It's nearly nine months since my Dad died. On Monday I pulled out the suitcase containing his CDs from the corner of the dining room where they'd been sitting since I brought them by train from my Mum's house. I put on one of the last CDs I listened to with him (music bringing him moments of peace towards the end), sat on the hallway floor in front of my CD storage units, and arranged them in piles, A-Z. As Dire Straits turned into Meatloaf I integrated them into my CDs, mixing his eclectic choices with my own.
Music was a gentle thread throughout my life and relationship with my Dad – trips to/from the Music School and associated concerts as a kid, the joy of being “Up in the Gods” at the Proms, Kate Rusby at the South Bank's Queen Elizabeth Hall (with a surprise guest appearance by Eddie Reader)... After my last visit to him before he died, I bought him a secondhand double CD I thought he'd like (“Roots – The Best of Show of Hands”)... and Mum says he did.
After Dad died I attended an online seminar through work about grief. One of my takeaways was that at some point in the process, you start integrating memories of your loved one into day-to-day life, keeping them with you, maintaining the relationship after death. This is one deliberate, conscious way of me doing so. When I go to choose a CD, there will be this moment of deliberation, whether to choose one of his, or one of mine. There will also be a journey of discovery, “I didn't know he had/liked this!”, and, over time, I expect a softening and blurring of the lines between his music and mine.
Thanks for the music Dad.