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A funeral

December 12, 2009

I never liked the movie that all of my cool friends loved — Harold and Maude, the one with Ruth Gordon in it, where the old woman and young man go to funerals all the time. But I can understand getting hooked on funerals. My son’s piano teacher was married to a jazz musician, Charlie Banacos. He died suddenly at age 63. It was one of those dreadful stories. He felt kind of sick, went to the doctor; the doctor sent him to the hospital for tests and they found he was riddled with cancer. Three weeks later we are at his funeral in a Greek Orthodox church in Peabody, packed with people of all colors and lots and lots of young people and lots of men with ponytails which I admit we wondered about until I remembered that he was a JAZZ musician. My favorite part was when his daughter stood up and said that when she went to the hospital this last week, her dad gave her some advice. Live moment to moment. Sometimes taking it a day at a time is too hard. His daughter also said that he always stopped work when his kids needed him (instantly, I felt guilty and heard myself shooing my son away). He loved music and encouraged everyone to listen to the sounds around them, just ordinary sounds — a chair squeaking, a child coughing, the wind. I left wanting to be more like Charlie.

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