I grow up with music in my home. My mom sang in the Royal Stockholm philharmonic choir and played the grand piano with grace. My dad played the violin in at least two orchestras at a time. My sister went to music school after music school, sang in choirs and played the piano. Classical music was always part of our home and our social life. I was very young visiting the opera for the first time, and have attended endless operas and classical concerts in my life. When other families went on vacation to the beach, we ventured off to classical music and opera festivals in Europe. I always sang in a choir and played the piano, but often felt my passion was a little less than the rest of my family. In fact as a teenager, I definitely revolted against piano play and Wagner operas.
As an adult, I am forever thankful for my childhood and for my parents giving me the gift of music. There are few things that gives me as much comfort as music. When my mom passed away after battling cancer, I listened to classical music all the time. Mozart's Requiem and Vivaldi's Four Seasons went warm on my walkman CD player as I was visiting my mother's grave.
Saturday evening, I found myself in a church listening to Bach's Christmas Oratorio. I love Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The CD always finds me in November, and goes warm in my car or in the kitchen over and over again. This year I got to listen to the whole Oratorio in person. It was the absolute best medicine for my heart. I love the holidays. I love everything that comes with Christmas. This year, my heart has been broken for some very dear families. My heart breaks for the mom still trying to find a way to get through each day without her precious son, my heart breaks for the two families deciding to withdraw care from their very dear children in the PICU tonight. There are no words of comfort. There are no words of reason. There is just sadness and a lot of grief, right smack in the middle of this holiday.
I have had candles lit in my house all day, I have listened to music all day, I have reached out with words of comfort, and I have been letting my family know how much I love them.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate our Swedish Christmas with many friends around the dinner table. It is one of my favorite days of the year, and I will be keeping my dear families and friends in my heart.