The Process of Grieving

July 28, 2006

Without music, I would have no doubt disintegrated into a puddle of blood and tears by now. Music kept me sane. There was a procedure in which music helped me (or, is helping me) heal.

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First, there was Satie. Only “Gymnopedies” resisted the silence as my former fiance and I ate supper in resignation. Later there was “Sarabande” when we talked to each other about our own destruction.

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Then there was Teion Kankyo — literally “low(bass) sound environment” — when I was really in the low. This unit consists of Daisuke Fuwa, conductor extraordinaire of Shibusa Shirazu, and his fellow tuba-toting bandmate, Daisuke Takaoka. It’s solid good music, and of course it’s good listening even if you’re grieving about nothing in particular.

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Then, once I’ve cried so much I felt dessicated and frigid, I succumbed to a long, lusty sleep until my cells started answering to other desires. It happened to be very early in the morning when I did finally get up. I had to listen to Ivy’s In The Clear. Especially the very first tune, “Nothing But The Sky.” I keep hearing its echoes at random lonely moments of the day.

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Once Cannonball’s Bossa Nova started ringing in my ears, I knew I was headed towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

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But of course we all have our ups and downs, and I teeter off the pinnacle of my alcoholic euphoria — and then Bill Evans comes into the limelight. Alone is classicly tragic. It’s the perfect music to feel sorry for oneself.

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Same Bill Evans, but I knew I’ve come a long way when I wanted to listen to the Symphony Orchestra piece. There’s still much melancholiness, but a new dimension emerges out of this music — a majestic calm. A beautiful, majestic calm. Like an elephant’s stride or a lily’s gait. It made my problems appear so petty.

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It’s like flying (I imagine so — I’ve never flown.) When you sense a slight tremor in the wind telling you of an updraft, you ride it. You have to catch the wind when you can, and not worry about the inevitable fall that comes afterwards. Sometimes this means drinking yourself silly. Sometimes it means spending oodles of money on whimsical purchases such as a pair of suade leather stack-heeled high heels the color of midnight, or an airplane ticket across the Pacific. Sometimes music can do this for you. And Satoru Shionoya’s “Hands of Guido” will do this for you. Not only does it take you up in a whirlwind in energetic numbers like “According to La Meteo” and “Skinnydipper,” it later cushions your fall in a series of delicate numbers like “Azami,” “En Harmonie,” and “4-0-10-5” (click here for a video clip about the last title.)

And then, finally there’s…

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Aretha!

When I came this far, I knew life was eventually going to be okay again. I still have the occasional crying bouts and severe nights of insomnia, but I thank all my amazing friends for their time, understanding, and willingness to hear me swear and bitch. Family is a little too close and a little too much to handle during times of crises. Parents all too often look to the past, and try their damnedest to restore what’s been broken. Friends, on the other hand, are keys to future doors. They tell me to keep looking ahead. They make me laugh. I am truly blessed with good people all around me — surely they have their own personal crises too, but they choose not to dwell on it for the sake of making me feel human again. And that makes me want to look ahead in life, so that I may someday return their favors.

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