Monday, March 14, 2011

A Piano and a Chair

We have just jettisoned our couch and brought up our century-old baby grand piano that had been relegated to the basement when we moved here 5 years ago. I have decided that it is more important to enjoy this instrument than to have the formalities of a regular living room. Music has always been part of my life – with Grade 8 Royal Conservatory for me and then both of our girls. As an adult, I have played mostly for my own enjoyment. As an MP, there were many times I would return from the airport and feel so much more “home” when I could sit down and fill the house with the melodies of my heart tunes. I call this piano my therapist – how often in the darkest days of Doug's depression after his stroke and resulting brain injury, I would find comfort and hope in the words of the hymns I learned when I was young. While my fingers played the tunes, my heart would rehearse the words I knew so well. Music is special. And to think my grandchildren are beginning to learn now as well! Just today, Doug and I visited my daughter for lunch and heard the 2 boys, ages 4 and 6, play their latest lessons on their new piano. It's 3 fingers, only on the black keys – but oh what potential! I'll share that scene with you....

A corollary of this piano move has been the arrival of my green Parliamentary Chair in the nook of the baby grand. Until now, this prized chair has been hidden away in an upstairs bedroom. Now it has a place. It is very special. In January, 1998, 3 months after my resignation as MP, I was invited to a caucus meeting in Vancouver. When I chose to step down, Doug was realizing the effects of his brain injury - loss of all things that meant life to him - and was falling into a severe depression. Those days were dark and long. At that Caucus meeting, I was surprised to be called to the platform by Preston Manning. There, he presented me with this chair – purchased by the Caucus for me as a farewell tribute. It represents not only the work and relationships of those few years, but the passion that took me to Ottawa and then, as recognized that day, the passion that brought me home again.

Its interesting how our everyday decisions and even the objects in our lives come alive with the stories from our past. It is no wonder that older people find it so difficult to “downsize”. Viewed from the outside, an old chair can simply seem dated or worn. Viewed from the heart, it carries the personalities and even the dreams of the past. Even as I spend time with a friend this week in her need to move to a supportive living complex, I hope I can meaningfully relate to her memories and the emotional attachments to the things she will have to leave behind.

1 comment :

  1. I'm so glad you have moved your piano up. I remember when you told me that you used to play Day by Day in those dark days, and every time I hear that song now, I get choked up thinking about you sitting alone, playing that song, and communing with your Heavenly Father. Treasured memories.