Thursday, April 21, 2005

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

First, a thank you to all who wished me well via Casey, and for those who asked him to give me hugs. My heart is always warmed by your thoughts and your prayers. I know some people wonder what is wrong when I am not there, and some already know, but my simplest explanation would be that I was diagnosed almost three years ago with an auto-immune disorder called Behcet's Disease (and no, I didn't misspell it -- it just looks weird). I deal with smaller aches and pains than I used to, but at times the fatigue can be pretty overwhelming and so I must listen to my body and rest, so I did that yesterday afternoon and evening. I know the first reaction is to feel sorry for me, but I promise that for the most part I live a normal life. I don't think you can ever fully learn to live with chronic pain like it's not there (ask Casey about how much I talk about my knees or my stomach!), but you can cope. A lot of you have seen me play ultimate frisbee, so you know that I am doing just that!

Here is what I wanted to talk about yesterday, something completely unrelated to chronic pain...I always thought I knew whose voice it was singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" along with the ukelele at the end of the ER episode -- you know, the one where (gulp) Mark Green dies. I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly deep the strumming of that ukelele and those first ooh's hit me. I want to break down and cry just thinking about it right now. I never got the chance to see that entire episode when it first aired, something about the VCR or the tape, I don't know. But last year I taped a rerun and I watched it. And I cried. And then, I had Casey watch that last part with me, the part where Rachel, Mark Green's daughter, puts the headphones on his ears, and then we heard it: those small, happy chords that will forever haunt me because I love, love the simplicity of those notes and the voice but I will always connect it to that evening when I sat next to Casey and saw him on that TV screen instead of Anthony
Edwards and I thought, "How could I ever lose him?" And I have had that thought before, but this time it was different, it was deeper and sadder and too big to grasp. Casey saw my tears that night, and he felt that same deep sadness along with me, and so he knows how I feel about that song. I have been hearing it recently on a Hallmark commercial that seems to play over and over, and it makes my heart want to tear right open and pour all of the sadness out and let all of the joy come in. Maybe vice versa, I'm not sure. Has a song ever done that to you? This is not the first time it's happened to me, but this is the song that I connect with that evening I just mentioned, and so it' s probably more potent than any others. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, or even if you do, click here and listen to the first bit of the next-to-last song on the list. I don't think I'll do it today, but you go ahead.

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