or in bed. His speech is impaired when he speaks at all, and he says his head is "foggy". He calls it chemo-head. Mom feeds him his food-she is there 12-14 hours/day, even though the nursing staff would be happy to give her a break. On Monday, the Mayo Clinic physician staff gently told Mom that their overseeing of his case was completed. She and I both realize that's their way of saying there's nothing more they can do.

Dad seems comfortable, he listens and is present for our conversations. He still likes his meals, however he has lost about 15 pounds. I have learned more about wheelchairs, coumadin, Medicare and Nursing Care. I am walking along side of incredible compassion, love, loss, and grief. We are striving to celebrate the better days.

And in the meantime, music is sustaining me. I'm writing, I'm listening. I've been asked to work with a staff member at the Minneapolis Institute of Art to design a tour combining art and music. Ideas abound. Your suggestions can be added to the mix on Facebook at Wolf Piano.

More soon, as the summer students begin to arrive with their stories!


  1. And I'm reading. Interesting things. Like this: Rabbi Heschel challenges the notion that eternity is about a time in the future, as we commonly assume. Instead, he writes, "Eternity is not perpetual future but perpetual presence." Touching eternity is an act of the present.

    May I touch eternity in my visits with my parents.

  2. So sorry for your struggles, Chris! I can SO empathize with you in all of this. Praying for your encouragement in this season of life. God Bless you and your family and your parents.

  3. Thanks, Q88keys. I appreciate your kindness.


Who's been to Visit?