Wednesday, July 27

Armida, Part II. The Innkeeper Sang, Armida's Eyes Danced ....7/27/11

My dear friend Armida
          Last Thursday, I visited a dear friend, Armida. Her life is ending soon because of a disease that's ravaging her body. She took a strong tumble in late May. A MRI was performed, to see if she cracked her spine. It was damaged, yes, but they also discovered
she was riddled with the life consuming disease of cancer. I've gone through this experience before.  My father died of prostate cancer four years ago,  I've also been tending. for the past year to a friend who's still recovering from cancer surgery.

         My guitar and songbook I brought along. Her husband, Gerard, escorted me to her bedroom. Sitting up in a hospital bed, her beaming impish eyes greeted me. Was it nice, giving her a hug. Armida's son, also named Paul, his daughter Allison and Gerard sat there with me. Nobody spoke. I really didn't know them. Water was offered.  I propped my 1,000 + songs songbook on my open guitar case and serenaded Armida..
         Her eyes kept time to the music as I gazed at her while singing; her radiating smile, brightened this room adorned with a crucifix that hung on the white wall behind her bed.  My left fingers danced upon the frets of the guitar while my right ones plucked away arpeggios and other finger pickings I've been doing since I was 15. My, was it wonderful, seeing music comfort Armida and her loved ones. The neck of my guitar poked the towels stacked up on a tray to my left.  I managed. That was a small problem compared to Armida's.

        At one point Armida asked, "would you perform at my funeral?"  Of course I would, I replied.

        My visit beckoned sensitive memories. You see, I did the same thing for my dying mom, less than three years ago, the day before her life ended in a private room in a Modesto hospital. On that night, I sang for 5 1/2 hours and three hours on the next,  her final day, which also was my mom's birthday.  I held my mother in my arms when her life left her.  Moments like last Thursday are special. The value of cherishing each breath we have and each moment we share with our loved ones becomes vividly clear.

       The one and a half hours I sang Thursday seemed like thirty minutes, but my body knew better. The next day I was exhausted. I had given my all.

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1. I'm thankful for precious moments shared with dear friends.
2. I never cease marveling at the comforting power of music.
3. I was touched, Thursday. That day, while playing the guitar in Armida's room, an unseen Guest joined us. His soothing Presence was felt throughout the house, however, so I was told by those with me.
4. I'm glad  I helped several others breathe easier, last Thursday, including Armida.
"Success--To laugh much; to win respect of intelligent persons and the affections of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one's self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived--this is to have succeeded."             Ralph Waldo Emerson 
5. I was moved by the unspoken partnership shared with everyone in the room while I sang: Armida's eyes danced with the music, while daubing her joyful tears; her son's stress took comfort in the songs and evident happiness of his mom.  Allison carefully observed the stranger in her grandma's room, Gerard wearily smiled, reflecting his gratitude for his wife's buoyed spirit.
6. I was happy that joy filled her voice and spirit, because of our time together. Does life get any better than times like this?  I think not. 
7. I am privileged being Armida's friend.
How About You? 
1.Have you recently told your loved ones how much they mean to you?  You never know.  All it takes is a car accident, to affect you or your loved ones. In an instant, circumstances can forever change. 
2. You've heard my gratitudes, would it be possible to hear three of yours?  Just asking...
For the first post about Armida's home going journey, please click here.  For the third installment, please read here.
Image:"Sometimes Things Get Magical"  by Tim Blessed © all rights reserved, used by permission

4 comments:

Phyllis said...

I am so sorry to read about your friend Armida. My thoughts & prayers are surely with her & her family. I can almost hear your guitar and songs sung. What kind of songs did you sing to her?
1. I am so grateful for my good health (at least I think I am in good health). But like Armida, things could change in an instant.
2. I am so very thankful my air conditioning is in good working order. How miserable it would be not to have a cool house in this horribly hot weather.
3. I am grateful for my family & friends. Where would we be without them? They hold my life together.
4. I will be especially grateful if this post goes through without a hitch. That would be spectacular!
5. Some of your friends from SSS asked me to say hello to you from them. So hello.

Paul NorthernCal said...

Hurray! Great to see you, Phyllis!

Thanks for dropping by. I sang primarily spiritual songs, many taken from the Psalms. Usually, I prefer songs written by Carol King, James Taylor, John Denver, Crosby Stills, Nash.

But then again I can do songs from Musicals, e.g. Rogers and Hart, Rogers and Hammerstein, and the Great American Songbook: Irving Berlin,Cole Porter, George Gershwin, George M. Cohan,Johnny Mercer, you know, oldies. Songs like:

Autumn in New York, Cheek to Cheek, My Old Flame, Embraceable You, Twilight Time, Someone to Watch Over Me, Travelin' Light, Two Sleepy, People, you get the picture, plus old, old standards, from the 1800's.

I'm grateful for my air conditioning, too. It's the breezes we get from the bay. Even if the temps get up in the 90's, it always cools down into the 60's at night, thanks due to the evening fog. (No humidity, during the day, however.)

BARBARA said...

Here I am, I finally made it!!

I am grateful for the honesty that surrounded me while I listened to Armida speak for the first and last time while her devoted and loving husband looked on.

I am grateful for true friends.

I am grateful for being so very healthy.

I am grateful for my job so that I can help my daughter have a college education.

I am grateful that I am loved!

Thanks P.

Paul NorthernCal said...

Barbara,

Sorry, I missed this post. I replied to your other comments. Wasn't Armida amazing, that night?

Thanks for sharing your gratitudes, you're jumping right into the spirit of this inn! You sound like a pretty fortunate woman, I like all the things you are grateful for. Isn't it good for your soul, having an attitude of gratitude? :-)

Please, keep coming back, you add to this place. The innkeeper likes company.

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.

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