‘Can we review the future?’
What a question. How can you re-view something you can’t see in the first place? Oh, I know there are people who plan their lives around it and wallow in angst or triumph over what they think is coming, but most of us know that’s a waste of time. Being particularly sensitive about my future right now as I prepare for my husband’s death, I winced at the question asked by the young sound engineer who wanted to change my stereo system. He knew how important music is to me, and being somewhat unaware of the pending doom in my home, naïvely suggested it was time to get rid of my old system and upgrade to a more dependable one to assure my connection to music in every room in the future.
At first, his question seemed incredibly thoughtless under the circumstances of more vital concern to me, such as how I’ll live alone after 50 years of a marriage that began when I was 19, or how to deal with the top-heavy structure my husband built over our lives without concern for who would support it in his absence. But quickly I realized, knowing the kindness of this young sound technician, that his only thought had been for my connection to music. He knew me when…when my life was framed, enhanced and nurtured primarily by and with music. He didn’t know I’d become ‘unmusicked’, as one of neurologist Oliver Sack’s patients put it to him when her desperate case of physical and mental torpor was presented. I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I’d turned to music in my recent battle-ready stance of hospital vigilance and home preparation for dying. The future, joy and peace, and any form of opening up to stimulus from the ‘outer world’ where normal people live has been completely off my mind and out of my life for quite a long time; how could my young friend, a musician himself, possibly have known?