Sunday, October 25, 2009


Music was a very important part of Colby's life. He was one of those people who could pick up an instrument and play it. Guitar, keyboards, drums, fiddle, bass, harmonica and a few unnamed instruments he made from wood, wire, and scrap metal. Today I find on a set of shelves in the basement stacks of guitar "tab." These are the chord progressions of songs that Colby found on the Internet and printed out when he was first learning to play. He was 12 then and there are sheets for lots of songs by B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, among others. I remember Colby sitting in the basement for hours, days on end, going over and over a series of chords, a lick, a riff. And he wouldn't quit until he got it right.

I used to have the same drive, the same obsession with getting a job done right, no matter what it took. I still do the job right, no matter what it takes. I am incapable of doing less, but the passion, the drive, the obsession, for me, has gone. It seems such an effort to do anything these days and I am so tired. So very tired. Members of my grief support group say this happens when life starts to catch up with the grief. One person can only handle, do, so much. I just can't do anymore. I wish I could sleep for a week.

I take comfort in knowing I make daily headway in sorting through Colby's "stuff," and that while I am not nearly as productive as I'd like to be, I do get things done. It tales me longer than I'd like to do them, and I am still about 10 days behind in turning work projects around, but I can see that in many ways I am moving forward. It's been three months today since Colby passed. Other parents remind me that I am still in the early stages of my grief. The very early stages. They remind me to take care of myself, not to push myself too much, to tackle life at a slower pace than I am used to.

So today I allow myself to linger over the pages of Colby's guitar tabs. I stand next to the recycle bin in the bright fall sunlight and pull staples from the sheets. I remember each song, and the days of effort Colby put in in learning them. I hear the music, his music, in my head. I debate holding on to the stacks of paper, then realize that the sheets are not part of my memories. Colby's fingers slowly moving over the strings, the tentative notes, the music itself is forever and always imbedded in my brain. I carefully place the sheets in the recycle bin and close the lid. Just as I will never forget Colby, I will never forget his music or how much it meant to him. I don't need sheets of paper to remind me of that.

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