Life in G Major

The rhythm of life, ebb and flow, has no particular timing, no slow-fast-slow movements, no prescribed number of bars, no identifiable changes from waltz to march to nocturne.

My worst years, 1984 and 1985, followed by slightly less awful years 1986 and 1987, were the funeral dirge of my first marriage, played out in flashes of clashing cymbals, angry trumpets, throbbing drums, and weeping strings.

Romance, with Chopin at the piano, re-entered my life in 1998, and the dirges and marches disappeared for a while as I remarried, my daughters grew up, married, started careers, and produced grandchildren. Oh yes, a few tympani rolls of thunder occasionally, but a sprightly, cheerful, colorful movement.

Of course it could not last. The unexpected hints of discord in the bass voices came from my elderly mother, who in her last, confused years, turned on me and others, making wild accusations that pierced me as surely a squawking clarinet pierces the eardrums. Supporting her, the solo voice, was my only brother, shrieking and strident, threatening, his hatred aimed at me, nurses, doctors, and friends. My eldest daughter’s marriage crumbled and her financial struggles grew to a symphonic sturm und drang, during which my mother died. A cacophonic chorus of health problems laid my husband low for much of this year.

Separation from my children and grandchildren is pain of Wagnerian proportions. I long for them so much, just the ease of meeting for lunch, or taking the children out to a movie. For eighteen months, we had a duplex for sale, wanting the proceeds to purchase a condo in their city, where we might live in the summers. As endless as a Mahler symphony, with far too much instrumentation and repetitive themes, the sale left us exhausted and ready to listen to elevator music.

But, Mom’s will finally settled. The property sold, despite outrageous cost. My daughter found a new job and a new home. My husband has recovered well from his surgery.

I wasn’t a fan of 2015, or 2014 or 2013 for that matter. The slow, heavy movements in a minor key are over for a while. I want life in G major, please.


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