New Year’s Eve 2014 at the Trouts…. Standing in our driveway surrounded with friends and neighbors watching the annual driveway jam took on a whole new dimension yesterday. A year ago, Walter could barely make it through one song, and our family existed under the heavy foreboding weight of uncertainty. Our lives were fraught with a sense of impending doom. Walter was getting weaker and weaker, and we all feared that the end was near.
What a year it has been! Everything has changed for our family in this past year. We have faced death; we have faced our fears, and our own darkest inner shadows. I have learned to share my life from a place of vulnerability, and been blessed with understanding and support from others that has changed my life. Our family has been loved unconditionally – and we have survived emotionally and physically with Walter still among us like Lazarus rising from his deathbed thanks to medical science and the ultimate gift from an organ donor and his or her family.
Last night marked Walter’s first short concert experience – where he played and sang for an audience. It was a moment in time that seemed impossible just a few short months ago. The temperature outside was close to freezing – hardly an ideal setting for fingers to have to move at lightning speed over the fret board – but nonetheless Walter played close to a flawless short set! He played and sang his butt off sharing the driveway “stage” with all three of our sons. The tears in the eyes of our neighbors who pray for him daily reminded me that this event was one we share with so many, who have not only held us this past year, but who have given us the love, faith, and the courage to fight for this moment to happen.
I stood there between the headlights of our car in the driveway that provided the light for the concert and took it all in. I watched many wipe tears from their eyes as Walter reclaimed his voice, his moves (those leg moves), his playing style, and his energy that drives the music through the sound barrier with his super-sonic rocket booster playing style. I did not cry. I reveled in the moment. I celebrated with each breath. I watched a miracle unfold in front of me and I stood almost in disbelief. The moment manifested what I had been hoping and praying for all year – and there it was right in front of me on the threshold of the New Year: Walter KICKING ASS!!! He was surrounded musically with the wall of sound provided by three Trout guitar players and a Trout drummer, our friend Eric on bass, and the loving presence of a small audience egging him on.
The short set list was:
Auld Lang Syne
Born to be Wild
The Trouts took turns soloing and singing. I will see if I can get a decent sound and video file uploaded to youtube to share it with you in the coming days.
Honestly, I don’t understand why I didn’t cry. Maybe I am still in shock from the past year and still can’t really unpack my emotions. But as I write that, I actually don’t think that is it. I did not repress or deny my emotions this past year. As those of you who followed our journey know, I shared the bad, the ugly, and the terrible as it happened. I visited with it; I walked my way into it and through it with you walking right next to me. I lived the blues openly. And last night, it felt as if I danced even as I stood perfectly still. I danced my way through a celebration of epic proportions! I heard Walter’s stage voice and playing wash over me, and watched his essence unleash as it only really does when he is in the zone on stage in front of people with a fat groove behind him.
It was a real life miracle that found its first solid manifestation last night: Walter still has it! He is still able to musically launch into the stratosphere and take others with him on that flight of experiential delight. It is such a big part of him! And “it” survived too!
Wishing others a Happy New Year has a new timbre and tonality to it for me this year. And as I stood there between the headlights of our makeshift driveway concert venue last night, I sent a grateful wish to each of you: May you share in the joy of this rebirth, this newness, this joyous reclaiming with us; my thoughts go to each of you with profound thankfulness! May you too find the wonder of new beginnings as we do ours!
Happy New Year!