Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Singing a friend farewell

This post came recently to the Yahoo group for Kindermusik teachers...a teacher from the east coast wrote and shared about the loss of her beloved folk dance teacher. I thought it was so touching and wanted to post it for you here. I hope that someday, I can go out on the winds of music and love like this.

Hi everyone, I thought you might be interested in how our "farewell concert" of sorts went. (The background for those who don't remember is that a dear friend - the director of a folk dance ensemble where I danced and sang for 10 years - was dying, had refused treatment, and we decided to get a group together to go sing to him, rather than waiting for his funeral.)

It was, quite frankly, amazing. Some 35 people showed up, including some who were in this ensemble back in the 70s. We thought we had to shift gears at first because his room was too small and the rehab folks said they couldn't move his bed to the lounge. They wanted to put him in a reclining wheelchair, but he said he didn't want to be moved out of bed. Then our stage manager - a big, burly, tattooed guy- went to talk to someone and lo and behold, they agreed to move him.

We were all assembled in the lounge when he was wheeled in and I think it was a bit overwhelming at first, seeing us all. We began to sing the folk songs from his homeland (Macedonia), and as we started singing, his eyes lit up. He was too weak to do much, but he did start moving one hand, as if he were conducting us. At one point, heeven clapped ever so quietly after a song. Such little gestures spokesuch volumes! During one song, a few folks danced a little line dance around his bed. He tried to talk, and when we got close enough to hear him, he was whispering "Lift your feet!" Still directingus!!

We sang for about 20-25 minutes, then it was clear that he was really tired. So my husband and I started singing a quiet song, and we moved to the back of the room so we could become background music. (This was unplanned, mind you, it just happened organically. ) One or two people joined us and we sang and hummed quietly while the troupe members took their final bow - each, in turn, bowing over his bed and telling him just how much he, and the ensemble, and meant to them. How lovely it was of this man to choose to die in a way that allowed us to make our goodbyes to him, and to honor him while he was still living. He died this afternoon, with four or five of the "troupies"around him at the time. Thank you all so much for the encouragement and hugs you sent. I can only hope that when it's my turn to go, my friends will come and sing me out as well. Martie

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. And wow again. I LOVE your blog, Heidi. This post was wonderful. Love to you,