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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Joan (6) - Rhythm of Life

Yesterday evening, I finally put on the radio again at home. The song that was playing was Oleta Adams with Rhythm of Life. It was one of the songs Oleta Adams played at Haarlem Jazz in August 2014. Joan and I enjoyed that concert very much. Some remarkable things have already happened. It feels very much that Joan is still around (me) but in a very different capacity. She promised that to me anyway. So it makes perfect sense.

It's difficult finding my rhythm of life again. I suppose she feels that and urges me to find it again. For now, I'm trying to recover through nature and solitude. I will succeed once again. She and I both know that. The message of the song was to point out my short term goal. Sometimes sadness can be overwhelming and then you lose focus. Without goals, life is meaningless.

It's very hard for me to be around people. Especially now. People seem addicted to social media. Even in times of sorrow. I even asked Joan if she would take her gadgets with her. She smiled at me. I know she was just trying to accommodate the people who were unable to pay her a visit. Nevertheless, their usual starting question - “how are you?” - increasingly annoyed her. Ultimately, she couldn't even hide that from her voice anymore.

Words are not necessary. That's what Joan often said. There is a deep truth in that. As the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras (c. 570 –c. 495 BC) once said: “Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence”. Even as a writer, I use that very same mantra.

Now “she's gone and I better learn how to face it” (Hall & Oates, lyrics, video). Nevertheless, there's a struggle inside of me between not wanting to face it and realising I have no choice. I noticed an interesting line in Oleta’s song: “The rhythm of life is the force of habit”. Actually, this force of habit will probably save me from drowning in sorrow. I noticed the same in my mother after the death of my father in 1994.

I remember that I was sometimes upset seeing people working alongside the roads while driving to the hospital and afterwards the hospice. I suppose we all feel that the loss of a loved one should make the world stop for - at least - a moment. Life continues however. Nevertheless, we all have our individual choices, like Joan (see June 27 blog). I will not exercise that choice myself as I still have goals to fulfil in life. Writing helps tremendously in finding my rhythm again. Joan urged me several times to continue my writing.

A month ago, a friend told me that she received signs from her late husband whenever she needed guidance. Those signs would usually contain intimate shared memories (eg, songs) but also road signs. Such moments felt very reassuring to her. She just knew that he was somehow still around her.

Yesterday evening, when I drove home after Joan’s death, I suddenly noticed a road sign that I had never seen before all of these weeks: “tot ziens” – or “see you”. Joan never wanted to say farewell to me. She always said that we should say “tot ziens” to each other. I just smiled and realised that she is keeping her promise to me.

Oleta Adams - Rhythm of Life (1990) - artist, lyricsvideo, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The rhythm of life is the force of habit



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