As I write to you from a faraway location where I snuck away from a work conference for a few hours to go catch some incredible live solo/acoustic music, I’m reminded of the awesome power, pain, rejuvenation, and healing qualities that music can have, especially in times of grief. For me, I have always felt a deep, emotional connection to the music I listen to and enjoy. I call it the soundtrack of my life. My dad and brother initially opened the world of music up to me and I’ve spent countless nights and weekends of my childhood and adult life chasing my favorite bands and artists around with my wife and favorite friends, sharing in some of the best, core memories I have. Excitement/wonder/euphoria all wrapped up together.
And the birth and loss of my daughter has reinforced those connections with music. On the day before Samantha was born, we had tickets to go see Steely Dan; while we never made it to that show, those unused tickets are proudly kept in an album. I’ve always looked back and liked the idea that one of the few things better for your soul than live music is to experience the birth of your child and to be a parent.
I was then apprenticed to loss and grief at the age of 32 when my first-born child Sammi passed away. And my relationship with music changed for a while. “There is nothing else that can meet us in our heartbreak, elevate our spirits, move us to laughter and let us dream in the way that music can.” For a while, I was paralyzed with fear over the idea that I shouldn’t be able to experience the joy of live music anymore. Over time, it was music that saved me from drowning in my grief, a buoy that kept me afloat in those turbulent waters. I found that the path through grief is often lonely, exhausting, and difficult. And it’s music that can meet us on the path and help us keep walking. For me, the greatest music can elevate moments and create sacred space, even amid brokenness and grief. It can carry dreams.
There’s lot of exciting goings on this fall at COPE. This past month, we got to welcome two new incredible members to our board of directors, Sonia Mukhi and Dr. Kristin Gill. We couldn’t be happier to have your expertise, commitment, and deep appreciation of our mission. And we’re excited to collaborate with you to keep further strengthen COPE’s impact in our community.
And finally, we are coming together on October 22nd on the Long Beach boardwalk to walk together and lift each other up for COPE’s 20th annual fundraiser walk. Please come join us, spread the word and/or donate to support this terrific event – click here.
“Hold me in your thoughts
Take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes
Keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you”