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LET HER HAVE HER MUSIC
Music heals and I have witnessed the strength that it can give. My cousin Ricky passed away from brain cancer and there are no words to express the immense sense of loss that our family felt, especially his mother, my aunt Carmen. Aunt Carmen is a tiny woman whose emotional strength would challenge a lumberjack’s physical strength. During Ricky’s last few months, I began to wonder how she did it. Where did all that strength come from? My wonderment was answered during my last visit with Ricky before he passed. When I walked into the hospital room, I realized where Aunt Carmen’s strength came from- her music. When I walked in, my Aunt Carmen was sitting on a window sill with her sterilized hospital gown on and a small radio sitting next to her. It provided background music in the quiet hospital room that drowned out the sounds of our crying for which I was grateful. The music that was playing came from a CD that she made– her own playlist. There was some classic salsa, some gospel and other songs that provided the words for how she felt in that moment. It provided the words and the feelings that we couldn’t say. No one said anything more than just their “hi’s” and “bye’s” and “sorry’s”. I started thinking of songs that would give me my own comfort. When I approached his bedside, he was unconscious and machines were providing him with each breath he took. I instantly thought of the song “Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie, a song about memories and loss. I’m not sure if the music playing in the hospital room disturbed the other patients, but no one complained. Some of our family members wondered why Aunt Carmen would play music in a hospital room. To them, it seemed a bit crazy, but the music gave her a sense of peace and normalcy as she dealt with losing her child, one of the most difficult things a parent can go through. They let her have her music.
By Janet Reyes
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