This, as quite a few of my writings are, is a very personal - very emotional - very private look into my makeup - my me. This is not fiction, it really happened. THIS IS NOT a silly story about BoTai Pandas, Gr00vyland, or the Andyverse, this time I am diving as deeply real as one can go. This is Life.
My 92 year old, sweet as the sweet potato pie, Mother has passed on. She has, as god planned it, become what she was before she was. She has walked down that long road that every living thing on this eartth must eventually travail and she walked it alone. No one knows where this road leads. NO ONE. We might walk ahead of the tribe to get a better look but we pay attention to our surroundings, we always know the way back and we always come back, until it’s our time, our time to ignore the big view and enjoy the trip not to worry about getting back because no matter how observant we might be, or how many road maps we have in our pockets there is no getting back. She has passed on, she is dead, she is gone, and although this is a journey she had to take alone, she is not lonely. She is right were she is supposed to be and with who she is supposed to be with. This is what I believe - this is what I believe to be true.
She died in her bed, surrounded by loved ones - around 4am the time that the “Oh.Boy” birds wake up and start their breakfast songs of reckoning. It is also the time I have the muses all to myself, a time when I am most creative. On the night she left us I was up in my studio writing a song in her honor while she was 75 miles south of me saying her last silent goodbyes. The chords to the song came to me like new bike at Christmas, shiny and new, euphorically filling me with elation, joy and bliss. Music has this effect on me. The chords were a gift. a gift that only a loving god can give. As I played them I felt her strength, her encouragement, her love flowing through the warm summer night. I was going to write down the chord changes, as is my habit having a mind like steel jello, but I didn’t - instead I listened to an unknown voice and went outside to my heaven on earth, my Garden Of Many Colors, and prepared to place pigment on wood when my phone rang.
The last time I visited my Mom was the Saturday before when I took with me my potable keyboard so I could sit by her side and play her some of my “PandaMusic” with some old hymns and standards thrown in. She was mostly sleeping, dancing in and out with one foot in this world and one in the next, both of them however, firmly placed on solid ground. I started to quietly play and she jumped metaphorical with both of her tiny feet, all of her mind, and all of her love to this side and gave me a look - she turned around and gave me a look that I will remember until it is my turn to make the change from “is” into “was” maybe even after that. It was the golden look - the look of pure love. This is the image that I will aways have with me - a gift that only a loving god can give. I knew what to do, I played on with family members drifting in and out - a surreal final command performance.
The last words I would ever hear my mother say were spoken that Saturday, and they validated my life, telling me all of the words of encouragement, all of the praise, all of the honest critique and evaluation my dear mother had given to me over the years was from her heart - it was real - it was the truth - it was Wanda. I have played some unusual gigs in my time, shows where you can’t read the crowd and self-doubt rears it’s ugly head. You don’t know exactly what they want, exactly what to play. My niece, lovingly not wanting this to turn into a such an event, asked her grandmother what songs, what kind of music would she like to hear. And my dear weary mother said without missing a beat the last words I would ever hear say this side of eternity. “I like any music made by my son Andy, that’s what I want to hear,” and that’s what I played.
There was an hour before the funeral service where family and friends can visit, offer condolences and say their spoken and silent goodbyes, an hour of warm fellowship, my mom’s used body on display in an open casket at the front of the room. This is the custom of my family. I had asked that instead of the funeral parlor muzak that is usually played during this time that I be allowed to play my $75 keyboard, the same one that had lit up the eyes of one who is now god’s angel - who is now, like her mother before her, a mother to all. I had no doubt it was the right thing to do and no one disagreed. So again I played for my mother, this time with both of her feet firmly in heaven, this time with no doubt whatsoever what to play. No doubt, for as I played in front of the people I love the most in this world, who my mother loved the most, as I wove those ethereal chords I was given that night, music that flowed from my mothers life unto mine, as I placed these chords throughout every song I was given that day to play and forget - songs only for that moment in time I realized that I had been had been given the gift of the chords of the angels, of life of love, chords I did not have to write down - simple triads I can never forget. The music that accompany me and the love I will always have for my Mom, and the punctation my life received by the last words I heard her speak, a gift that only a loving God can give.
just say yes!
meet Andy Ward King, a professional musician and artist until a diagnosis of parkinons dsease at age 49 forced him into an early retirement., he now uses his music, his art along with the whimsical world he has created in this blog as therapy to ( as he puts it ) outsmart his brain and make the daily battles with parkinson’s a little bit easier, to give him that all important reason to get up on the morning, to make his life worth living. Andy has learned how to say NO to gving up \ NO to depression and apathy \ NO to following willingly the road of decline that stretches before him. he learned that to say no to all of these things all one has to do is say yes. Andy has learned to just say YES to life/\\