photo by Jakub Kriz

Find a Way

It was an April day like any other. Sunny and finally feeling a little warmer. I was walking down the street, heading to a student’s house. Took a quick look at my phone. Oh, a voicemail from my mom. Unusual for a weekday. What might that be about?

When your world turns upside down in an instant, with tragic news, any sense of what was important before that moment is completely gone.

There was an accident. My father was flown by helicopter to a hospital. Sounded like he had a stroke. My sister was in a different hospital. She had been in the car when he was driving. My mother was in a different town over an hour away from either of them. And I was in NYC, 3 hours away. I immediately felt the strongest pull to instantly go to them. They felt worlds away. Feelings of helplessness and dread washed over me in waves.

Two or three hours went by, not knowing if my father was alive or dead. Another few hours knowing he was still alive, but with a completely uncertain outcome. During that time, I was rushing home, packing, then driving, trying to stay aware of my breath, calm down, think more clearly. My partner was with me, helping me, being such a rock. It was a scary and really difficult time to breathe through.

Amazingly, my father recovered. There were tense days in the ICU, followed by weeks of painful recovery in hospitals, and months of rehab. Life would never be the same for him, or our family.

During this entire episode, I kept thinking how fragile our existence is. How quickly and easily it can all come to standstill. On that topic, I wrote a chorale with lyrics that all flowed out in one week.

But there was another piece that didn’t come together so easily. I had a vibraphone part. And I had melodies and chords. But how to put it together? I couldn’t figure it out at the time. Only after a couple years – a separate album release and film score later – did I think about trying to play the vibes part and the melody at the same time. It had previously seemed impossible. Turns out it wasn’t. It was just really unfamiliar and took a lot of chipping away to make it work.

This piece became “Find a Way.” It comes from the uncertainty, stress, and heartbreak of having your world turned upside down, and making it through one step at a time. Crazily enough, the entire world is now experiencing this on some level, with the coronavirus pandemic. We will find a way through. Sending much love to everyone out there during this very difficult time.

2 comments

  1. Lou De La Rosa says:

    I’m listening right now, mesmerized and transported to another plane. Bravo! I’m so incredibly proud of you!

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