As we reach the end of another year, I believe some folks pause for thought, some make resolutions and some party the night away into oblivion to forget mistakes, vowing to begin a new once the sun comes up. Ask anyone, I’m sure they’ll say I’m a “pause for thought type”, reflecting quietly on past achievements or heartbreak. So, with the end of 2016, it’s time to reflect on its passing and all the good and the bad it has brought.
However, before we go any further, I want to share with you that I keep a running list of my “unforgettable” years in my head. What makes them stand out as unforgettable is that I experienced or learned something that enlightened or changed the course of my life. I can tell you that 1979 was one of those years. That was the year I discovered The Beatles and rock and roll. Just a few years later, 1982 makes the list with my first crush and heartbreak that ensued. There are others years that made me older and wiser and I am sure you can share the same.
Which leads us to 2016. I didn’t think I would have another year in my life where I would experience profound change, sadness and enlightenment all at the same time. The crux of this was the passing of my Father. At first glance it seems like a natural progression - he was 80 and he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years earlier, however that is not how it went down. My Dad, unfortunately, committed suicide with a gun in his truck on a gloomy and cold February morning. It is a hard pill to swallow and there is not a day that goes by where I am not going over those events in my head. What did I miss? Was I not listening? How do I comfort my Mom now that he’s gone? These larger than life questions and thoughts shaped my year and will shape the years to come.
Like many others, my Dad had major depression. Visible symptoms started 22 years ago, when he was still working. A man who was a straight shooter, no nonsense, started coming home telling strange stories of “those people” coming after him. Too soon, we realized that he needed to be under a doctor’s care and so started the journey for my Mother and I - dealing with major depression. Medication did wonders. However, as I try to grasp, how he slipped through my fingers last February, I am still at a loss.
At the funeral I forgave him, because I knew he loved me and I knew he must have been in immense pain for this peace-loving man to carry out this act. In the months that followed, I felt I was enlightened as if he was looking over me, pushing me on. I poured myself into my music and singing and finally got the 2 from the Heart project out of the basement and into the world. Finally, I was out singing and performing just how I wanted to, singing the songs I wanted to sing. It doesn’t mean it was easy, but I felt a massive energy pushing me and telling me too keep going. I know that was him. He changed my life.
So, as 2016 ends I and putting it in the “unforgettable’ category. It deserves it. And as it ends I don’t say, “Gee, I’m glad this year is over”, nope, not at all. I know I have learned, I know I have been enlightened and I know I have been changed…forever.
There is still so much to say here, but If you know someone who is struggling, these are a few fine organizations who could help: