Ex, family, memories, music

Our married life in music…

Saturday afternoon, Bill and I decided to make a couple of CDs for his daughter. I came up with the idea after she sent us a book of guitar chords for our anniversary. She had asked us what kind of music we like. It was a hard question to answer, because I have an enormous, eclectic library of music. It grows larger almost every week.

As we were thinking about what kinds of music we like, it occurred to me that a number of songs in my library have a cool story connected to them. So I chose about 37 songs and put them on CDs, then wrote a brief backstory for each track. I figured maybe they would provide some food for thought the next time they Skype. She can ask Bill about the backstories, even if she doesn’t like the music.

I sent an email to Bill with my notes and invited him to add to them if he wants to. I had to email him with the comments because we don’t have a printer available. I miss good old fashioned mix tapes. Some of my favorite cassettes were made by my friends. I have a couple of them in storage that I listened to over and over again. I wish I could listen to them now. Sad that some technology is obsolete. I have a Mark Knopfler VHS concert tape that is more complete than the DVD version of the same concert. I don’t think our VCR works anymore, though.

I really enjoyed making the discs. Truth be told, I could have made a dozen of them. Music has been a huge part of my relationship with Bill. We have spent so many hours sitting around, listening to music, talking, and drinking wine. We both have broad tastes, so anything and everything comes up on my HomePod. The discs I made for younger daughter include everything from Led Zeppelin to Kathleen Battle, with a dash of bluegrass and even a couple of songs by yours truly. I added one song because it represented how I feel about Bill. The other was our wedding song and Bill requested that I include it. I put both at the end of the CDs, so they’re easy to skip.

One of the songs I included was Kathleen Battle’s magnificent rendition of “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.” I used a solo version because it was shorter, but I would have liked to have included this one…

I would have loved to have seen this in person. Rest in peace, Jessye Norman.

I was introduced to Kathleen Battle’s music by my very first voice teacher, who presented me with one of her CDs. It was a life changer. I became a super fan. Incidentally, this particular album featuring Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle is absolutely glorious. It got me through so many hard days when I was younger. I am including a link at the bottom of the page for anyone who is interested. I’m not particularly religious, but I do love some of the music.

Younger daughter is religious. Hopefully, she will enjoy some of the religious songs I included. Bill is probably more into God than I am, though, and a lot of the religious music I put on the CDs are songs we bonded over. But really, I just want her to have some insight into who her dad is. She was denied any access to him for over fifteen years, and they have a lot to catch up on. I figure music is one way to bridge the gap somewhat. If anything, she can read the stories and ask him about them. Like it or not, I’m a big part of Bill’s life and part of the story.

Actually, I don’t get the sense that younger daughter resents me anymore. I think realizing that her mother is who she is has made me look better. And I’m sure that there’s a part of younger daughter who is going through sheer hell, because of all of the lies she was told and time that was lost to her mother’s craziness. Make no mistake about it. Her mother is not a well woman. She defines toxicity. Some of the things she’s said and done to Bill alone are just terrible. What makes it worse is that I can’t really write about them in a lot of detail because it’s just too fucked up. And Bill is just one person. She has no doubt done some real damage to other people, too.

And yet, I don’t think she’s completely evil as much as I think she has an honest to God mental illness. I have empathy for people who are mentally ill, but it can be hard to separate people from their actions, particularly when you are personally involved. If Ex was, say, a social work client and not my husband’s former wife, I might have a different opinion of her. I might even feel kind of sorry for her. But she’s my husband’s ex wife, and she really hurt him on many levels. Her actions have had ripple effects that extend far and wide.

Younger daughter’s husband sent Bill an email requesting stories about her, either from when they’ve been in contact recently or when she was a little girl. He’s making her a book of memories for her birthday, which is next week. Bill was there for her until she was almost six years old. Then, he was unceremoniously kicked out of her life. He last saw her as a child when she was eleven years old. It took fifteen years for them to see each other in person again, although they’ve been Skyping since 2017. I watched Bill working hard on an email full of memories of his daughter and realized that when his daughter reads what he wrote, she may feel angry that he was out of her life for so long. The good news is, she had the courage to reconnect, and they have some time to make new memories. Hopefully, anyway… if none of us gets sick with the dreaded virus.

I read a pretty harrowing account a food writer wrote about his experiences with COVID-19. He seems to be recovering now, but it sounds like he went through sheer hell. I remember being sick with the flu at Christmas time in 2013. I got really sick, although not enough to go to the hospital. I did consider seeing a doctor, but ended up not going. I imagine that if I got COVID-19, I would get very sick. Lately, I’ve been coughing and sneezing a lot because I have allergies and asthma. I think COVID-19 could possibly do me in. So I stay home and wait… hoping this virus can be tamed with a vaccine. I hear the vaccine isn’t very pleasant, but it sounds like it’s better than getting the actual illness.

Well, that about does it for today. I finished my last Fender Play lesson yesterday, so now I’m going to go back and redo some lessons that need work. Maybe at some point, someone besides Bill will want to hear me play and I’ll feel worthy enough to oblige.

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