A friend mentioned that the subject of dying and grief had come up in her meditation group. Probably not coincidentally, tonight I started to experience what Joan Didion called a “vortex effect.” Actually I could feel it coming on and changed channels. Literally.
A headline in the New Yorker daily email announced a new recording of Chopin’s Nocturnes by Stephen Hough, describing his performance as “sublime” and as bringing out their “bel canto beauty.” When I couldn’t find the new Hough album on Spotify or Napster, I tried Maurizio Pollini’s recording. He has a lovely touch. As the music was truly melting my heart, I realized that as lovely as the music was, my mood was becoming more and more heavy. “Of course,” I realized, Pollini’s playing reminds me of Laura’s touch with these same Nocturnes. I didn’t want to get even sadder, but I did not want to lose this connection with Laura. So I switched to Pollini playing Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata, which I first experienced when Laura played it. The energy of Beethoven perked up my mood with happy memories, as it did in an incident I blogged about.
Tonight, I also learned a new word from Rob Burbea’s book Seeing that Frees: “easefully.” Not the same as “easily.” Just living and doing things with ease. “Easefully” reminds me of my taiji teacher urging us to stay comfortable, even as we’re about to get pushed over.
It wasn’t until I started to write this post that it occurred to me that the 12th anniversary of Laura’s death is in three days. I may have forgotten to get a yahrzeit candle yet, but Chopin tells me that the grief is still strong. Like everything else in life, it just changes.