We've all experienced some form of loss in the last couple of years as the World went into panic mode, making rash decisions for themselves and others. Whether it was a loss of trust toward humanity, the crumbling foundation of one's routine, or the death of a loved one; loss took many forms. The question I continued to ask myself, was "is there some lesson or growth that can be had through multiple layers of grief?" Covid did not take much from me other than two of my favorite senses, the thief that stole my greatest treasure was cancer. Fuck cancer.
I am an extension of my mother, but at times we were unsure who was copying whom. Throughout my life, where she ended and I began was unclear. In her last weeks, as I helped her with the most minimal tasks we take for granted as adults passed life as a toddler, she surrendered her abilities with grace and maintained her optimism. "I'm sorry" she said to me, barely above a whisper with tears in her eyes as I was helping her into bed. I knew she was apologizing for a lot in that statement. She was apologizing for leaving me. For being an "inconvenience" in these final weeks. I looked at her in the eyes and said, "No mom, I'm sorry. The world is sorry and owes you the apology."
Daily I try to forgive myself when I think back on these moments. The time she weakly asked me, "Is this too much for you?" Because I was getting up multiple times in the middle of the night to take her to the bathroom while remaining zombie-like, thinking about my loss of sleep rather than what she herself must be feeling. I was ashamed of myself. That even while she was facing her end, my disposition would have her feeling less than honored or celebrated. I was able to apologize to her for that and let her know it was my honor. Whether or not I showed that in my attitude is all a blur to me now. I really hope so.
Regrets like that become mountains to climb toward true self love. An uphill battle that I was not equipped to handle. I just knew I had to change what was around me and who was influencing my spirit. But trying to change your surroundings, no matter your intention, is not the answer and is sometimes invasive to others and disrespectful to their life choices. If you don't fit there, you simply do not belong there. If you don't feel the connection with these people, they are not your people. There is no use wasting your life trying to force what isn't. I needed to change. Me. So at 40 years old, I ran away back to a sea-farer's life on the ocean. Where an introverted entertainer can disappear and figure out what the fuck just happened in the last three years.
I must have done something right at some point in my life, because life granted me an escape to the Mediterranean and surrounding countries while re-building my musical abilities. As I connect with the other artists on board the Oosterdam, I piece together that we all have something in common. We either don't fit into the normalcy or structure of land-living, or we lost parents (either by physical or emotional removal). Yet the moment you become settled in to your new commune, comforted by the familiarity, safety and nurturing of true acceptance without judgement, then it's time to pick up and move on, hoping the next new family will be just as welcoming or enlightened. It is rare. It is lonely. It is beautiful. You realize that everything you could ever rely on is in the mirror. So it's important to forgive yourself, because the only true companion you have is your own reflection.
Photo taken at the Acropolis in Greece, which was the first location that sparked my interest and passion for composing music on piano. "Yanni - Live at the Acropolis" was the most influential video of my life's path. It was comforting to dwell in the location that directed me toward exactly where I ended up. Now I can rebuild from this moment.