Six months ago today I did the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. I drove to Moffitt Cancer Center knowing I was going to say good bye to my friend forever. I didn't know Randy would pass away that day, but on that excruciatingly long trip (which in reality was a little over a mile long) I realized I just couldn't do it again. I decided to make peace with my decision and say good bye.
They say that time heals all wounds, and for the most part this is correct. I am able to think about Randy and smile, dream about him and enjoy it. I am able to recognize that there are milestones that he should have been a part of (like Cheesehead becoming Dr. Cheesehead) without my angst completely ruining it for me. What I never expected was that six months later there would still be the occasional moment where my grief washes over me like a wave, eroding a piece of my hard exterior.
After Randy passed away, his mom gave me his digital piano. She felt he would have liked for me to have it. I can only hope she was right. This was a selfless and generous gift and I attempted to express my gratitude despite my already raw emotions. I am now aware of where Randy got his tendency to share whatever he had. I told her I would never ever play Randy's piano without thinking of him. Six months later that is absolutely true.
The day the piano came home with me, runnergirl helped me move it. Since it is a digital piano, it has features like recording and playing back music. We plugged it in to make sure it was working properly. I think we simultaneously looked at the playback button wondering if Randy was still there somewhere. She pressed it and there he was, playing some unidentified but dramatic and glorious chords on the pipe organ setting. How a propos.
I didn't blog about the piano when I first got it. I meant to, and I brought it up once in passing, at which time one of you called me on it. Very honestly, I was at a time when I was getting sick of being depressing- all gloom and doom. I use this blog to express myself, but I do have an obligation to my readers to not make all you as sad as I was. So I figured I'd wait awhile and that I'd know when the time was right.
I knew having the piano would make a difference in my life. I never guessed that it would bring so much joy to my whole home. When I am alone before Dean comes home in the evening, I play with abandon, sometimes opening up the glass door to the balcony to let the music be as free as I feel in that moment. When Dean is home, I am still meek, playing somewhat tentatively, quietly, deliberately. But no matter how many times I stumble over my own fingers, I finish a song and see Dean looking at me amazed. "That was beautiful!" He never loses enthusiasm or awe for my talent and passion. But at all times it is Allison that seems to get the most from the piano. As soon as the lid comes up she is weaving though my legs, purring furiously.She'll jump up on the top, rub her face on the books, and roll around on her back, looking at me with nothing but pure happiness on her sweet face seemingly saying, "Thank you! Thank you!" Without the piano I would have no idea she was so musical. Dean would have little appreciation for Beethoven, Lizst and Chopin.
I was afraid that I would be too overcome with grief and flooded with emotion to enjoy the piano. I thought I would always associate it with the horrible feeling of losing a close friend. I resolved to not let that happen, so it never has. I've always thought of it as a present from Randy to me. And Dean. And Allison. Thank you, Randy, from all of us.