Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mom's Music

About two months ago, I finally felt ready to go through some of mom's things. I decided that I would start in the basement where, as many of you know, she taught piano lessons. I took lessons when I was younger. A year or so from one of her piano teacher friends, and a while from her. (That debacle lasted about two weeks I think!) So often I am asked if I know how to play, and I have to say that I don't. Mom always said I would appreciate knowing how to play the piano when I got older. And guess what - she was right. I do wish I knew how to play now so that I could carry on the beautiful music she made and taught to so many.  

But I don't, and so what to do with all the 30 years of music, games, books, etc. that filled the basement? One of mom's very good friends and a fellow piano teacher, Polly, offered to go through the music for me, keep what she would like, and give the rest a good home. So after an afternoon of packing up the basement with the help of Claudia (luckily she's cheap labor and can be paid back with wine!) I dropped off a truck load at Polly's house. 

Recently I received the email below from Polly. It brought tears to my eyes, and I felt the need to share it with all of her friends and students. 

"Just a note to let you know what I did with your mom’s music. I went through all the music and took the books and items I thought I could use. It was a bittersweet time because I saw many things we had bought together and many of the games and books we had shared over the years. Then I put the rest out so the teachers in our teacher group could come by and see if there was anything they wanted. They had the same feeling I had --- that we were with Cree again and so in addition to trying to take care of her music, we had a time of remembering your mom.

Today Cecil and I took the music that was left down to the Raleigh Community Music School –located on Tucker Street in downtown Raleigh. They currently have 100 students enrolled – these are students who would normally not be able to afford lessons – and 15 teachers. Your mom’s music will provide these students with the books and sheets and some games they need because most could not pay for music. I gave the school your mom’s name and explained that the music was from her studio.

I also found a book of music quotes that she and I bought one year in Savannah when we were on our way to the International Piano Teachers Conference in Orlando. The book had sayings that we both loved. I took that book to Allen Herther who once worked for Burrage and now has his own music store and Cree thought highly of him. He came to her memorial service. I gave it to him on his 50th birthday and told him it had been Cree’s.

I just wanted you to know what happened with her music – that everyone was appreciative not only of the music but that Cree had been a part of their lives.   So her music will continue to help young students become musicians."

Mom, your music will live on. 

Friday, May 31, 2013


On this particularly tough day I'm thankful for all of the support and love that my friends and family have shown over this past year.

My grandma, Lou Lou, who after finding out about her daughter's passing told me, "I'll give you all of your mother's love." She is so strong and I am grateful to have her and still have that piece of my mom. We'll celebrate her 89th birthday tomorrow with her favorite, caramel cake, and my mom's recipe for lemonade cake.

My brother, who left his life in Miami and moved home. This has been a trying year for him but he has shown a love and maturity that is beyond measure.

My dad, the best diddy ever. Still taking care of us, still taking care of their rose garden.

My mom's cousin. We both lost our best friend and have found support in each other. Texts, wine, calls, and confidants.

My uncle, who helped us make difficult decisions and continues to be there for us and love us no matter what.

My friends, both new and old, giving me such support. Your phone calls, texts, hugs, notes, and gifts mean so much to me. I know it's hard to know what to say during something like this, but just knowing you are there for me is the best support you could offer.

My mom's friends. I appreciate you reaching out to us, offering your kind words and stories about my mom. I know she was so thankful to have you as her sounding board, counselor, and support system.

And last but not least, my husband. My mom loved you very much and was so happy that I found someone like you to be my life partner. I appreciate your love, patience, and hugs, even on my toughest days. Thank you for being my rock. I love you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

One more night...

...and this nightmare year will be over. There will no longer be "firsts". My first birthday without her, first Thanksgiving, first Mother's Day. All of those are behind me.

I wish it was like a switch. When tomorrow is over I would magically feel better. But I know that won't happen.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I can't say it was the best Mother's Day, but, it was a good one. I'm missing my mom a lot this month, but I also have a lot to be thankful for. Last year we had a really good day. My parents, Jim's parents, we enjoyed a nice dinner and good laughs. It would be the last time I'd see my mom alive. I'm so thankful for that day, and I know she was, too.

Today I got to see my grandma, Lou Lou. She lost her daughter last year, a loss I can't fathom even though it was my mom. But she was with her son and three of her five grand kids today. I hope she had a good day.

Today I was with my mom's cousin, a woman that lost her best friend last year. We have developed a friendship that I am so thankful for. Someone that I can share things with, laugh with, and drink wine with. I hope she had a good day.

And we had BBQ today. With hushpuppies involved, it HAS to be a good day!

Happy Mother's Day, mom. I miss you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Capricorn

It was April 2010 and something made me look twice at the email from the handsome man with the kind blue eyes. His dating profile indicated a few criteria that didn't quite match with my "ideal" mate, but hey, I was 32 and divorced. Not really a time to be choosy. And, he was a Capricorn. So I let slide a few of my must-haves and decided to email him back. Since I'm a Virgo, I already knew what the horoscope websites said about good astrological matches for me. Other Virgos, Tauruses, and Capricorns, with Capricorns topping the list. So what if he was the same height as me and a Yankee. I'll just put away my heels and feed the man some fried chicken and collards, because he's a Capricorn!

Well, you know the rest of the story. What you may not know is that my mom was also a Capricorn. She and Jim got along famously. They were like two peas in a pod, sometimes annoying little peas, but always with the best of intentions. God knew what he was doing when He put Jim in my life. He knew what would happen a short two years after meeting each other. And thankfully He made me reply to the blue-eyed Capricorn. While Jim could never take the place of my mom, he has filled many voids that were left when she passed. He supports me beyond measure. He knows how to cheer me up. And he would do anything for me.

Happy Birthday, baby. I'm so happy you're my husband.

Post Script: As it turns out, he doesn't mind when I wear heels and he drinks more sweet tea than should be legal south of the Mason-Dixon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A few of her favorite things

I posted a few weeks ago about going through my mom's gmail account and deleting emails. I did it again today and logged into her Pinterest account to change the email preferences. By logging in as her, it brought me to her profile page where she had written a short description of things she likes.

"I am a lover of beautiful things-outdoors and flowers with garden art bring a smile to my face. I teach piano lessons to anyone that enjoys music. Antiques, silver, and old linens make me smile."
And that made me smile.
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