This past Tuesday, I went to the gym and left there with a new memory of my life nearly nine years ago now. It was something that I remember clearly, but one of the memories that was lost on me.
It was July 2008, just after my first two surgeries. I was at Gaylord Hospital for rehab and Ellen, my speech pathologist was trying her hardest to get me to express myself. I understood everything she was saying, but could never verbalize a response. From conversations she had with my family prior to me being a patient there, it was known that I enjoyed playing the piano and had been in the middle of writing a song upon my diagnosis. Back in 2014, I shared my original composition Brainstorm’ with you, but at the gym, a song by one of my favorite pianists, George Winston, came on which I hadn’t heard in a long time. As I went to skip to the next song, I saw my name – it was my recording of the song and it brought me back.
I finished writing the rest of Brainstorm’ shortly after returning home in 2008 and continued to play all of the songs that I enjoyed most. During law school, I played on my keyboard, but this was nothing compared to my baby grand at my parents’ house, but it did the job. After the shunt surgery and during my leave of absence from school, I was living home and able to play more than ever. I found that music was my medicine, it healed me and was one of the joys that got me through the days.
In December 2008, just four months after my miracle, I was in the recording studio and though I had been there before, being there this time was surreal and took on a whole new meaning. Maybe it was because during the depths of my illness, I was afraid that playing again was impossible, but here I was, sitting at a Steinway grand piano and playing the songs I had been working on prior to my diagnosis. It was a day that I’ll never forget. I recorded nine songs that day, and as I played each one, I could not help but to think of all that I had gone through. Here I was, joking around with the recording engineer and hearing his remarks after what I had been through made for a memorable day.
The CD was ready to pick up within a week, but it had to be more than ordinary. Thanks to my sister who designed the jacket, I wrote a special dedication to my family, friends, doctors and medical professionals. Four months after being unable to play my beloved piano, my CD was ready. It was ready to share with my family, friends, doctors and medical professionals, including Ellen.
Music heals and music is therapy. I am reenergized and reinvigorated to play more often – one day soon when I have room, I’ll have my piano and possibly even write another song to add to the soundtrack of my life.
3 thoughts on “Listen To The Music”
Good evening Chris,
Always enjoy a good read such as here in your blog. I could identify with many aspects written such as not quite being told not to breathe. Hence my current positive progress in my now new lease on life. Still feels like a continued up hill battle, which I am not done conquering.
Hi Vanessa, I hope that all is well. Thank you for reaching out and your kind words. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling upbeat and positive! Both great and such a key part in your continued recovery. As you aptly note, some days will be better than others, but continue to fight and have that faith! You will persevere!