Zebra's Child

Living With Common Variable Immune Deficiency and It's Autoimmune Friends

Category: Joy

Fairy House, Bear or Pig?

What do you see? Maybe all three?

Please weigh in with your comments below.

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Schubert Bliss

Almost 7 months to the day since my husband died, I am finding  that a sense of peace often settles over me. I’m not saying that there is not still grief, or that I don’t still miss him. There is, and I still do. But I am finding that as time goes by, I am remembering more and more often our many decades together when he was not sick, and remembering less the awfulness of the illnesses that preceded his dying.

Last night I went with two friends to a small concert venue to hear an evening of music written by Schubert. As an Austrian composer of the late 18th and early 19th century, he was unusual in that he not only composed music for small and large orchestra, but also wrote transcendently beautiful art songs for voice. Saturday was an evening of both.

I am fortunate. Much of music speaks directly to my soul. It bypasses my analytical brain and goes straight to my heart and fills me with a sense of peace and beauty. Sometimes it feels as if the music inhabits me and I sense little boundary between me and it.

Such was last night, and I realized, not for the first time, that the intense grief of my husband’s death has continued to lessen, giving me space to exist in the world. Such is the grace of time, I think, and love. As I sat there fully present in the music, I realized that this is exactly what he would want for me. He would not want me to stop living after his death, but rather fully embrace life for the both of us.

In Memoriam

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Mon mari à L’Arc de Triomphe, Paris, Printemps 2015

Glorious Autumn

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Hello Everyone,

It’s been six months since I’ve posted, and I’ve been reluctant to dive back in because I haven’t known how regularly I’d be able to post. The process of getting our house ready to sell with repairs and what-not, drastically downsizing, deciding on the small number of things to keep, then donating/selling/giving away 90% of our possessions, actually putting our house on the market, then packing, and moving 500 miles into a small apartment in a retirement community dug me into an exhaustion hole so deep that it took me two months of sleeping almost non-stop before I felt half way human again.

But here we are, my husband and I, relocated, happy, and mostly sorted. Although there are still a sizable number of boxes on the balcony yet to be unpacked, and some disorder within the apartment that we are trying to contend with. I do still have some intense periods of grief over the people and places I left behind, but as I make new friends and put down some fledgling roots here, the intensity of the grief lessens. And our lives here are so much easier. We no longer have the responsibility of the upkeep of a house, and are no longer completely responsible for all grocery shopping and meal preparation. We are 5 minutes away from our medical care, rather than the hour of driving required each way in Los Angeles traffic, and we are now living in a geographically compact city in which most things that we need are within walking distance.

Add to that the fact that the air is significantly cleaner, and the weather noticeably cooler, and I find that I am incredibly grateful that I am no longer living in the smoggy intense heat in which I had to walk the dog before 8am and after 8pm in order not to make the two of us ill.

And here in Northern California, the fall rains have already arrived. We had a glorious weekend of two storms sweeping in with a much needed steady rain that was able to soak into the earth. I covered the boxes on the balcony with tarps, and then opened the sliding glass doors in the living room and bedroom (our only two rooms) so I could more fully take in the wonder of water falling into our drought parched earth.

How have all of you been these past six months?

xoxo,
Hannah

New Life

© Zebra's Child

                                              © Zebra’s Child

My husband and I just returned from spending a week with one of our daughters, her husband, our almost-3-year-old grandson and our brand new baby granddaughter. We rented a vacation flat that was close by, as there certainly wasn’t room in their small house for two more adults. That also enabled both us and them to have some privacy and to somewhat keep our regular schedules. We are no longer used to waking up in the middle of the night with a crying baby, nor getting up at the crack of dawn with a happily active pre-schooler. So renting a vacation flat worked out brilliantly for all of us.

We were there to meet the new little one, participate in her Naming ceremony, read stories and play with the almost-3-year-old, and generally help out. As my English Aunt has said to me, “Isn’t being a Grammy grand!” It is indeed.

A Profusion of Beauty

A Profusion of Blossoms After the Rain

                    A Profusion of Blossoms After the Rain                                                                                         ©Zebra’s Child

Cathedral Window

           Cathedral Window into God’s World

I sometimes think that as artists we are privileged to be given fleeting glimpses of the world as God sees it – full of infinite beauty in the everyday.

“A Pathway to Joy”

This quote comes from an wonderful post by fellow blogger Su Leslie at Zimmerbitch, which is entitled “Pathways to Light.” She ends the post by posting a YouTube link (above), which is an excellent performance of John Rutter’s Requiem Aeternam. Leading in to this video, she writes,

The religious music of John Rutter embodies for me much that is truly good in humanity; a pathway to joy.”  ~Su Leslie

That sentence echoes deep within me, and is a perfect description of how I feel about John Rutter’s music. I have been privileged to perform many of John Rutter’s compositions, but the highlight for me came 6 or 7 years ago when one rehearsal we all walked in and found the score of his Gloria in our boxes. It’s a 20 minute piece, and at the time was by far the hardest piece we had ever performed. I seem to recall that we spent about 2 months learning it, and our musicianship grew tremendously in the process. The second movement, opening with only the men’s voices, is so beautiful that it almost broke my heart, even in that haltingly imperfect first reading. It is the kind of music that haunts me with it’s beauty, and I literally began to hear it in my dreams once we had been rehearsing it for awhile. It was then the kind of piece that is given to you occasionally in your performance life, that stretches your skill almost to the breaking point. The kind of piece that reaches inside and changes you. So that from that point forward, there becomes the way you sang before that piece, and the way you sang after. John Rutter’s Gloria became such a piece for me.

Gloria, by John Rutter:
(You have to click on the tiles on the screen after the first movement finishes (I Allegro) in order to listen to parts II and II. Be careful, as the tiles are not arranged in order. Listen especially to the second movement: II Andante. That is the movement that is the most ethereally beautiful.)

Remember to Tune in to the Spring Concert 2015!

And then let me know what you think. Did you like it? What was your favorite piece of music? What sort of music do you like?

We’ve got little something for everyone, so please join us live @ 5:00 PM, PDT!

http://allsaints-pas.org then click on Live Stream.

Enjoy. 🙂

Announcement: Spring Concert 2015 Live Streamed!!!!!

Hi Everyone,

This year for the first time, our Spring Concert is going to be Live Streamed, AND IT IS GOING TO BE FANTASTIC!!!! It will be streamed on June 7, 2015 @ 5:00 PM (17:00) Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). I know this will be in the middle of the night for some of you, but this concert will not be held in a buffer, so if you want to hear some fantastic music, tune in. And let me know how you like it.

  1. Go to this website: http://allsaints-pas.org
  2. Click on Live Stream at the top
  3. Do this about 5 minutes before the concert starts so that you have the screen up and ready for action.
  4. Get ready to have your socks knocked off! 😉