Thursday, February 26, 2015

Silence in Winter

Although my father was an accomplished musician — he played both violin and piano — the only tune I can associate with my memory of him is Ave Maria, sung by a man named Andy Sedlack at his funeral in 1966.

And back then, with no longer anyone to play it, my mother doomed his violin to the far-back of the basement, in the company of the wheezy furnace, and a lump of rosin entombed within green velvet in a black violin case.

The piano she sold to the neighbors, and we rolled it from yard to yard on planks laid end to end.

I must wonder at her grief, and her clearing-out of those sources of so much joy. (When I think of my father at the piano, I recall his hands moving quickly over the entire keyboard, containing, in my child's imagination, all 88 keys with seemingly zero effort.)

He died in early January, and those winter evenings stretched out interminably silent. We did our homework at the kitchen table, or read in quiet companionship in the living room. There was so much that was absent of light, as if half the lamps had been unplugged, and they hadn't been.

And there must have been a hubbub of voices — how could a family of (now) eight possibly maintain much quiet? But indeed, all these years later, it's the silence that speaks loudly to me now, roaring through the decades to this late February night.


  1. I went to a funeral this week and someone from the LA Opera sang "Ave Maria." It was so overwhelmingly beautiful -- a truly magical song. It's my father's favorite, and I thought of him while I listened and cried. My father is still alive and well, even at age 79, but I realized how much I took him for granted.

    This was a beautiful post -- so quiet and powerful.

  2. That's a beautiful tribute. I hope someone misses me as much when I'm no longer here.

  3. absence of light, winter time, hushed evenings. All heartbreaking. Beautifully written. You must still miss him.