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My Friend

I love my piano. It’s a Yamaha grand and sits in stately repose in our living room. The long windows flanking it stretch high above my head as they invite the morning sunshine and early evening rays to illuminate its keys and caress its soft, ebony curve.

When I sit down in front of my piano I feel as if I am greeting an old but familiar friend for the first time in a long while. We talk, sometimes for hours and sometimes only for a few fleeting moments. Sometimes our conversations are lively, sometimes they’re slow, but I can always lay bare my very soul. It is a tremendous listener and never tires- only requiring a little care every now and then.

However, as much as I enjoy spending time at my piano’s side and listening to what it has to say, I think the most important lesson I cherish about my piano is how it is an exemplary metaphor for life. Just as it takes both black and white keys to make music, it takes good times and bad to lead a full life. My piano doesn’t know what sound it will make next, nor whether it will emanate minor or major sounds, nor whether I am playing missed notes or skillfully executed passages. It only produces the sound I tell it to.

Similarly, I have the same low level of control over what happens in my life. Luckily, I have a much more skilled Musician who controls the tempo of my life- one who loves me more than I could ever love my piano. While I don’t know how long I’ll remain in a minor phase, or how long I will revel in the sweet melody of a major one, maybe it’s not for me to know. I just have to play the melody that I’m given. Hopefully, that melody will ring true and boldly.

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Poh-Poh

Yesterday, I spent the whole day with my mother and Poh-Poh, my grandmother. My grandmother has a form of dementia which induces paranoia, delusions, and short term memory loss, so caring for her is difficult. Complicating these mental deficiencies are the memories and deep emotions surrounding the unique mother-daughter relationship that mom and grandmother share.

While I was more familiar with handling the objective challenges posed by elderly folks (equipped as I was through my long term care ombudsman training in law school), dealing with the problems and frustrations generated by the care of your own grandmother was something completely different. Here, there is no retreat to the safer, saner world that distance and unfamiliarity usually affords you. Here, there is no semester which ends your obligations to serve and protect those who have no concept of time. Here, one has to heal from getting slashed by shards from a broken mind. Continue reading

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